A popular medium for local commerce hopes to encourage budding entrepreneurs into business by providing a public platform for their commercial visions.

The Department of Commerce and Investment (DCI) is seeking young people between the ages of 15 and 21 to compete in the Business Plan Competition at its Small-Business Expo, taking place on Saturday, 18 April, at the Family Life Centre. The event is going into its third year, having previously been billed as a celebration of Cayman Entrepreneurship Day.

DCI Director Ryan Rajkumarsingh said the competition allows the expo to cultivate an entrepreneurial spirit in Cayman's youth.

'Owning a business is an unmistakable aspect of Cayman society and undoubtedly, many young people are motivated to be entrepreneurs through family and friends being in business', Mr Rajkumarsingh said. 'The younger generation brings a fresh energy and greater creativity to our local business environment. By showcasing youngsters and their business ideas, we hope to keep the entrepreneurial spirit embedded in Cayman's future'.

The competition, which allows students to present as individuals or groups of two, calls for participants to formulate a business plan and present their ideas to a panel of judges. The top three presentations win cash prizes, with first place earning $300, second place nabbing $200 and third place taking home $100.

DCI Business Services Officer Thais Ducent said the student competition has been a successful aspect of past events.

'We have staged the competition at previous expos and we've been consistently impressed with the ingenuity of the students', Mrs Ducent said. 'We look forward to the unique ideas these youngsters will present, in an environment where small- and micro-business owners will exhibit their goods and services to the general public, network with other business owners and learn best practices in a cost-effective manner'.

Key features of this year's expo include technical workshops; face-to-face meetings with accomplished entrepreneurs; and a cocktail reception and business networking event.

The expo is intended to increase awareness of the variety of micro and small businesses in the local market, stimulate immediate sales for exhibitors, provide insight into the special needs of businesses in crisis, and educate a wider audience about the services DCI provides to local commerce.

Sponsors for this year's expo are Hurley's Entertainment, Information and Communications Technology Authority (ICTA), KPMG, Cayman National Bank, Royal Bank of Canada, Dart, Cayman Enterprise City, AI Equipment Rentals, Chamber of Commerce and Radio Cayman.

The deadline for registration in the Business Plan Competition is Thursday, 2 April.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.