Last May, the Minister of Commerce in Kuwait announced the government’s intention to issue home business permits. This announcement incited varying reactions of both support and opposition, as well as from those who are assured and doubtful.
The announcement is considered a bold governmental step that creates an initiative for affordable alternatives. Home business permits encourage Kuwaitis to opt for the private sector and refrain from the inflated government sector.
It is essential to understand that any decision will have both advantages and disadvantages. Importantly, the general public tends to oppose innovative initiatives.
I would like to participate in this debate, and as listed here are what I see as clear advantages to permit the Kuwaiti public to run their businesses from home:
• This decision provides an affordable and safe path to start a small business; a decision that usually carries a large risk for a significant segment of society who have limited means.
• This decision allows a person to run a business from his/her residence, which eliminates the biggest obstacle from establishing small businesses, including high and exaggerated rents for commercial for office, showroom, and workshop spaces.
• This move corresponds with international trends that encourage people to work from home, as well as provides for areas where mix-use activities take place. This decision will not only lower the need for transportation, but also decrease traffic congestion and harmful environmental impacts.
• As well, home businesses have positive social impacts. Home businesses allow parents to be present at home during the day, which keeps parents close to their children, spouses, and attend to their needs. In addition, it empowers a sector of the society who were unable to hold formal employment due to family commitments. All of this contributes positively to the local economy.
• It is imperative to recognize that some home businesses have the potential to succeed and grow into large companies that benefit the local economy. In fact, some of the biggest firms today had humble beginnings, starting from basements and garages!
On the other hand, we must be aware of the dangers of this decision, especially considering the weakness of supervisory governmental agencies. This could lead to chaotic business practices that may harm residential neighbourhoods in various ways.
However, we need to stop collective punishment due to the practice of the small minority that the government fails to supervise, control, or punish when trespassing these regulations.
The decision to allow home businesses to operate in Kuwait is a courageous move. We understand its implication, and by no means do we take it lightly. We hope that it is well-studied, has an applicable framework, and permits Kuwaitis to own their home businesses similar to those in the modern, advanced world.