On the 10th of September, the Cabinet of the Minister Plenipotentiary of Sint Maarten in collaboration with the St. Maarten Hospitality & Trade Association (SHTA), facilitated a special pre-SMILE lunch event.
This meeting was held in order to prepare interested European-based companies and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO’s) who will visit Sint Maarten during the Sint Maarten Innovations, Initiatives and Industries Link-up Event (SMILE) on October 25th- 26th at the University of St. Martin (USM).
Minister Plenipotentiary, Drs. Jorien Wuite, was honored to welcome the Ministers Plenipotentiary of Aruba and Curacao, members of the diplomatic corps, representatives of Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO), Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and almost 40 representatives of businesses and business support agencies.
In her speech Minister Wuite elaborated on the essence of the private sector re-development of Sint Maarten and the constructive collaborations needed to elevate the socio-economic development and further recovery process of Sint Maarten.
Wuite also emphasized the opportunities of doing business with the Caribbean, in particular with Sint Maarten, and was happy to acknowledge the presence of various Sint Maarten entrepreneurs based on island and here in the Netherlands.
Entrepreneurs John Sandiford and Cristal Legrand, both supportive and experienced young professionals were present to emphasize the opportunities available to businesses taking part at SMILE.
Ronald Vermeeren, Coordinator Caribbean Territories of the Dutch Kingdom at RVO, briefly presented the possibilities and export instruments available for collaboration in order to assist the private sector on Sint Maarten.
At this special lunch meeting he announced that he will be present at the SMILE event, together with his colleague, Nadia Smith, from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. They will have the opportunity to extensively present the collaborating instruments available at the RVO for Sint Maarten based companies.
Through a conference call, the representatives of SHTA (Wyb Meijer) and the St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce and Industry (COCI) (Benjamin Ortega), gave a detailed outline of what to expect at the SMILE event and encouraged all interested parties to join the event.
The SMILE event enjoys the committed involvement of the SHTA, COCI, ORCO Bank, Global Resourcing, 360º of Innovation (Aruba) and USM. In order to facilitate more business opportunities for organizations, SMILE will also provide a very interesting trade show for organizations that want to share their products and/or services.
The representatives of different NGO’s and Dutch-based businesses present at the pre-SMILE event in the Hague indicated that they will surely consider participating at this year’s SMILE and look forward to establishing some form of partnership with businesses on Sint Maarten.
Minister Plenipotentiary Wuite was pleased with the turnout of approximately 45 guests and the level of interest and enthusiasm of the business community taking part in the event.
Together with the acting Minister Plenipotentiary, Michael Somersall and the Director, Carol Voges, she emphasized the Cabinet’s focus on and support for economic opportunities and business development on Sint Maarten.
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