From left: Ife Badejo, Deputy Minister Michael Somersall, Jaime Bakker, Benjamin Ortega and Louis Bute.
PHILIPSBURG–The St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce and Industry (COCI) ten-day working visit to the Netherlands comes to an end this weekend as the three-person delegation prepares to return home.
The visit was organised 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 that can facilitate these objectives.
The delegation included COCI Board President Benjamin Ortega, Board Treasurer Louis Bute and member Ife Badejo, who is involved in entrepreneurship activities.
The first meeting in which the delegation participated was at the St. Maarten House in The Hague with St. Maarten’s Minister Plenipotentiary and her cabinet.
During the visit, the three Chamber representatives met with several entities: Netherlands Enterprise Agency RVO, Netherlands Chamber of Commerce KvK, Entrepreneurs Association ONL, Central Bureau of Statistics, Oxpert Consultancy and the Dutch Investment Agency Invest-NL.
Ortega said the meetings thus far supported by the Cabinet of the Minister Plenipotentiary have been considered extremely successful. “Our fact-finding and relationship building for capacity exchange have 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 [Hurricane – Ed.] 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 organisations 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.”
In 2019, COCI adopted the theme “inclusion”. The board under Ortega’s guidance aims to enhance 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, whereby the wealth of information and knowledge gained during the visits to the different business-oriented entities and organisations will lead to new initiatives in St. Maarten for Chamber registrants, it was stated in a press release on Friday.
The Netherlands Enterprise Agency is a Dutch government organisation 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 positions and helping them realise 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. NIA helps local and regional governments, public-private corporations and entrepreneurs to gain access to finance.
NIA has a qualified staff of financial experts with knowledge of national and European financing schemes and programmes, supported by project development experts and experts in government administration. They help to turn investment ambitions into concrete, financially viable investment projects.
NIA cooperates with numerous partners such as European Investment Bank (EIB) Advisory Hub, European Investment Project Portal (EIPP) and the European Investment Fund/National Provider Identifier (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 organisation in the Netherlands that is the voice of the business community. It is 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.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/88160-coci-wraps-up-working-visit-to-the-netherlands