Next month sees the commencement of the Government’s Micro Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME) programme which will be managed by Invest Turks and Caicos with support from the Centre for Entrepreneurial Development (CED) and Ministry of Finance.
The creation of the programme is an acknowledgement of the importance the Government places on small businesses. The Hon. Washington Missick, Minister of Finance, Investment and Trade, stated ‘The SME sector is the lifeblood of any economy. In Turks and Caicos it accounts for 90% of all established businesses; contributes to around half of our GDP; and employs around 40% of the Islands’ workforce. It is extremely important that we recognise and support these operations and create the business climate which facilitates growth, and encourages budding entrepreneurs to set up their own businesses.’
John Rutherford, Chief Executive of Invest Turks and Caicos, added ‘The successful running of this programme is a key objective for the Agency and we look forward to supporting the growth of the small business sector. We and our partners will be conducting a programme of town hall meetings throughout the islands, as well as promoting the programme through print, voice and social media. Government is keen that priority be given to those companies and individuals that have new, innovative ideas, matched by a strong business plan, and I would encourage all islander-owned businesses to attend a meeting to learn more about what type of business qualifies for these benefits, and how the process will work.’
The MSME Ordinance makes provision for the Government to provide Concession Orders to qualifying businesses which operate in identified priority business sectors. The Concession Orders will permit the company or start-up to specific benefits or reliefs depending on the size of the business.
Application forms for Concession Orders will be available from Invest Turks and Caicos offices at Courtyard Plaza, Providenciales, as well as at designated locations throughout the islands from 1 April. Processing of Concession Orders will commence in early May.
Qualifying business sectors are:
- Agriculture subsectors of a) market gardening, b) hydroponics, c) farm mechanisation, d) livestock and dairy development, e) agro-business and f) apiculture (beekeeping);
- Fisheries sub-sectors of a) fish farming, b) fish processing; c) farm mechanisation
- Manufacturing, processing and commercial cleaning services;
- Tourism sub-sectors of: a) bed and breakfast, b) vacation rentals, and c) tourism attractions.
- Physical infrastructure considered essential to the areas listed under the Agriculture and Fisheries priority areas;
- Technology and Innovation;
- Arts and Music.
Source: Government of the Turks and Caicos islands
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