October 25th – 26th, 2019

SMILE Registration Forms 

Walkround SMILE Registration for Non Members
SHTA Member Walkaround SMILE Registration Form


After the recently added extra masterclass of Terry Jones on the future of tourism, visitors of the Sint Maarten Innovations, Initiatives & Industries Link-Up Event have received the final schedule in their SMILE-App. Yesterday, the amount of subscriptions surpassed the 2018 edition.

This was announced today by the organizers. The event will kick-off on Friday 7 pm with an networking event at USM, while the masterclasses and workshops will take place Saturday between 9am, till 7pm.

SMILE was created in 2018 to create a platform for inspiration, new thinking and doing business after Irma. With its two key themes of Innovation and Sustainability, best practices and challenges from both on – and off island are shared. In addition, SMILE provides a platform for both experienced as well as new companies and NGO’s.

Assistance for growing your business will be supported by presentations of special local entrepreneurs like Denicio Wyatte (Spaceless Gardens), Sega Songha (ShareXMobility) and Nalia Muriel (Sint Maarten Nectar), who will share their experiences on how they build their exceptional Sint Maarten businesses and what lies ahead. For those companies doing business beyond borders either on- or off island, the Kingdom Ministry of Foreign Affairs will provide insights on the toolbox that is available for companies.  Aruban innovation entrepreneur Bianca Peters shares how to Think Big, Start Small and Move Fast while using technical innovations as a tool. Click here to read the full article

Founder Travelocity to do Extra SMILE Masterclass: Future of Tourism

Terry Jones, the Founder of Travelocity and investor, will do an extra Masterclass during the Sint Maarten Innovations, Initiatives and Industries Link-up Event (SMILE). In addition to his speech on entrepreneurship and startups, Jones will add his internationally reknowned keynote “The Future of Tourism”.

As the organizers noted much demand for his keynote on Entrepreneurship and Startups already, they are elated about the offer of Jones to provide another keynote. “The Future of Tourism” is one of Jones’ most well known contributions to global conferences.

In addition to his SMILE speech Jones will travel around Sint Maarten high schools to share insights how he built Travelocity into one of the world’s leading travel websites. Students of the University of Sint Maarten (USM) will be part of his audience during SMILE. Click here to read the full article

John A.M. Sandiford to be Master of Ceremonies at SMILE 2019

Digital & Creative Entrepreneur, John A.M. Sandiford will be the Master of Ceremonies of this year’s SMILE event on October 25th and 26th. In addition to his opening speech and moderation, he will inform the public on an application devised by his company Antonio Media for the island of Statia and the Sint Eustatius Foundation (SEF) with support of the European Union.

Sandiford was the moderator of SMILE’s first edition in 2018. The organizers of the 2nd edition are elated to have him on board once again as face and advocate of the event. Since its inception, Sandiford has supported SMILE’s three main themes of innovation, sustainability and networking to enhance the Sint Maarten and regional economy: “Out of adversity often times comes opportunity, and as a innovative mind I hope SMILE is here to stay as a business card of the vibrant Sint Maarten and Caribbean people!”. Click here to read the full article.

SMILE launches Event App

The Sint Maarten Innovation Initiatives Industries Link-Up event (SMILE) launched an event App for its 2nd Edition this 25th/26th of October. The freely downloadable Application provides visitors all the information that is needed for the upcoming business and NGO Event.

Organizers are grateful to SMILE’s app sponsor Telem for making the development possible. The creation of an app was seen as befitting to the three key themes of SMILE: innovation, sustainability and networking. The app gives an overview of visiting companies and NGO’s coming to the event, keynote speakers and workshops that are being held. In addition, the organizers hope to reduce paper waste as connecting can be done online. SMILE attendees can get a log-in code to unlock the application by contacting the SHTA offices. Click here to read the full article.


Founder Travelocity to be Keynote at SMILE

The SHTA announced today that Terry Jones of Travelocity, is to be one of the keynote speakers of the Sint Maarten Innovations, Initiatives and Industries Link-up Event (SMILE).

Travelocity is one of the world’s largest travel sites. After building the digital multinational travel site, Jones became an investor in tourism start-ups.  Terry Jones has lectured worldwide about innovation and building digital relationships in business in over 25 countries and at more than 300 events. Additionally, he holds several patents. His programs on innovation, leadership and customer relationships are known to be thought provoking, entertaining and personal, providing both ideas and concrete action items on a path to implementation. Click here to read the full article.

Susan Alzner from Shift7 to be keynote at SMILE

Susan Alzner of Shift7 will be one of the keynote speakers at the Sint Maarten Innovations, Initiatives and Industries Link-up Event (SMILE). Organizers were elated to announce this today to mark the final day of SMILE Early Bird Season.

Shift 7 believes in the collective genius of a community to transform people, places and systems. Solution making in their eyes takes place through inclusion. Technology plays a vital role in this process. How this works, will be explained in Alzners keynote SMILE speech ‘Unlocking the collective genius of community to transform people, places and systems’. Click here to read the full article

Famous YouTube Influencer to Present at SMILE

One of the most well-known influencers of the Kingdom, Bas van Teylingen, is to visit the island end of October. His address “Secrets of Influencer Marketing” will be one of the highlights of the Sint Maarten Innovations, Initiatives and Industries Link-up Event (SMILE) to be held in late October.  

St. Maarten’s own Soca artist King Vers will also be giving van Teylingen a guided Recovery Tour of the island to share insights and ways that the island could better make use of YouTube to promote itself and its businesss. Click here to read the full article

Friday October 25th – 7pm to 10pm 

SMILE Kick off with an Opening Networking Mixer 7pm to 10pm at the Universty of St. Martin (USM). 

Saturday October 26th – 9am to 7pm

See schedule below

Please note the the schedule is subejct to change.


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. Click here to read the full article.



SMILE to host MicroMentor´s Caribbean Innovation Challenge 2019

The Sint Maarten Innovations, Initiatives and Industries Link-up Event 2019 (SMILE) will be the host of the award ceremony for the Caribbean Innovation Contest. By means of this contest, NGO MicroMentor will provide 15 prizes up to $5,000 to support the recovering business community of Sint Maarten.

SMILE organizers are excited to welcome the contest award winners and the boost provided to Sint Maarten’s entrepreneurs as the economy is still recovering from the 2017 hurricane season and promoting new ideas is exactly what the SMILE event is all about.

The SMILE tradeshow is designed to revolve around the themes of innovation and sustainability. The organizers see the Caribbean Innovation Challenge by Micromentor as a great incentive to “think out of the box” on the road to SMILE. Click here to read the full article.


Meet our Speakers

Cabinet of the Minister Plenipotentiary to hold SMILE pre-event

On the 10th of September, in collaboration with SHTA, the Cabinet of the Minister Plenipotentiary of Sint Maarten will host a special lunch meeting. This meeting will help in preparing interested European based companies and NGO’s who will visit Sint Maarten during the Sint Maarten Innovations, Initiatives and Industries Link-up Event (SMILE). This event will also cater to Sint. Maarteners based in Europe who may be interested in scaling their business or establishing stronger commercial ties with Sint Maarten. SMILE will take place on the 25th and 26th of October at the University of St. Martin and is meant for companies, investors, NGO’s, policy advisors and individuals interested in expanding their business in Sint Maarten. Click here to read the full article.


As of today, Thursday, August 15, Waste2Work launches its first island-wide Waste2Design competition. Running until October 15, the objective is to uncover new talent on St. Maarten and raise awareness on upcycling waste materials.

Waste2Work believes there are a lot of St. Maarteners who are already upcycling in their home or community in many creative ways. The competition provides the opportunity for creative designers to shine. Top designs will be showcased at the St. Maarten Innovations, Industries Link-Up Event (SMILE), October 25-26. Click here to read the full article

Special SMILE Hotel Rate 

Price list 

Netherlands Enterprise Agency, Ministry of Foreign Affairs to present instruments to Sint Maarten companies on export, tourism

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. Click here to read the full article.


SMILE 2019 slated for October 25 – 26th 2019



The 2019 Sint Maarten Innovations, Initiatives & Industries Link-up Event is scheduled for October 25th and 26th. This was announced by the main organizer, The Sint Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association (SHTA), today.

The SMILE event was founded in 2018 and aims to highlight innovative and sustainable companies and projects and to facilitate business to business networking on island. Last year’s edition attracted over 300 visitors from 89 organizations representing 9 countries.

The event once again enjoys committed support from; 360 Innovation (Aruba), the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (COCI), ORCO Bank, Global Resourcing and University of St Martin (USM). It is meant for entrepreneurs, managers, innovators, marketeers, investors and HR professionals from companies both large and small.

Just like last year, the focus of SMILE’s 25 masterclasses and workshops will be on assisting Sint Maarten’s diverse group of businesses, foundations, and Organizations. For this edition, content will be organized around the four main themes of innovation, marketing-funding, sustainability and human resource management. Click here to read the full article.


Read more about SMILE 2018 below


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 www.shta.com/SMILE and www.facebook.com/smilesintmaarten.

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’sRead 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. Read Full Article.

Video Testimonials 

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 info@shta.com or call 5420108. More information can be found at SHTA.COM/SMILE.