Presentation of the SME Policy for Bonaire to Commisioner Hubert Martis

On August 27, the SME Policy Report for Bonaire, prepared with support from the COSME Programme, was formally presented to Commissioner Hubert Martis at the Government Building in Kralendijk. On behalf of COSME, the handing over was done by Mr. Huib Poot, lead COSME SME Policy expert. Also present were Evy Martis-Arnemen. Policy Advisor Economic Affairs, Policy & Projects,  Directorate, Physical Planning and Development, Marco Gravenhorst, Territorial Authorising Officer (TAO) and Tamira La Cruz, COSME consultant.

The COSME Programme is an EU funded programme which was launched in 2014 and has its project management unit in the British Virgin Island. The programme’s overall objective is to contribute to the sustainable economic diversification and prosperity of the OCT's. This by improving the competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises in the territories. For more information about COSME see: http://www.cosmeprogramme.org/

An important component of the COSME programme was to support the introduction and updating of SME Policies in OCTs. Work on SME Policy support started with two comparative studies on all OCTs including one on SME Policy Implementation and one on Doing Business based on the World Bank's Doing Business methodology. In these studies a broad framework of key principles of SME policies was used.

Based on this framework, support to SME Policy development or updating was implemented in several OCTs. To develop an SME Policy for Bonaire, the COSME programme contracted a consultant, Ms Tamira La Cruz from Curacao to work with stakeholders on Bonaire, including representatives of the public and private sector. From the part of the Government, Ms Evy Martis-Arneman, guided the work of the consultant. The consultant had individual consultations with key stakeholders. She also conducted two workshops, one for SMEs and one for stakeholders, like CBS, the University, the Chamber of Commerce, Bankers Association, Bonaire Business and Employers' Association and others.

The SME Policy has a number of main themes, including increasing awareness of the advantages of entrepreneurship, business regulatory reform, strengthening support services to businesses and access to finance,  as well as strengthening SME participation in mainstream economic development.

The policy also has an action plan and designs an implementation mechanism of the policy involving stakeholders from the public and private sectors. After the report has been passed by the Executive Council, the Policy will be presented at the Bonaire legislative council for approval. In a next step the SME Policy will be publicly available and widely distributed among stakeholders who will also be involved in its implementation.