From left are: COCI Executive Director Anastacio Baker, second place winner Nick Maley, COCI representative Ife Badejo (back row), overall winner Crystal Coombs and first place winner Paula Daal-Dono, and COCI Board President Benjamin Ortega.
PHILIPSBURG–Crystal Coombs of Cocomoods Concepts, Paula Daal-Dono of VooDoo Entertainment and Nick Maley from Yoda Guy Movie Museum Foundation are the three St. Maarten business persons who will be attending the Seatrade Cruise Global Conference at the Miami Beach Convention Center from April 8 to 11, thanks to the St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce and Industry (COCI).
The three won COCI’s “Business Pitch to Seatrade,” and now have an opportunity to attend the event compliments of the Chamber. The Executive Board and COCI Operations representatives selected the winners from amongst the entries received.
Coombs, the overall winner, created Cocomoods on September 1, 2018. COCI said Coombs “is an upbeat temp girl who loves to travel the world and experience different cultures. Just like anyone else, she experiences different types of moods. She wants to demonstrate her creative lifestyle through fashion, culture and her hair. Moods gives priority to artwork to help express cultural differences, but to evoke a sense of style and set the appropriate mood.” Global Rootz, is related to offering products that cut across different cultures. Cocomoods Concepts makes a variety of art products that remind customers of their native country and represent “rootz in style.”
VooDoo Entertainment, headed by Daal-Dono, established since 2008, came in first place and provides all forms of entertainment for events including dance shows, bands, deejays, fire shows and specialty shows. VooDoo Entertainment in the post-Irma era is currently focused on doing shows for cruise passengers. They also do shows for restaurants and casinos.
The second-place winner is Yoda Guy Movie Museum Foundation headed by Maley. Maley, a veteran movie maker with over 60 featured films to his credit, is widely known as the “Yoda Guy” for his work creating Yoda for the classic Star Wars Trilogy. Maley and his wife established the Yoda Guy Movie Museum in 2011, in order to preserve the history of classic movies and spotlights the work of innovators in the film industry. They market the museum onboard cruise ships and offer shore excursions of their Yoda Guy Movie Exhibit.
The overall winning business will receive a round-trip ticket to Miami, Florida hotel accommodation, a daily allowance and Seatrade Cruise Global conference pass. The first and second place winners will receive round-trip tickets and an entry pass to the conference while the first-place winner receives hotel accommodations and a daily allowance.
President of COCI Supervisory Board Benjamin Ortega said that the three businesses will have the opportunity to join Team St. Maarten and represent the country at the conference, adding that it is an occasion to stimulate and promote their business, the island and cruise tourism.
Ortega said the selection process was not easy and it was decided to give it to three businesses instead of one. “All three entities that were selected have their own uniqueness and standout when showcasing their products. I would like to thank you for your participation and we were inspired by your stories,” said Ortega.
COCI Executive Director Anastacio Baker said the products that the businesses offer are good and the presentations were excellent. “With 40-years of Chamber history behind us, the new board has embarked upon the initiative of inclusion. As business owners, we need to differentiate by bringing in our own creativity,” Baker said.
Seatrade Cruise Global is the cruise industry’s most significant worldwide event that presents the opportunity to promote the island and the business community. The Business Pitch to Seatrade was part of the Supervisory Board and Executive Director initiative in giving back to the business community and to stimulate business activity and innovation in a challenging economic environment post-Irma/Maria.
To participate in the competition, locally registered business had to “pitch themselves” to qualify. The campaign was open to all businesses registered at the Chamber. Participants had to submit a 90 second or less video why this business/entity should be chosen and how this opportunity would benefit their organisation. The registrant had to also submit a one-page biography of their business/organisation (history, type of business, current situation and future plans for the business) and include contact information of the owner.