PHILIPSBURG - The Government of St. Maarten in collaboration with the COSME Project Management Unit, PMU, will be hosting the 2nd Stakeholder Forum for the 10th European Development Fund Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Regional Programme from October 2nd – 3rd, 2014 at the Divi Little Bay Beach Resort. The event kicks off with a welcome cocktail party for the attending delegates of the twelve (12) Caribbean territories and invited guests at the Holland House Beach Hotel on October 1st, 2014.
The COSME Programme funded by the European Union, EU, with 15 million EURO’s, has three specific objectives namely, (1) strengthening the capacity of the Governments of the Caribbean Overseas Countries and Territories, (OCTs) to service the business sector, (2) improving the capacity of Business Service Organizations (BSOs) to engage in public-/private policy and administrative reform dialogue with Governments and provide services to their constituency of SMEs and (3) promoting stronger collaboration, trade and investment relations among the EU, CARIFORUM and the Caribbean OCTs.
Upon completion of the program, it is expected that there will be improvement of policies and the legislative and administrative framework for SMEs to establish and conduct business in the Caribbean OCTs, improved capacity of business support organizations to deliver the necessary services to their members and engage in dialogue with Government and improved competitiveness of SMEs participating in the programme and improved collaboration, trade and investment relations amongthe EU, CARIFORUM and the Caribbean OCTs.
The Stakeholder’s Forum will offer a platform for the participating stakeholders to discuss the proposals presented by the OCTs to the Project Management Unit over the course of the past months and the translation of these in a framework of activities. In attendance to welcome all delegates from the various OCTs will be the Prime Minister of Sint Maarten, Honorable Sarah Wescot-Williams as well as the BVI Financial Secretary and Deputy Regional Authorizing Officer of the 10th EDF, Mr. Neil Smith with words of introduction to set the stage for the two-days of activities.
The main focus of the two-day Forum will be geared toward the short term planning and defining the activities of phase one of the programme The expected participation includes 22-24 regional delegates from all of the Caribbean OCTs with delegates coming from five English speaking OCTs, six Dutch and one French. The participants will comprise members of the Sint Maarten SME Focal Point consisting of persons from the department EVT and BAK as well as SMDF and the St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce and Industry.