The Netherlands Enterprise Agency and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will be visiting Sint Maarten to elaborate on support instruments made available for Kingdom enterprises in international trade, including those on Sint Maarten. They will do so during the Sint Maarten Innovations, Initiatives and Industries event (SMILE) at October 25th-26th.
This was announced by the Sint Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association (SHTA) today. Support and subsidy measures are available to those Sint Maarten companies who want to export products and services beyond Sint Maarten, including tourism products. Ms. Saskia de Smidt from the Department of International Enterprise of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as Mr. Ronald Vermeeren of the Netherlands Enterprise Agency will provide a workshop explaining what instruments are available.
The Netherlands Enterprise Agency has multiple support measures and subsidies available for Sint Maarten businesses, like for example vouchers for coaching, participation in trade missions and knowledge vouchers. By means of these vouchers companies receive assistance in making the step beyond Kingdom borders.
Though export support seems to regard physical trade beyond borders, it was reconfirmed earlier this year that tourism products are entitled to the services provided too. That means that tourism companies doing business beyond the borders of the Kingdom can benefit from the support offered. Meanwhile, for those companies doing business with European Dutch companies, the Dutch Trade and Investment Fund (DTIF) offers financial support to Dutch companies that want to trade to Sint Maarten.
Many of the available instruments can be found at http://english.rvo.nl/Caribbean in English. During their contribution to SMILE, time will be made available to go in-depth with representatives de Smidt and Vermeeren to what extent the instruments would apply to specific cases.
As SMILE 2018 had quite an amount of companies from Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao, the organizers underline many of the instruments are available for companies from those countries too, as well as for Saba and Statia. For SMILE 2019, speakers from Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao are slated. In Aruba and the Netherlands, special SMILE pre-events will be held in conjunction with the Aruban Chamber of Commerce and Ondernemend Nederland (ONL).
The SMILE event was created in 2018 and aims to highlight innovative and sustainable companies and projects and to facilitate business to business networking. Last year’s edition attracted over 300 visitors from 89 organizations representing 9 countries.
The event once again enjoys committed support from the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (COCI), ORCO Bank, Global Resourcing, 360 Innovation (Aruba) and University of St Martin (USM). It is meant for entrepreneurs, managers, innovators, marketeers and HR professionals from companies both large and small. For this edition, content will be organized around the four main themes of innovation, marketing-funding, sustainability and human resource management.
Other workshops will, amongst others be about: social media, website and search engine optimization, recycling, health in the workplace and energy savings. Speakers from Aruba, the United States and Europe have already confirmed, and details will be communicated at a later date.