HAVANA TIMES – Selling or marketing, opening a small shop or offering design, programming and software development services are the initiatives that have generated the most searches in the Business Browser developed by El Toque for the private sector in Cuba. The site was launched in August.
Cubans used this tool to find out if their idea of a private or cooperative business is allowed in Cuba under current regulations. The application is based on data from the National Classifier of Economic Activities, as well as on the list of unauthorized activities for the different categories – non-agricultural cooperatives; micro, small and medium enterprises; and self-employment. The official lists of permitted and prohibited activities were officially presented in Decree 49/2021.
After performing a statistical analysis of over 8,000 searches made on the site over the past four months, we have selected the 30 most frequently mentioned activities. To do this, we grouped the terms alphabetically and according to their meaning, which allowed us to identify the number of searches related to each economic activity.
It should be noted that the most sought-after activities are usually not related to vital areas of the economy, but rather are related to other recent business initiatives. On the other hand, in recent months there has been a growing shortage of food, hygiene products and clothing in the state’s trading networks that sell in Cuban pesos. Many items were transferred for sale in foreign currency. This has motivated the growth of the informal market, as an alternative to have access to these products, since most Cubans only have pesos.
As a result, there are more and more participants in the informal market. These economic actors are dedicated to the resale of products, or the purchase of goods abroad and their resale at home. The latter explains why many search engine users want to know what types of product sales could be legally permitted as a business.
There has also been repeated research related to activities such as teaching, counseling and counseling, indicating that various highly professionalized sectors are interested in entering the non-state market. The architecture showed a similar pattern, although there has been less research overall.
Searches related to advertising and marketing activities were also very common. Given the looming landscape with the creation of opportunities for micro, small and medium enterprises, new non-farm cooperatives and self-employed workers, marketing and advertising studies will become essential, in order to generate knowledge and stimulate services to increase competitiveness among economic actors.
Another of the most popular activities is that related to the provision of personal care. If we take into account the data of the report: “The aging of the population, Cuba and its territories”, published in 2021 by the Cuban National Office of Statistics and Information, we see that 21.3% of the population Cuban population is over 60 years old. , and there is no indication that these numbers will decrease. Thus, the existence of private services dedicated to the care of the elderly could provide relief and lead to greater availability.
If we group the searches by country, we see that the five places where the most requests were made are: Cuba, the United States, Spain, Germany and Canada.
In the case of research from the United States, the general pattern remains the same: sales and commerce, design, programming and education. From Spain, searches for other business ideas, such as recording studios, ice cream parlors, or research related to tourism and milk, have been more frequent.
Searches from Cuba
Searches from Cuba were not much different from general searches.
Sales and commerce again took the lead. There was an extremely broad spectrum of research in terms of types of sales and marketing. There has also been a fair amount of research into activities related to the production or development of various soft drinks and fruit drinks. Difficulty finding these products in the public market and high prices in informal and private markets have sparked interest in such activities.
Questions from users include questions regarding the possibility of forming merchandising groups, the creation of translator and interpreter cooperatives, and the actual legality of tattoo parlors.
Analysis of the data also revealed that there is research related to a more complex economic scenario and more closely related to international trends. While it is true that they do not have much frequency, we list them here for their value in understanding certain aspects of Cuban reality.
- Blockchain – cryptocurrency
- Gold mining
- Accounting for small and medium businesses
- Cooperatives of translators and interpreters
Situation of VSEs, SMEs and private services in 2021
Since the publication of the first list of approved independent economic activities on September 29, a total of 1,207 economic enterprises have been approved. According to the Ministry of the Economy and Planning, out of the total number of micro, small and medium enterprises approved, 1,166 are private, 22 are managed by the State and only 19 are cooperatives.
The main economic activities identified in the lists so far are related to construction, food production and computer programming activities, as well as auto maintenance and repair. Three of these activities were among the most sought after.
How does the search engine for economic activities in the non-state sector work?
Once a search request has been received, the tool returns a list of activities related to the search terms, along with a description of the search terms. Each activity is marked with an icon that indicates whether or not it is allowed in the country.
Searches can contain the name of the activity of interest to the researcher, or a few words related to it. For example, to search for information whether it is possible to start a bakery or related business, the user can enter the word “bakery”. It is not necessary to add words such as: “How could I?” “Or” Is it possible? Or to write question marks.
In order to emphasize a keyword during the search, we recommend that you add the symbol “+”: for example: “produce + cheese”. This will limit the search results to the word that appears after the plus sign.
For those who want direct information on what is not allowed, the site also offers the possibility to download the full list of activities prohibited for non-agricultural cooperatives, micro, small and medium-sized private enterprises or self-employed workers.
To try the search engine, Click here.
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