Published On: Fri, Mar 22nd, 2019

How entrepreneurs responded to CIBC FirstCaribbean’s First in Business Seminar

CIBC FirstCaribbean's First in Business Seminar at Belair Community Center March 14th 2019 - - - Richard Hazel Photo

BELAIR — CIBC FirstCaribbean recently held it First in Business Seminar at Belair Community Center on Thursday, March 14th, 2019. According to Garth Sherwood, Country Manager CIBC FirstCaribbean, the aim was to provide business owners in the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector with an opportunity to help grow their business by facilitating a forum that provides important information.

“Time has come to provide the MSME community with an opportunity to grow their business, not only by providing you with working capital assistance when necessary but also by facilitating a forum that provides important information that can assist in facilitating an improvement in the performance and management of your businesses.” Sherwood further stated. “With the vital information presented, CIBC FirstCaribbean aims to assist businesses with improvements in management and performance within their industries.”

The CIBC FirstCaribbean’s First in Business Seminar was very informative and I really learnt a few more things about banking and business in general.” – Clifton Wilson, owner of Simadon Trading and Services

Clifton Wilson at CIBC FirstCaribbean seminarPresent at the seminar was small business owner Clifton Wilson who distributes Rechargeable LED Light bulbs and Compostable Products, to replace plastics and Styrofoam food containers and cutleries on St. Maarten and the Caribbean, via his company Simadom Trading and Services.

Wilson said that the seminar was very informative and he learnt some steps that he has to take in dealing with the legalities of his business. “Having the buying, marketing and selling plans under wrap is not all one has to focus on.” Wilson explained. “One has to plan for continuity of the business. Protection of the business with decent and reliable record keeping is vital, but equally so, are the legal status of the business, protection of the assets of the business, through insurance and protection and treatment of your staff.”

Information is power. More of such events are most welcomed.” – Ronny Busby, owner of Limelite Media

Ronny Busby at CIBC FirstCaribbean seminarAlso present was Ronny Busby, owner of Limelite Media. Busby, a well-known radio personality as well, had the honor of being the seminar’s host and master of ceremonies (mc). According to Busby, seminars such as the one organized by CIBC FirstCaribbean was very important and informative, especially for new startups. “It gave the participants more insight on legal and financial matters and on doing business on St. Maarten.”

Thank you CIBC FCIB management and team for a job well done! This is just the beginning!” – Jacqueline Blijden, managing director of VIAMEX N.V.

Owner and managing director of VIAMEX, Jacqueline Blijden, is definitely excited and enthusiastic about the seminar. “As owner of an import export business called Virgin Archer Import Export and operating under the company name VIAMEX NV, I am always appreciative and welcome these seminars which serve as a guideline for better and sound business practices.” Blijden wrote to StMaartenNews.com.

Jacqueline Blijden at CIBC FirstCaribbean seminarThe CIBC FCIB business seminar served as an indicator for Blijden that she is on the right track to better her business practices. The highlighted topics which were of vital importance to her and her company VAIMEX N.V. were:

  • Accounting – We are in need of a good daily accounting system where all our activities are recorded. Good records keeps us in tune as to how healthy or not our operation is and tell us also on a timely manner where changes would need to be made.
  • We were made aware of having a good Risk Management Insurance Policy among others which covers the company’s type of business activities.
  • Besides all required documents for starting and running a business having a Business Attorney is of utmost importance for any labor or any other disputes one may have as a business owner.
  • CIBC First Caribbean has some quite attractive Financial Products to offer us business owners. Everything is tailored to assist us on our road to continued success with no worries.

Blijden wrote that she will be making appointments with all the presenters as her plan of action entails moving her business forward to the betterment of the St. Maarten community and beyond.

“VAIMEX N.V. is looking forward to CIBC FCIB taking this first of its business seminar to another level. We hope this to be just the beginning of more seminars like this to come.” Blijden concluded.

During the seminar, presentations and discussions were conducted with guest speakers Daniella Engelhardt of Van Eps van Doorne Law Firm; Marcia Illidge, BDO Accounting Firm; Neil Henderson, Henderson International Insurance; and Jimmy Challenger of CIBC FirstCaribbean. The forum provided businesses the opportunity to network and gain expertise in the specific fields of Law, Finance, Insurance and Accounting as Blijden pointed out.

Minister of Finance Perry Geerlings at CIBC FirstCaribbean seminarMinister of Finance the Honorable Perry Geerlings, who was also present, said the event was “a welcomed and much needed seminar – an excellent platform to share information and knowledge.”

Country Manager CIBC FirstCaribbean, Garth Sherwood said that “The Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector is one of the primary drivers of economic growth and employment in a country in which they operate.”

“They create financial independence, provide employment and encourage innovation.” Sherwood said as he addressed some eighty (80) business owners at the opening of the First in Business Seminar hosted by the bank.

“Prior to Hurricane Irma you accounted for 85% of companies operating and you provided approximately 20% of the TOT collected by Government. I have used these numbers to properly put into context the importance of you and your business to the economy of our island.” Sherwood pointed out.

“With the vital information presented, the bank aims to assist businesses with improvements in management and performance within their industries. CIBC FirstCaribbean remains adamant in its prominent role in the success of the island and its businesses. The First in Business seminar is confirmation of this commitment”, Sherwood said.

The bank recently also held a Driven to Own Financial Planning and Mortgage series event in collaboration with MotorWorld, bringing more than two hundred (200) attendees together seeking ownership and solid financial freedom.

Top photo caption: CIBC FirstCaribbean’s First in Business Seminar at Belair Community Center March 14th 2019. Richard Hazel Photo provided by CIBCFCIB.

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MinTEATT Stuart Johnson

News Release

Cabinet of the Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transportation & Telecommunications (Ministry TEATT) Government Administration Building, Soualiga Road #1, Pond Island, Sint Maarten

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Minister Stuart Johnson: MSMEs are the foundation of the national economy

POND ISLAND, Sint Maarten – CIBC FirstCaribbean organized its ‘First in Business’ Seminar where 80 businesses took part.

Minister of Tourism & Economic Affairs Stuart Johnson commends CIBC FirstCaribbean for its First in Business seminar initiative and looks forward to additional seminars in the future for the country’s business sector.

CIBC FirstCaribbean pointed out in a statement that Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector is one of the primary drivers of economic growth and employment in a country.

The majority of Sint Maarten businesses comprises of approximately 85 per cent MSMEs.

CIBC FirstCaribbean said that the reason for hosting the forum is the necessity to provide important information that can assist in facilitating an improvement in the performance and management of a business.

“MSMEs are generally acknowledged to make a meaningful contribution to the economic development of our country through performance in growth, income, employment generation and innovation.

“They are the foundation of the economy of our country, a key engine of growth, and must be on the ball where innovation and service are concerned as we are a service-based tourist economy.

“Local business organizations have to upgrade, enhance productivity where necessary, innovate and transform in order to continue to grow based on capacities and capabilities.

“The First in Business seminar can help local businesses deepen their capabilities and develop their innovative capacities improving quality and becoming a business of excellence,” Minister of Tourism & Economic Affairs Stuart Johnson said on Thursday.

The First in Business seminar provided business attendees with the opportunity to network and gain expertise in Law, Finance, Insurance and Accounting.

MSMEs have the potential to make a long-lasting positive impact on global development needs, as the engine for economic growth and job creation, which is estimated to account for two out of three net new jobs created worldwide.

PHOTO: Minister Stuart Johnson.

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