As of today, the final line-up of the St. Maarten Innovations, Initiatives & Industries Link-Up Event (SMILE) is available on event website 

Ever since its November digital kickoff event with the Aruban Tourism Authority as keynote, various speakers, workshops and new parts of the event have been announced; with many additions over time a full schedule is available. The event’s speakers will, like the two preceding editions of SMILE, be centered around the key topics of innovation and sustainability, as well as business and networking opportunities for the St. Maarten business and NGO – sector. The Event aims to highlight local initiatives on these topics as well as those from abroad.

Organizing parties are the St. Maarten Hospitality & Trade Association (SHTA) and foundation 360* of Innovation, with ongoing support from the St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce & Industry and the University of St. Martin (USM). For its third edition, support by the Department of Culture of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth & Sports, Grant Thornton, Atlas Risk Solutions and local manufacturers Topper’s Rhum and SXM Beer has also been essential.

On the topic of innovation, organizers are elated to receive Estonian innovation expert Mr. Ragnar Siil as a keynote speaker. He was closely involved in the development of Estonia as a global digital and creative hub and continued his work at the European Union.

From a sustainability aspect, a St. Maarten related revelation will be done by acclaimed nature movie maker Mr. Ignas van Schaick. He will share with the audience how his movies especially “the New Wilderness” conquered European cinemas, obtaining a Golden Calf and Golden Rembrandt award in the process. He will also have a sit down with aspiring and experienced St. Maarten movie professionals to share his experiences on how to make impactful nature movies. Any St. Maarten creative that would like to join this session can take up contact with the SHTA office.

Dynaf and SOL Energy will present their ideas for a more sustainable St. Maarten pertaining to energy resources. Curacaoan “Doughnut Economy Expert” JC Goilo will share how his island of birth is exploring an economic model on a social and ecological equilibrium. Aruban speaker Paul Simon of Henceforth Green will share his expertise in sustainable building design and neighborhood Development.

As always, the event where possible makes use of recyclables, donated to SMILE’s cause by PDG Supplies.

Also for St. Maarten creatives is the intellectual property strategy workshop by Bureau of Intellectual Property, and Growth Hacking by St. Maarten marketing expert Jennifer de Robles. St. Maarten – Dutch creative John Sandiford will provide a masterclass on how to deal with Web 3.0, the next generation of web applications. In addition, a St. Maarten Art Fair provides the opportunity to display (and purchase) island made art at SMILE.

Pertaining to tourism, the St. Maarten Tourism Bureau will share updates and strategies for the upcoming year. Curacaoan / St. Maarten digital tourism specialized company ShowMeCaribbean will share the future of digital marketing tools like augmented reality and 3d digital experiences.

For businesses, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry will provide an update on doing business on St. Maarten. Grant Thornton will share trends for small, medium and large enterprises and how to protect business value. A Made Here Market will display manufacturing companies on island to highlight diversification efforts within the economy – oftentimes already export products of Country St. Maarten.

The National Recovery Project Bureau (NRPB) will do an on – event clinic for those small companies interested in obtaining a loan or grant from the World Bank Enterprise Support Fund (ESP).  An amended fund by scholar Fund NWO for perusal by business associations and scholars on the Caribbean islands, will be announced by former Bonaire governor and University of Aruba rector, now Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, Glenn Thodé.

Aruban entrepreneur Edgar Nunes will share his experience on enterprise risk management. Digital strategy workshops will be provided by Cherryl Williams of Inspire Focus. An open door walk-in for companies looking to connect to counterparts in the other three countries in the kingdom will be made available by the Kingdom Enterprise Agency; also showcasing available support tools for Kingdom entrepreneurs to trade abroad – starting with the French side.

For any NGO or company, various experts provide masterclasses for SME’s, larger companies and NGOs present how to improve their organization. Juliet Hassell and Rachael Geerlings of SHCA will provide a masterclass on how to cherish your talent as an organization. St. Maarten PhD Lysanne Charles provides an update on Islanders at the Helm, a USM centered international scholar project researching societal resilience. A Labor laws update masterclass will be provided by Suhendra Leon of BZSE Law.

For all attendees, a free on-event steelpan masterclass of the Mighty Dow is available to honor this musical heritage of the island.  

The full line-up of keynote speakers and workshop program of March 26th is now available at with the ability to register and be part of the SMILEsintmaarten app.  Tickets are still available via the website, +1721 5420108 and We welcome all communication.

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