On the road towards its third edition slated March 25th / 26th, the St Maarten Innovations, Initiatives & Industries Link-Up event (SMILE) has announced Ignas van Schaik as its first keynote speaker. Van Schaik became internationally renowned for his work on the movie “De Nieuwe Wildernis” (The New Wilderness), the first full feature nature film reaching European cinema’s main screens.

SMILE will be held on Friday the 25th of March and Saturday the 26th of March 2022 at the University of St. Maarten. During SMILE, van Schaik will share insights and tips how to turn an idea into eventually big multimedia initiatives with impact on society. The speaker will also make a special announcement at SMILE of importance to the audience. In cooperation with the department of culture, extra attention to this year’s SMILE event will go out to creative entrepreneurs of the region.

Organizers SHTA and 360* of Innovation are elated to have van Schaik as a keynote, looking forward to hear about his view on the event theme “Sustainable Economies Post COVID”. Van Schaik has extensive experience in the development of cross-media concepts and e-commerce. After his debut as a filmmaker with ‘De Nieuwe Wildernis’, SMILE’s keynote produced several successful films about nature that have reached a worldwide audience. His company EMS Films makes film productions that “fascinate and stimulate and that are made with respect, quality and care in order to have the global audience respond to the power of the story”.

The St Maarten Innovations, Initiatives & Industries Link-Up Event (SMILE) was founded in the wake of hurricane Irma to inspire the northeastern Caribbean business community with best practices in innovation and sustainability, local and international. As of its first edition in 2018, SMILE has proven a great opportunity for professionals to get (re)connected and obtain new professional updates and ideas and enhance skills.

Early bird season started this week: interested people who want to participate at SMILE, both domestic and foreign, can contact the SMILE project office at office@shta.com or call 5420108. More information can be found at www.smilesintmaarten.com.

SHTA and 360* of Innovation thank the Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Atlas Risk Insurances, Grant Thornton, the Central Bank of Curacao & St. Maarten, Dynaf, the Department of Culture of MECYS, ShowMe Caribbean, Guardian Group and host University of St Maarten for cooperating on SMILE’s 2022 edition.

For this edition, a close eye will be kept on the developments pertaining to the pandemic to guarantee safety. If the status at the time requires reduced crowd size, tickets will be allocated on a first come first serve basis.