Raul Castro, the Cuban president, has started to ease the role of the government in the country's economy.
After a decision earlier this year, a number of enterprises, including barbers and beauticians, are now self-run.
The move gives Cubans an incentive to work harder and perhaps boost the socialist state's economic output.
Cuba and North Korea are the world's only remaining Soviet-style command economies in which the state controls more than 90 per cent of economic activity.
Other communist countries such as China and Vietnam have long since liberalised retail trade, services and small business.
Al Jazeera's Rachel Levin reports from Havana.