Philipsburg – On a recent trip to Puerto Rico, youngest woman to be sworn in to Parliament, Member of Parliament Solange Ludmila Duncan, met with Inprende Founder Alessandra Correa to learn more about the company’s work as a platform for the promotion and facilitation of innovation and entrepreneurship and discuss possible partnerships with St. Maarten. Inprende has been contracted by the Government of Puerto Rico to execute education and training programs for thousands of businesses and has in turn impacted over 60,000 entrepreneurs.
“In St. Maarten, especially after Hurricane Irma, we have had so many people start their own businesses however we currently lack a permanent and sustainable training program, funded by Government, that enables them to garner the skills, mindset and tools necessary to become the best that they can possibly be” stated MP Duncan. Partnering with companies like Inprende who are now in talks with the Governments of the Dominican Republic and Panama to design similar training programs, would give St. Maarten’s entrepreneurs a competitive edge in the region as well as promote financial success and resilience.
MP Duncan firmly believes that developing St. Maarten’s economy should be centered around developing its entrepreneurs and locally-owned businesses, especially those with export potential. “I visited the Tasty Smart Cookie Factory in Vega Baja, co-founded by my friend Jonelie Velez, who lived on St. Maarten a few years ago and was amazed by both the simplicity and magnitude of the operation. When I heard that the Government sponsored the factory and assisted with other costs, I knew that I needed to learn more about the current push towards promoting local entrepreneurship on the island” commented MP Duncan. St. Maarten’s position as a hub will give local businesses that develop products worth exporting, a significant advantage. It would be in the best interest of the private, public and not-for-profit sectors to collaborate on developing a national entrepreneurial mindset.
“St. Maarten has great potential for economic diversification as long as the Government, Parliament and private sector stakeholders like the banks, make a major, concerted effort to develop small and medium-sized business through the leveraging of opportunities for financing, education and training. I will be sending a letter to the Ministry of TEATT and various private sector organizations, on the possibilities for partnership with Inprende.” noted the MP.
MP Duncan aims to improve and develop legislation and policies that will assist local business persons to succeed, not only creating value for themselves but also for the country and the rest of the world.