Published On: Wed, Apr 26th, 2017

Captain Dino’s plight

The plight of Captain Dino has brought an issue to light that deserves the attention of our decision makers. One of the key questions in this affair, apart from the attempts to get a permit for the chicken wing shack on Kim Sha Beach, centers on the difficulties locals encounter when they want to get a little enterprise off the ground.

The current policy for vending licenses stipulates that these permits are only for citizens who have no other income; the proceeds from the vending permit must be their main income.

While this seems to have been inspired by a wish to prevent these licenses from falling into the wrong hands, there is also another side to the story.

As Captain Diono’s sister Shanica says in our article today: to make money you need money.

In other words, when you have already nothing to begin with, it is extremely difficult to start a little business, vending permit or no vending permit.

If a starting small entrepreneur has to borrow money from the bank he will be faced with two obstacles.

The first one is that he must present a business plan to convince the bank that he will be good for his money. Remember: banks are happy to give their clients an umbrella when the sun shines, but as soon as it starts raining they are inclined to take it rapidly away.

The second obstacle is of course the interest that is due over borrowed money. Loans are not exactly cheap here, so this financial burden will hamper the development of small businesses. Of all their earnings, the first portion goes to interest charges and paying off the loan, the next portion to their business expenses. What’s left after that is their income.

From this point of view it seems not unreasonable to extend vending licenses to entrepreneurial locals – like Captain Dino – who already have a job. They have money at their disposal and may not have to go for bank loans to get something going. That increases their chances of success.

Maybe it’s an idea to go through the database of already granted vending licenses and other licenses that require that their holders have no other income. That information could be useful for establishing a new policy that gives ambitious locals the opportunity to expand their horizons by building a small business that – who knows – one day could grow into a little empire that offers plenty of job opportunities to others.

The ministry of tourism and economic affairs cannot go only after someone like Captain Dino and leave others be. The likelihood that there are others in the same position who nevertheless can continue with their businesses undisturbed ought to be reason enough for revamping a policy that does not do justice to the ambition of local small entrepreneurs.

Capt Dino Roadside Grill Chicken Shack