COSME organizes the first Regional Summit – Chambers of Commerce Caribbean OCTs

Posted: December 23, 2016 in Uncategorized


Oranjestad-Aruba, December 22, 2016 – The “Regional Summit Chambers of Commerce Caribbean OCTs,” held in Aruba on December 5 and 6, 2016, was a main COSME program organized for senior officials from each OCT Chamber of Commerce to share successes and case studies that will assist with future development of the individual OCT Chambers. Mrs. Daphne Lejuez, President and Mrs. Sonja Velthuizen, Director attended these meetings on behalf of the Aruba Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The two-day summit covered subjects such as Chamber Best Practices, Regional Chamber Cooperation, Regional Platform (Post-COSME strategic objectives of the COSME program, namely to improve the capacity of Business Support Organizations (BSOs)) as well as regional collaboration promotion.

A number of interactive presentations were made during the summit, which included Mr. Koos Sneek’s (President of the joint Chamber of Commerce for Sint Eustatius and Saba). He described how annual coordination of the Dutch Chambers of Commerce can enable the ability to share best practices.

Mr. Michael Seepersaud discussed the establishment of a Coordinating Centre to promote Trade and Investment and Private Sector Development among Caribbean OCTs. Some of the benefits shared by the presenters, including Mr. Wil Pineau, CEO of the Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce, were that Chambers should be, able to support their businesses by providing access to up-to-date demographic and benchmarking statistics, training and education programs (online and on-demand), connection to the ACCE network, mentorship, participation in events, etc. Mr. Andrew Ingraham, Principal Bahamian-American Chambers of Commerce and President/CEO of NABHOOD, gave a passionate and motivating presentation detailing what is meant by the international reach of the Chambers’ position in the private sector. The Chambers hold a unique position, assisting and supporting the growth of businesses because of their independence from political influence. The strongest and most successful Chambers represent the business sector on the international stage, not the government. The Chambers’ role is that of an advocate on behalf of the business sector.

The summit concluded with an interactive panel discussion about the potential Structure of Collaboration.

COSME is a 54-month program with the responsibility to disperse 15M Euros to projects benefitting participating Caribbean Territories. The funds were made available by the European Union (EU). The program’s overall objective is to contribute to the sustainable and climate- resilient economic diversification and prosperity of Caribbean OCTs by improving the competitiveness of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in the participating territories.

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