From left: Bertaux Fleming, Benjamin Ortega, Valya Pantophlet, Sulaica Davelaar and Annuska Friday-Illis.
PHILIPSBURG–St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce and Industry (COCI) discussed a number of matters related to the business community, including permits for vendors for Carnival, during a recent meeting with the Department of Economic Affairs.
COCI President Benjamin Ortega said the meeting was informative. One of the issues discussed was related to preparations for Carnival 2019 and the issuance of vendor permits. COCI has property along Walter Nisbeth Road (Pondfill/ring road) and vendors tend to set up their vending tents along this road.
COCI is currently making plans for the development of the property and wanted to discuss vending permits issued with respect to this particular location.
COCI and the department agreed to work closely together to better improve the value of the location for vendors when requesting a location along the public road on 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 [Hurricane – Ed.] Irma it has proven to be a good way of doing business,” Ortega said in a press release on Thursday.
“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 hot spots not only for our locals, but also for cruise and stay-over guests. Vending is a business opportunity for them to sell goods and we as a Chamber fully support further enhancing this economic opportunity which has been part and parcel of Carnival for almost half a century.”
The Economic Affairs Department suggested that a workshop be organised by the two entities to stimulate, coach and encourage doing business as a vendor. Persons 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 and trash-free; health related pointers where the selling of food and drinks is concerned; selling points; and overall better business planning.
By going the extra mile, the Chamber and the Department of Economic Affairs hope to stimulate local entrepreneurs not only 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 is COCI’s intention for 2019 to give more back to the growing business economy and to ensure that sustainable development is stimulated, especially as the Chamber has adopted 2019 as the year of inclusion.
Last year Ortega alluded to the business concept of “pop up” shops and the value these could bring to the country as an innovative model, but said proper procedures with registering a business are 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, which has 40 years of stimulation of good business practices.
The Chamber delegation at the meeting included Vice President Bertaux Fleming and Secretary to the Executive Board Annuska Friday-Illis. The Department of Economic Affairs was represented by Economic Licences Department head Valya Pantophlet and Economic Control Section head Sulaica Davelaar.