POND ISLAND–The St. Maarten Innovation, Initiatives and Industries Linkup Event (SMILE) event held at University of St. Martin (USM) over the weekend was deemed a resounding success, attracting more than 300 forward-thinking and/or aspiring entrepreneurs, managers and key decision-makers from more than 90 organisations.

Spearheaded by St. Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association (SHTA), it was mainly aimed at the private sector and non-governmental organisations, but professionals working in governmental institutions and interested students also came to learn, gain inspiration and network.

A number of attendees told The Daily Herald that the conference exceeded expectations and that the “innovation” aspect of the conference was especially useful, as they were seeing what could be applicable to their various organisations; for example, in the fields of technology and communication. Read Full Article.


Final Program Announced for SMILE Networking Conference

The Sint Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association (SHTA) today announced the final program of upcoming business conference SMILE, taking place this Friday and Saturday. Professional Participants coming from businesses many NGOs, have a wide selection of 16 workshops and 5 keynote speakers.

Keynote speakers are from the World Bank on how the NRRP procurement process; Aruban’s 360 Degrees of Innovation on the future of work; the Sint Maarten Yacht Club will present its vision for Heineken Regatta and the official launch of the Waste2Work program.

Four workshop rounds provide insights on innovation, sustainability and professional development. Many of those are provided by expert Sint Maarten professionals sharing their extensive knowledge on doing business both on island and abroad. The full schedule is available on both and

SMILE is an innovative networking event for businesses and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO’s), intended to provide more clarity on World Bank tenders, as well as highlighting “how things can be done differently after Irma’ – most notably more sustainable and innovative. SHTA organizes the event in conjunction with its partners ORCO Bank, Global Resourcing, Chamber of Commerce and Industry (COCI), University St. Martin and 360* of Innovation.

In order to promote more local access and understanding to the World Bank Procurement process, a free World Bank procurement masterclass for companies not able to attend SMILE is provided immediately following the event–5.30pm at USM. Read Full Article.

SMILE partners to launch SMILE National Business Card Document

Announcing the SMILE (Sint Maarten Innovation, Initiatives & Industries Event) National Business Card!  The SMILE National Business Card is a digital catalogue that will contain information about all event participants; to be shared with all businesses present at the event. The Business Card will serve as a reference guide to all foreign entities seeking a local partner to do business with; thus, showcasing Sint Maarten companies and NGO’s.

As it is already known that all projects going through the World Bank Trust fund will be open for international tendering, The SHTA hopes that the National Business Card will serve foreign specialized companies with an easy overview of local skills and experience including contact details and general information of participating companies willing participate in Joint Ventures. SMILE participants are included in the National Business Card free of charge.

The not-for-profit event SMILE is to be held at November 2nd and 3rd at the University of St Martin. The event is organized by Sint Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association (SHTA) in collaboration with ORCO Bank, Global Resourcing, the Chamber of Commerce and Industries (COCI), The University of St Martin (USM) and 360º of Innovation. SMILE highlights how we can do things differently after Irma with emphasis on innovation and sustainability. Read Full Article

SMILE Program Details Announced: November 2-3

The Sint Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association (SHTA), in conjunction with ORCO Bank, Global Resourcing, the Chamber of Commerce and 360° of Innovation proudly presents the program for the upcoming innovative networking conference SMILE (Sint Maarten Innovation, Initiatives & Industries Linkup Event). The event will start off with a kick-off mixer held the evening of November 2nd, followed by a full day networking event taking place November 3rd at University Saint Martin’s Campus.

Amongst the events addresses will be: the internationally acclaimed “Future of Work” contribution by Aruban innovation agency 360° of Innovation, including a chapter on what the blockchain economy can and will mean for the Caribbean; The Heineken Regatta Foundation will present its brand-new vision as the renowned event’s 40th anniversary approaches in 2020; as well as the long-anticipated launch of Waste2Work, a collaboration between Netherlands Red Cross and Open-House Foundation. Its Incubator SXM Innovation Hub —provides space for maximum 15 Sint Maarten Startups, establishing a collaborative industrial campus focused on reuse to reduce waste streams and other sustainable solutions.

Last but not least, the World Bank will provide workshops providing clarity on ongoing tenders and how Sint Maarten companies can take part.

Event tickets cost $ 75. As the organizers see it key that all Sint Maarten companies are informed well regarding the World Bank tenders, one additional World Bank workshop is available for companies not having the funds available to join SMILE right after the event ends at 5 o clock. Read Full Article.

SHTA and Private Sector Partners Launch New Tradeshow: SMILE

The Sint Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association (SHTA), in conjunction with ORCO Bank, Global Resourcing, the Chamber of Commerce and Industries (COCI), The University of St Martin (USM) and 360° of Innovation have launched a new innovation and networking event called SMILE set for November 2nd and 3rd.

Apart from a positive name alluding to a brighter future for country Sint Maarten, SMILE stands for Sint Maarten Innovation, Initiatives & Industries Linkup Event. The event serves as a platform for innovations, business updates and networking as well as to receive more clarity on how Sint Maarten companies can take part in upcoming World Bank tenders. The University of St Martin will host the event allowing for simultaneous presentations and discussions as part of the tradeshow.

SHTA, COCI, ORCO Bank and 360° of Innovation all contributed to the successful “Build Back Better Week” event last March. Build Back Better Week focused on developing concepts for a better Sint Maarten post-Irma—as an opportunity to make significant changes to our country. Its successor SMILE will focus on the practical side of innovation and offer networking opportunities for individuals, companies and NGOs.

In addition to re-engaging business ties between domestic companies and NGO’s, the event provides workshops on applying for World Bank tenders for local as well as specialized foreign companies. As well as forging Joint Venture strategies. It is expected that topics like dealing with the landfill, development of social housing, works on utility networks and large scale infrastructure projects might lead to World Bank tenders for specialized expertise not provided on island.  SMILE will serve as a platform to provide “linkage” instead of “leakage” by keeping as much of the recovery funds on island as possible.

The event has many speakers, workshops and presentations lined up, which will be communicated over the upcoming months. As of this week, interested companies both domestic and foreign can take up contact with the SMILE project office at or call 5420108. More information can be found at SHTA.COM/SMILE.