Friday-Illis calls businesses to make better use of COCI services 



PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten — Businesses, both small and large, should tap into the services and facilities offered by St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce and Industry (COCI) to boost their post-Hurricane Irma recovery.

Chamber of Commerce Board Executive Secretary Annuska Friday-Illis issued this call to businesses after observing the recovery of the commercial sector.

She said, “Businesses, small ones in particular, are truly the backbone of a country and even more so now after this hurricane season. These are also the businesses that struggle the most. The Chamber of Commerce is here to assist and businesses must take advantage of this.”

The Chamber of Commerce’s basic services are known to the community such as its role as the legal business registry. “But, the Chamber of Commerce can also help businesses and budding entrepreneurs navigate opportunities and gain contacts. The connections the Chamber of Commerce has made at home and abroad are there to tap into,” Friday-Illis said.

The businesswoman said the Chamber of Commerce board is made up of business people who know and understand the challenges faced in the rebuilding and recovery of the country.

“The challenges of each business, depending on their niche may be different, but there are commonalities, be it construction and labour costs or restocking the shelves. As a representative of the businesses, I want to know more about the bottlenecks. This way we can use the available framework to tackle these and help with a smoother recovery. As businesses, we have say in the recovery,” Friday-Illis said.

The Chamber of Commerce has conducted a recent survey on the economy and its recovery. This also forms the basis of Friday-Illis’ call to businesses to add more of their voice to push the country forward post-hurricane. “As representative on the Chamber of Commerce’s board it is my duty to see that businesses come back bigger, brighter and faster. Our community, businesses, and visitors deserve it,” Friday-Illis said.