PHILIPSBURG–A total of 216 new businesses registered in the first quarter of this year – January to March 2021 – compared to 169 in the same period of 2020, while 78 businesses closed.
The St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce and Industry (COCI) Executive Director Jude Houston said this signifies an increase of 27.8 per cent in new business registration. This, he said, is a positive sign, not just for the business community, but the economy on the whole, if this trend is to continue for the rest of the year.
Houston equates this performance to the first quarter of 2018 (post-Hurricane Irma), where there was a huge increase in new business registrations.
“This sort of development is usually the case after a crisis, where generally business opportunities present themselves. Additionally, it speaks to the entrepreneurial culture of the people,” Houston said in a press statement.
Analyses conducted on the new businesses established during the reporting period indicated that the most predominant sectors were the retail sector with 36 new businesses, followed by general service sector (administrative and consultancy services) with 25 new businesses, construction sector with 20 businesses, bars and restaurants 18, beauty salons 13, and real estate and legal services with 12 businesses.
These were followed by the automotive sector with 10 businesses, which covered all automotive activities from sales, leasing and rent, auto parts sale, and garage and auto-cleaning activities. Foundations and the transport sector followed, with eight and nine businesses, respectively.
There were 78 business closures during the first quarter compared to 36 for the same period of 2020. This analysis further cements the overall impact of the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic on certain sectors of the business community, Houston said. The most predominant sectors that experienced closures were the general service (administrative and consultancy services) sector with 19 closed businesses, followed by the retail sector with 10. These were followed by the construction sector and bars and restaurants with eight closed businesses each, and general cleaning services with five. Real estate, beauty salons and arts and entertainment had four closed businesses each.
Houston is confident for the business sector for the year, given the trend observed in the first quarter of 2021 as compared to the same period of 2020.
Apart from the monitoring of the sector, COCI said it is happy to report that for this first quarter it was able to conduct seven webinars with an average participation of 140 persons, two community outreach sessions in the Simpson Bay and St. Peters communities, and four presentations to the students within the secondary institutions on the importance of entrepreneurship. These initiatives of COCI are all geared towards business support, development and engagement that can lead to a more resilient business community. They were also conducted in collaboration with key institutions that have bearing on the business community.
Houston said for the remainder of the year 2021, COCI will continue to monitor the business developments and to provide its capacity-building programmes and initiatives. Additionally, focus will also be on its operational efficiency so it can better serve and meet the needs of the public.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/216-new-businesses-opened-78-closed-in-first-quarter-2021