October 19, 2021

Cayman Islands Airport RFP could prove unattainable for small businesses

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From Cayman Islands Small Business Association

Confusing paperwork, possible costly consultancy fees to prepare the RFP and onerous bid requirements all point to eliminating the small businesses in the Cayman Islands Airport Authority bid process. The Cayman Islands Small Business Association recognizes this Request for Proposal from CIAA, as a prime opportunity to diversify the businesses operating at Owen Roberts International Airport by offering services to travelers through food service and retail. The businesses currently enjoying this opportunity have been serving travelers for many years. Following the review of the process the small business community is at a clear disadvantage.

First, it is recommended that a small business hire a consultant for your application to have a viable shot as a bidder. CISBA has researched this and it is a minimum investment of CI$3000 to help conceptualize, draft, and submit all requirements inclusive of proof of two years balance sheet and income statement. Second, the costs to submit don’t end there if an entrepreneur wants a solidly prepared bid you have to provide designs of how your space would look; this requires architectural renderings at a minimum, which is also an additional cost. A bidder must demonstrate an investment level in fit out. If, for example the average space is 1176 square feet calculate the minimum investment level of 0.65 per square foot. Of course, a bidder would want to design an impressive space therefore the 0.65 per square foot would be exceeded, fueled by, the will in trying to be successful in the bid process and the cash register rings again. So as a small business owner the question is “how likely am I to be successful in this process?” up against large businesses that are stalwarts in food & beverage service and retail giants in jewelry, luggage etc. with significant investments across the Cayman Islands. CISBA believes the requirements already defeats the small man in this process.

The revenue sharing model by shaving off rent expenses from gross sales is new for the CIAA. Let’s be clear here, rent is isolated from the top of your P& L and outside of consideration from your overhead expenses. This approach is dependent on the performance of the sales, CISBA is baffled. The CIAA should have offered other methods that were more reasonable to be fair to micro and small businesses.

On behalf of all small businesses in the Cayman Islands, CISBA appeals to the CIAA review board to keep the essence of small businesses in mind while making final decisions. We offer consultation to any other government entity to talk with CISBA first, on behalf of micro and small businesses so that there is a greater understanding of small business issues and concerns.

About CISBA:

The Cayman Islands Small Business Association (CISBA) was established in July 2009 by a group of local entrepreneurs. As an independent, non-profit organization, CISBA’s mission is to advocate for policies that are beneficial to small businesses in the Cayman Islands while supporting and promoting the entrepreneurial spirit. The association’s mission is achieved through the facilitation of workshops, business consulting and networking opportunities.

Email: [email protected]

Call: 1-345- 939- 2616 or 946-3147


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