BASSETERRE, St. Kitts –- “Over the last four years, the growth in new businesses entering the formal economy has been phenomenal,” Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris remarked during his Jan. 5 Fourth Annual Gala Event.

“Net business formation has been at its highest level under Team Unity,” Dr. Harris said. “For the first time in history, the number of business licences issued by the Inland Revenue Department exceeds the 400 mark.” He said the Federation has witnessed the largest numbers of jobs, workers and social security contributors in the first four years of the Team Unity administration.

In 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018, business licences exceeded the 400 mark; in 2016, the number of business licences issued peaked at 490, the best record to date.

In 2016, the top three new businesses formed were taxi operator, passenger bus service and snackette.

In 2017, the top three new businesses were retail shops and stores (except liquor), passenger bus service and construction contractor.

In 2018, the top three new businesses were retail shops and stores (except liquor), snackette, and taxi operator.

Local taxi operators are sharing in the fruits of growth witnessing a 77 percent increase in total cruise passenger spend in 2017/2018 (US $133.02 million). In 2014/2015 this figure was (US $75.30 million). Source: 2018 Business Research & Economic Advisors (BREA) Report.

Since the establishment of the Team Unity Government, small businesses in St. Kitts and Nevis got a boost from its Fresh Start Programme. It was launched in September 2015. Under Fresh Start, hundreds of applicants attained concessionary loans and technical assistance from the Development Bank to start or expand their micro-, small- and medium-sized businesses.