SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce & Industry (COCI) President Benjamin Ortega headed a delegation of COCI who met with the Department of Economic Affairs which falls under the Ministry of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport & Telecommunications (Ministry TEATT) to discuss a number of matters related to the business community.
Ortega described the meeting as informative. One of the first agenda points discussed was related to preparations for Carnival 2019 and the issuance of vendor permits. COCI has property along the Pondfill/Ring road and vendors tend to set-up their vending tent on the aforementioned.
COCI is currently busy making plans for the development of the property and wanted to discuss vending permits issued with respect to this particular location along the Pondfill/Ring road.
The Chamber and the department agreed to work closely together to better improve the location value of the various vendors when requesting a location along the public road that follows the Carnival route.
“Carnival is big business for the micro-small entrepreneur. We often look at vending as a side thing, but lately and especially after Irma it has proven to be a good way of doing business.
“This business model is not only to be applied during festivities such as Carnival but also year-round. There have been many successful vending locations such as in Simpson bay that have become a hot spot not only for our locals but also from Cruise and Stay-over guests.
“Vending is a business opportunity for them to sell goods and we as a Chamber fully supports further enhancing this economic opportunity which has been part and parcel of Carnival for almost half a century,” President Ortega said on Thursday.
The Economic Affairs Department suggested that a workshop is organized by both entities to stimulate, coach and encourage doing business as a vendor. Those requesting a vendor permit can expect to receive an invitation with constructive information and advice about conducting good business such as the importance of keeping the vending location clean, trash-free; health related pointers where the selling of food and drinks are concerned; selling points; and overall better business planning.
The Chamber delegation included Vice President Bertaux Fleming and Secretary to the Executive Board Annuska Friday Illis. The Department of Economic Affairs was represented by Valya Pantophlet, Department Head of Economic Licenses, and Sulaica Davelaar, Section Head of Economic Control.
By going the extra mile, the Chamber and the Department of Economic Affairs hope to not only stimulate local entrepreneurs during the Carnival season, but overall to continue doing business as micro-small businesses which are the backbone of every economy including the economic environment of Sint Maarten.
Ortega informed the department that it was the intention of the COCI for 2019 to give more back to the growing business economy and to ensure that sustainable development is stimulated especially since the Chamber has adopted 2019 as the year of ‘inclusion.’
COCI President Ortega last year pointed out the business concept of ‘Pop Up’ shops and the value that these could bring to the country as an innovative model, but that proper procedures with registering your business is key to successful business planning.
The Chamber and the department agreed to work closely together, and Ortega expects more collaboration with various entities and stakeholders in further enhancing the relevancy of COCI, not forgetting 40-years of stimulation of good business practices.
The meeting with the Department of Economic Affairs took place on March 6.