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Supporting our Community and Making an Economic Impact

Charlie Kirkconnell CEC

Economic Impact Report
by Charlie Kirkconnell, CEO Cayman Enterprise City (CEC)

Special economic zones and creative entrepreneurs are helping to rebuild and strengthen economies throughout the world. CEC’s mission has always been to do just that — by developing world-class special economic zones, by attracting knowledge-based industries to the Cayman Islands, by diversifying our economy, and by serving as a platform of innovation.

CEC’s success is good news for the Cayman Islands. The large number of knowledge-based entrepreneurs who have established a physical presence within Cayman’s SEZs bring much sought after diversity to Cayman’s economy. In 2019, CEC’s total economic impact on the local economy is estimated to have exceed USD $50 million for the second year in a row, bringing CEC’s total economic impact to over USD $260 million since inception.

In 2019, US $32 million was spent by SEZ companies to incorporate, register and set up operations. This figure includes attorney fees, expenditures on office operations, and real estate purchases. The indirect impact, in terms of money spent by SEZ employees has been conservatively estimated to be US $22 million in 2019. This calculation is based on the assumption that the average zone employee makes a salary of US $92 thousand half of which is spent within the local economy on expenses such as groceries, schools, entertainment, etc. 

We consider that this result again proves the wisdom of the Cayman Islands Government in greenlighting our project in the aftermath of the 2008 global financial crisis. While the broadening of Cayman’s economic base away from such a heavy reliance on financial services and tourism has always been an important part of our mission, the CEC project’s continued and growing contribution to Cayman’s economic diversification effort and GDP has never been more important than it is now.

There are approximately 240 companies established within CEC’s three special economic zones (SEZs) which are known as Cayman Tech City, Cayman Commodities & Derivatives City, and Cayman Maritime & Aviation City. Of the 240 SEZ companies, approximately 175 are technology businesses.

Notably, the 2019 economic impact numbers include a substantial increase in monies spent by CEC on its main campus development and on promoting the jurisdiction and SEZs – as a platform for growth, and as the ideal place for entrepreneurs to launch their next project. Our efforts include our continued investment in programmes designed to help build a thriving local knowledge-and technology-focused community and workforce. This commitment includes a five-year investment as the Founding Partner of the Digital Cayman initiative.

While the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic will present some significant challenges, CEC is determined not to pause or cancel its programmes but rather to change the way they are delivered. The company’s internship and mentorship programmes are now offered remotely, as are CEC’s popular “Tech Talks” series, professionally led workshops for businesses, and soft-skills training programmes. CEC has also launched a code education fund to assist those interested in training (or retraining) for a career in tech, continues its efforts to help local candidates find available job opportunities, and is assisting with the effort to source donated computers for students in need.

CEC understands its role within Cayman’s economy very well and we are committed to delivering a first-rate product that stays true to our mission. By continuing on this path, we project that the already significant impact of our project will become more and more substantial in the years ahead and will in turn help drive much needed economic growth for the country.

As we work through uncertain times, we invite you to reach out for more information, take part in upcoming discussions, learn about what our community members are up to, help to nurture local talent, and continue to be active members of Cayman's innovative ecosystem.


For more information email innovate@caymanenterprisecity.com.


Charlie Kirkconnell
Charlie Kirkconnell is Cayman Enterprise City’s chief executive officer and is responsible for leading the development and execution of the company’s long-term strategy. His leadership role also entails being ultimately responsible for all day-to-day management decisions and for implementing the company’s long and short-term plans. Charlie holds an LLB (Hons) degree from the University of Liverpool and completed, with distinction, the Qualifying Examination of the Professional Practice Course at the Cayman Islands Law School in 2006. Charlie also holds a B.A. in International Relations with a Business Concentration from Lehigh University in Pennsylvania, USA (1993).
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