On March 15, 2019, the Access to Finance session was held during the Road to GES2019 Caribbean. The session was moderated by Mr. Adric Walter and consisted of mastermind talks presented by Mr. Coenraad de Vries, Mr. Luis Santine and Mr. Oz Eleonora along with interesting panel discussions.
Mr. Coenraad de Vries, early investor in Clean Teach/Sustainable Solutions, Co-Founder of Start Green Venture Capital, and Co-Founder of OnePlanetCrowd, presented the Alternative Finance mastermind talk which included the whole process of obtaining financing for entrepreneurs. According to Mr. de Vries understanding which stage you are in during your business growth will help you find the adequate financing you need. The most important aspect that contributes to the success of entrepreneurs is the People component. People can influence results on the market, product technology, and profitability. Financiers will look at the way entrepreneurs handle their people, their plan for market exploration, product technology, and profitability.
Up next was the Alternative Finance panel consisting of Chesron Isidora (Korpodeko), Luis Santine (CX Pay), Oz Eleonora (Zinica Group), Rene Römer (DCSX), and Coenraad de Vries (OnePlanetCrowd). The panel participants first provided small pitches on their companies so attendees could get acquainted with these organizations. The panel then continued discussing, in general, the possibilities of alternative financing including the work being done in trying to open the door to alternative forms of financing like the issuance of digital tokens in or thru Curaçao. The Zinica Group is working with the Central Bank of Curaçao and St. Maarten on establishing an innovative team that will work on these types Alternative Financing possibilities.
Crowdfunding in the form of “retail” loans, for example, is currently not allowed without a license from the central bank. Donations are but the Central Bank will monitor if such projects are not de-facto retail business crowdfunding structures.
Luis Santine, CEO of CX Pay discussed how fintech is changing the payment process and how company restrictions such as those of Paypal, that don’t allow users from certain regions like Curaçao to obtain payments, opens the opportunity and market space for companies such as CX Pay to offer online payment solutions for the Caribbean. CX Pay works with Vidanova Bank, Aruba Bank, The MCB Group, First Caribbean International Bank, Scotiabank, and MasterCard.
Oz Eleonora, Founder/Chairman of the Zinica Group, first highlighted some successful fintech entrepreneurs from Curacao that are well known internationally such as IBIS Management, a local company selling banking software and Omega, a local company offering surface water-based cooling technology. The founder, Tony van Sprang received the Energy Engineer of the Year 2017 award for this technology.
Mr. Eleonora, started his presentation on leveraging the blockchain for International Financial Services Innovation indicating how Curaçao has a valuable asset, namely the knowledge of professionals on several areas that are needed to establish a blockchain based capital market center for the issuance of security tokens. What are the services that would be offered by the capital market center? Capital Management, Treasury Management, Distribution, and Capital protection. What would the requirements for the companies interested in issuing security tokens?
Overall the session offered much-needed information for entrepreneurs to understand in which stage they are in and what type of financing they need. A startup can be at the first stage where it will need 100% risk accepting investors or angel investors, or a startup, such as Lyft can also be at the stage where they are ready to issue an Initial Public Offering (IPO). The session also shed light on local online payment options, the possibilities of crowdfunding, and a blockchain based capital market.
We thank Mrs. Valerie Vallenduuk and her team for giving us the opportunity to participate during the panel on Alternative Finance and we invite all interested parties to attend the Global Entrepreneur Summit (GES)2019 on June 4 and June 5 in the Netherlands.