Believe it or not, there are a lot of opportunities in our country. If we as citizens cannot see them, certainly non-citizens are aware of them and embracing them. Yes there are some bottlenecks such as access to financing but they don’t let these bottlenecks prevent you from embracing the opportunities.
Reserved Business Licence Categories for Turks and Caicos Islanders
There are at least 19 major categories of the Business Licence that are reserved for Turks and Caicos Islanders. These are as follows: accountancy, if not professionally qualified, agency, apartment or condominium sales, rental or management, architecture, if not professionally qualified, auctioneering, bakery operation, bars that do not form part of a hotel or restaurant, contracting (petty, small or medium), dancehall, motor vehicle sales or rental or both, operations of vessels for hire or reward if less than 30 ft, printing, provision of sanitation services, provision of security services, provision of transportation services on land including taxis, tour bus operators and haulage services, real estate agency, retail stores, service stations and garage operations and trucking.
We need to take advantage of these opportunities and stop selling ourselves short by fronting for individuals to become shareholders in this category and you are only getting paid a fraction. If you need a partner make sure you are not only the controlling shareholder in name only but also in your financial contribution to the company.
There is a great demand for public transportation in the Turks and Caicos Islands. In 2018, there was a revised edition to the Public Service Ordinance to allow Turks and Caicos Islanders to embrace in this opportunity. Too my knowledge, only two local companies are providing legitimate “jitney” services in the Turks and Caicos Islands. There are still illegal jitneys on the streets and we are promoting these illegal jitneys because we are using them. Start your own public transportation service rather than patronizing these illegal jitneys.
Grants from Invest TCI
Invest TCI has grants for businesses up to $30,000. While I agree that the list should be expanded as the current list is restricted but how many of us are embracing this opportunity. As I can recall, there is a budget of a $1million a year for grants but it is not being utilized.
The Community College is offering a variety of courses and you able to get an associate degree or a Bachelor of Arts degree. In addition, the Technical Vocational Education and Training Institute is now part of the Community College. These fees are for as little as nothing and we should embrace these opportunities. It will enhance our knowledge and make us more marketable.
The Credit Union Legislation was passed in August 2016 followed by the regulations in 2019. It is not the Government’s role to establish credit unions, we have to do that. However, it is challenge finding a group of willing individuals who will sacrifice their time and money to start a credit union. The law is there but we as citizens need to embrace and start a Credit Union.
There are many jobs that are being advertised but some of us do not apply for them because we feel that these jobs are reserved for other persons. While this may be the case, whenever you apply for the job, copy the Labour Department on your application. Even if you get rejected, don’t stop applying until you get the job you want. If I didn’t apply for the CEO Job of Cable & Wireless, I wouldn’t have gotten it so you have to apply. Also if anyone from the immigration or labour Department contact you as to whether or not you can carry out the role before they approve the labour clearance, and you believe that you can do the job, then tell them you can do it. I remembered when I applied for the Financial Controller position at Cable & Wireless, immigration contacted me and asked me if I can do the job. Because I told them yes, they did not approve the work permit for the current holder at that time.
There are also some job opportunities on other islands but because you don’t want to live on that island, you didn’t apply for the job or if you applied, you didn’t accept the offer. Embrace the opportunity and apply for the job no matter the location in the Turks and Caicos especially if it is an opportunity for growth.
Help one another
Some of you are in key positions but you make it difficult for others to get in a role. You don’t even acknowledge their applications. You rather recruit an external person than to give your own an opportunity. The thing is someone gave you an opportunity so why don’t you give someone else an opportunity. If the individual is not qualified, help them with a development plan or allow them to understudy someone so they can assume the position within a certain timeframe. Don’t keep your brother or sister down. You are in your position not just for you but to help others.
As I mentioned in the introductory paragraph, there is a challenge with accessing finance. However, you can overcome this. If you are an existing business, ensure that you maintain proper record keeping. If you are a new business, develop a solid business plan. If you are an individual trying to get financing, try and save some money so when you are ready to go to the financial institution, you will be in a good position for approval. There are opportunities in our face. Let us embrace them.