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Legal considerations for Entrepreneurs
6th April 2017

The law firm of J.D Sellier + Co. has had a long history of working with small and large entrepreneurs going back to 1882. When the Planting Seeds team approached J.D Sellier + Co., it was happy to get involved to share its legal knowledge and expertise with the next generation of business owners through the show. 

Hadyn-John Gadsby is one of the Partners at J.D Sellier + Co. in the Corporate and Commercial Department where he provides advice to many of Trinidad’s leading entrepreneurs and businessmen. Hadyn points out that one of the key issues facing new entrepreneurs is the decision to progress from operating as a sole trader to incorporating their business as a company. A business that has matured to a point where  there is a reasonable plan for its future viability  should consider graduating to a legally incorporated company. A sole trader, as well as partners in a partnership business, will be liable in their personal capacity for any debts, arrears or lawsuits that may be incurred by the business. This is quite different from the position of a company which would be a separate legal entity with limited liability that would be distinct from an entrepreneur owner and his or her personal assets.

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The incorporation of a new company will come with certain new responsibilities, such as registration with the Board of Inland Revenue and the National Insurance Board as well as the yearly obligation to file the Annual Return of the company at the Companies Registry. However it will also  open opportunities for the growth of the business by facilitating the possibility of equity investment and acquisition of bank financing. These new requirements may seem onerous to some entrepreneurs but as Hadyn puts it, “If you want to do serious business, then you have to be incorporated”. 

Another significant legal consideration that entrepreneurs should be aware of is the issue of the protection of their intellectual property. Protecting intellectual property is integral to securing the core value of a business which is why many multinational companies such as Coca Cola, Apple and Colgate invest so heavily in ensuring that their brands are properly registered around the world, even in countries where they may not have a business presence.

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Local entrepreneurs should place the protection of intellectual property that may have been developed by their business as one of their top commercial priorities. This would involve the trademarking of brands, registration of patents and industrial designs and the recognition of copyrights. In the same way that a business should ensure that its real property is properly registered so that it can be developed for the benefit of the company, it should also ensure that its intellectual property is properly registered and protected because a strong brand is often one of the most valuable assets that a company may possess. 

You can look out for more legal tips and feedback to the Planting Seeds entrepreneurs and investors during the next season of Planting Seeds . 

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Produced in Trinidad and Tobago, Planting Seeds also has a television series that gives entrepreneurs who register with us, the opportunity to pitch their idea to a panel of successful investors on regional television.

  • LP 62 Don Miguel, Ext El Socorro,
    Trinidad and Tobago
  • info@plantingseedscaribbean.com
  • Office: (868) 612-0242
    WhatsApp: (868) 75-SEEDS

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