PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten – The St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce & Industry (COCI) working visit to the Netherlands for a 10-day period comes to an end this weekend as the three-person delegation prepares to return home.
The working visit was organized to connect with stakeholders in economic and business development in the Netherlands; to strengthen relationships, develop business opportunities for COCI registrants, and mutually build capacity through training and exchanges by having links with a number of Dutch entities who can facilitate the aforementioned.
The delegation comprises of President of the COCI Board Benjamin Ortega, Louis Bute, Treasurer of the board, and member Ife Badejo who is involved in entrepreneurship activities.
The first meeting that the COCI delegation took part in was at the Sint Maarten House in the Hague with St. Maarten’s Minister Plenipotentiary and her Cabinet.
During the COCI visit to the Netherlands, the three Chamber representatives have met with several entities: Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO), The Netherlands Chamber of Commerce (KvK), Entrepreneurs Association (ONL), the Central Bureau of Statistics, Oxpert Consultancy, and the Dutch Investment Agency Invest-NL.
Ortega indicated that the meetings thus far supported by the Cabinet of the Minister of Plenipotentiary has been considered extremely successful. “Our fact finding and relationship building for capacity exchange has not been done in this manner in quite some time.
“It is time that we as St. Maarten pool our resources and collectively do our best to gain from the spotlight momentum that is on St. Maarten. Although due to the natural disaster caused by Irma, we have received this spotlight, it is important that we as Chamber understand our role to assist in the matchmaking, facilitating and stimulating of our own locally based companies and organizations to mutually benefit from building back St. Maarten better.
“Many of the discussions that took place in the Netherlands are considered background information gathering, while the various other activities also promoted the country, it had a direct value for the island where various principals were informed about the positive developments that have been and are taking place,” Ortega concluded.
In 2019 COCI adopted the theme Inclusion which the board under the guidance of President Ortega aims to enhance the engagement with COCI registrant members through improving the level of participation.
The COCI working visit to the Netherlands is a clear indication of the Inclusion theme at work where the wealth of information and knowledge gained during the visits to the different business-oriented entities and organizations will lead to new initiatives in St. Maarten for Chamber registrants.
The Netherlands Enterprise Agency is a Dutch government organization which operates under the auspices of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy that stimulates entrepreneurs in sustainable, agricultural, innovative and international business. It aims to improve opportunities for entrepreneurs by strengthening their position and helping them realize their international ambitions with funding, networking, know-how and compliance with laws and regulations.
The Netherlands Chamber of Commerce officially registers companies and gives advice and support, similar to what COCI provides companies and legal entities registered in the commercial registry.
The Netherlands Investment Agency (NIA) – InvestNL – was established by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs on request of local and regional governments due to the lack of a national promotional institution (NPI). NIA helps local and regional governments, public-private cooperation’s and entrepreneurs to gain access to finance.
NIA has a qualified staff of financial experts with knowledge of national and European financing schemes and programs, supported by project development experts and experts in government administration. They help turning investment ambitions into concrete, financially viable investment projects. NIA cooperates with numerous partners, such as EIB Advisory Hub, European Investment Project Portal (EIPP) and the EIF/NPI-equity platform. NIA is the national point of contact for the promotion of the Investment Plan for Europe in the Netherlands.
ONL voor Ondernemers, is an entrepreneur organization in the Netherlands that is the voice of the business community. It’s a lobby group that looks at the interests of the business community and lobbies government and other entities about laws and regulations that could impact the business sector.