The Road to GES2019 Caribbean was launched on March 14, 2019, at Villa Maria. The Road to GES2019 Caribbean is the pre-summit event where entrepreneurs from the Netherlands, U.S and the Caribbean the government and academia come together to discuss and share ideas in many ways including mastermind talks, panel discussions, roundtables, a hackathon and several industry-specific sessions such as Future of Work, Sustainable Tourism, Renewable Energy & Water, Health & Well Being and Access to Finance. The summit (main event) GES2019 will take place in the Netherlands on June 4 and June 5.
Mr. Ramon Koffieberg, CEO of CINEX, offered some welcome words and emphasized on the true meaning of entrepreneurship. The Chief of Mission U.S. Consulate General on Curaçao, Mrs. Margaret Hawthorne extended a warm welcome to the attendees and explained why supporting initiatives such as the GES2019 is important to the U.S. as they foster innovative business models and help build and deploy connection with global impact.
The U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Mr. Pete Hoekstra, talked about the idea of the summit bringing it to the Netherlands, and including the Caribbean region that is part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Guido Landheer, acting Director General of Foreign Economic Relations of Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs discussed the influence of entrepreneurs in society and the launch of the Global Entrepreneur Summit 2019 as an opportunity to bring together government, entrepreneur, startups and academia.
Her Excellency, Prime Minister of Aruba, Mrs. Evelyn Wever-Croes, talked about the Aruban Entrepreneurial spirit. In her view, today’s challenges of digitalization could be an opportunity for the Caribbean. Small in Size is not a Threat but a completive advantage. Events like this should be supported beyond the GES2019. According to the Prime Minister, courage and creativity are the most valuable assets of entrepreneurship.
His Excellency, Prime Minister of Curaçao, Mr. Eugene Ruggenaath, talked about how entrepreneurs have an important function in economic growth and how the idea was planned to organize the Road To GES2019 on Curaçao. He extended an invitation to seize the opportunity to discuss share best practices and connect through the several sessions that will be held during the event like Future of Work, Sustainable Tourism, Renewable Energy & Water, Health & Well Being and Access to Finance.
Up next, the innovation panel consisting of Omaira Leeflang, David Clementina, Margaret Hawthorne, Pete Hoekstra, Evelyn Wever-Croes and Eugene Ruggenaath discussed the opportunities for entrepreneur, positives and negatives sides of innovation and how innovation required a change in education to prepare the next generation for jobs that don’t even exist today.
The first-day program continued with several sessions held simultaneously including the Semi-Finals of Present Your Startup, the Hackathon, the Future of Work Session, and the Sustainable Tourism Session. On the second day of the Road of GES2019 Caribbean the host, Mr. Ramon Koffieberg provided a summary of the first day. Mr. Guido Landheer shared a video about the GES2019 that will be held in The Netherlands. It will be the first GES investor-centric with approximately 2000 high-level entrepreneurs participating. The event opens the opportunity to look for new business models and new coalitions.
The Minister of Finance, and acting Minister of Economic Development, Mr. Kenneth Gijsbertha, talked about the importance of entrepreneurs and innovation and shared the updated entrepreneurship & SME policy that will stimulate innovate entrepreneurship. Cam Houser, Professor at Austin University and founder of 3 Day Startup shared his journey as an entrepreneur. According to him pitching and receiving feedback is very important. He shared the important steps for entrepreneurs to follow:
Up next, the entrepreneurship panel consisting of Cam Houser, Guido Landheer, Jay Collado, Hans Biesheuvel, and Megan Conyers discussed what investors are looking for going beyond the business plan. Jay shared his story as a former participant of present your startup. Overall the panel agreed that adaptability, opportunity, and community are important aspects for entrepreneurs. The owner of Fuego was brought to the forefront as a young entrepreneur who builds his business based on competitive video gaming participating in world championships. The second-day program continued with the Hackathon, Access to Finance, Renewable Energy & Water, Water & Health Being, and Finals of Present Your Startup.
In upcoming articles, we will discuss the Access to Finance session and Present Your Startup Competition. We want to thank Mrs. Valerie Vallenduuk and her team for giving us the opportunity to participate in the program of the event. Overall we are happy with the outcome of the event and we’re glad to be one of the supporters.