Making Money

Exploring and Living in Cuba

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 As we alluded to before, Cuba is the most important potential market in the Caribbean. Hopefully, someday it will take advantage of the opportunities which awaitentrepreneurs. Start-up costs for a business should be far less than what they are in the U.S. or Canada. Here is a list of potential businesses exploring. This list should stir your creative juices. Even if you can't find a business idea to your liking, you may come up with an even better idea for future investment.

  • A gringo-style sports bar
  • A private bilingual elementary or high school
  • An English, French, German or Italian newspaper
  • An English radio station
  • Athletic foot ware
  • Automobile parts
  • Bakery
  • Beauty supplies
  • Bread and breakfast hotel
  • Business consulting firm
  • Bicycle shop
  • Car wash
  • Cellular phones and beepers
  • Chiropractic
  • Charter fishing and scuba diving
  • Computer repair
  • Computer sales and software
  • Copy centers
  • Desktop publishing
  • English bookstore
  • Expat English newspaper
  • Fast food franchises
  • Food imports
  • Foreign resident’s association
  • Exporting old Cuban vintage cars
  • Furniture factory
  • Gym
  • Hardware store
  • Housing renovation
  • Importing used cars from the U.S.
  • Internet café
  • Internet consulting and web page design
  • Janitorial and maid service
  • Limousine service
  • Laundry (self-service)
  • Manufacturing of clothing
  • Medical supplies
  • Mini storage units
  • Money changing
  • Money transfers (like western Union)
  • New agricultural products
  • New and used furniture rental
  • Offshore bank
  • Office products and supplies
  • Pawnshop
  • Pizzeria
  • Private postal service (many countries in Latin America now have this)
  • Private mail service providing a maildrop and P.O. box in the U.S.
  • Real estate (once foreigners can purchase) office, rentals and find-a-home
  • Real estate development
  • Residents association
  • Restaurants
  • Satellite and cable TV
  • Secretarial and typing service
  •  Spanish/English language schools
  • Sporting good store
  • State of the art gas stations
  • Super and mini markets
  • Swimming pool construction
  • Toy store
  • Translating service
  • Travel agency
  • Used American clothing
  • US style department stores
  • 24-hour pharmacy with home delivery

  Before going into business in any foreign country it is a good idea to ask the following questions: Can foreigners own property? What is the cost of labor? What are the country's tax rates? Can foreigners open a bank account? What taxes have to be paid? Does the country provide incentives for investors? Are bank accounts available in US dollars? How reliable is the mail service? Does are skilled employees available? What government agencies help foreign businessmen? Do most businesses have Internet access? Can foreigners own businesses and what are the requirements? Is residency needed to open a business?

 Keep in mind that running a business in Latin America or any foreign country is not like managing a business in the United States or Canada because of unusual labor laws, the work ethic of the people and the local way of doing business.

  If you do decide to start a business, spend a few months analyzing its potential. Don't assume that what works in the U.S. will work abroad. it is important to select a business in which you have a vast prior experience. It's much more difficult to familiarize yourself with a new type of business in a foreign country.

 You should learn the local rules of the game. Talk to other people who have been successful in business and learn from them. Profit from their mistakes, experiences and wisdom. Don't rush into anything that seems too good to be true. The best strategy and rule of thumb is to "test before you invest."

 There a few indispensable books on the market for anyone thinking of doing business in Latin America. All of these books provide a great deal of business vocabulary and useful phrases that should make doing business easier south of the border. Barron's Talking Business Spanish and the new version Spanish for the Business Traveler are both excellent. Passport Book's Just Enough Business Spanish is also worthwhile. Although English is the second language in Cuba and most of Latin America, you shouldn't assume that everyone speaks it.

 In addition, there are other publications that talk about doing business in Latin America. Latin Trade magazine is an excellent source for business information. There is an edition in English and one in SpanishGo to any public library or chain bookstore and look for other publications in the business section. Also talk to others who have done business in Cuba to find out what obstacles you may encounter along the way.


Official Guide to
Cuban Spanish

Official Guide to Cuban Spanish

For those who want to communicate with the locals and to develop basic Spanish survival skills, purchase our one-of-a-kind eBook which includes Cuban slang in English


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Max Gómez, Cuba Scout, Travel Expert

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Information herein is authorized through the courtesy of Christopher Howard, author of the best selling Cuba information source, Living and Investing in the New Cuba. Please be aware that all information herein is protected by COPYRIGHT © and misuse of it will carry a penalty by law.