Participants in the pre-SMILE event held in The Hague.
PHILIPSBURG–A pre-SMILE lunch event held by the Cabinet of the Minister Plenipotentiary of St. Maarten in collaboration with the St. Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association (SHTA) on September 10 was a success.
The meeting was held to prepare interested Europe-based companies and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that will visit St. Maarten during the St. Maarten Innovations, Initiatives and Industries Link-up Event (SMILE), which will be held at University of St. Martin (USM) on October 25 and 26.
Minister Plenipotentiary Jorien Wuite welcomed Ministers Plenipotentiary from Aruba and Curaçao, members of the diplomatic corps, representatives of Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and almost 40 representatives of businesses and business support agencies.
In remarks at the event Wuite elaborated on the essence of the private sector re-development of St. Maarten and the constructive collaborations needed to elevate the socio-economic development and St. Maarten’s further recovery process.
She also emphasised the opportunities of doing business with the Caribbean, in particular with St. Maarten, and acknowledged the presence of various St. Maarten entrepreneurs based on-island and in the Netherlands.
Entrepreneurs John Sandiford and Cristal Legrand were present to emphasise the opportunities available to businesses taking part at SMILE, it was stated in a press release.
RVO Coordinator of Caribbean Territories of the Dutch Kingdom Ronald Vermeeren briefly presented the possibilities and export instruments available for collaboration to assist the private sector in St. Maarten.
Vermeeren announced that he will be present at the SMILE event, together with his colleague Nadia Smith of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. They will have the opportunity to extensively present the collaborating instruments available at the RVO for St. Maarten-based companies.
Through a conference call, SHTA representative Wyb Meijer and St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce and Industry (COCI) board President Benjamin Ortega gave a detailed outline of what to expect at SMILE and encouraged all interested parties to join the event.
Involved in the SMILE event are SHTA, COCI, ORCO Bank, Global Resourcing, 360º of Innovation (Aruba) and USM. To facilitate more business opportunities for organisations, SMILE will also provide “a very interesting” trade show for organisations that want to share their products and/or services.
Representatives of different NGOs and Dutch-based businesses present at the pre-SMILE event indicated that they will surely consider participating at this year’s SMILE and look forward to establishing some form of partnerships with businesses in Sint Maarten.
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.
LINK ORIGINAL: The Daily Herald