St. Maarten youth entrepreneurs and videographer Julia Grigg at Creative Media Industries Institute at Georgia State University with director and award-winning film-maker Jeasy Segal.
PHILIPSBURG--The winners of the National Youth Pitch Competition Upcycl and young entrepreneur Giomara Olivacce embarked on an enriching journey to Atlanta, Georgia, participating in the inaugural Islandpreneur Summer Entrepreneurial Exchange (ISEE) programme.
Representing Milton Peters College, Isaiah Peterson, Jael Jong a Lock and Kymora Reed, and winner of the International Youth Entrepreneurship Programme (2021) spent a week in Atlanta learning about its entrepreneurial ecosystem, meeting with founders and investors, and exploring the uniqueness of Atlanta through a variety of curated attractions.
Atlanta boasts more than 40 innovation hubs and houses global giants like Delta, Coca-Cola and BitPay. Its rich entrepreneurial environment made it a perfect fit for this exchange, offering participants the chance to glean insights from experts and establish global business strategies, it was stated in a press release on Sunday.
The week-long itinerary, which took place July 10-15, included meetings with Atlanta’s city officials, interactions with the Metro Atlanta Chamber and Invest Atlanta, and visits to major incubators such as ATDC, Atlanta Tech Village and Russel Innovation Center for Entrepreneurship (RICE). As the creative industries are a key opportunity for entrepreneurial growth, the delegation also visited Creative Media Industries Institute and saw a live pitch training with Create X.
Led by Islandpreneur, the delegation included Minister of Finance Ardwell Irion and US Mission to the Dutch Caribbean representatives Kristin Lundberg, Consul in charge of Political, Economic and Public Affairs, and Sady El Hage, Public Affairs Officer. These two partners were instrumental in engaging in strategic conversations focused on collaboration for economic growth and prosperity for St. Maarten, and by extension the Dutch Caribbean, with the city of Atlanta, it was stated in the release.
The US Mission supported the exchange by engaging with subnational diplomacy efforts with the City of Atlanta to arrange most of the meetings and activities. Among other things, the minister of finance was able to have strategic conversations concerning fintech solutions, potential investment opportunities for entrepreneurs, and professional development options with key industry players. Atlanta is known as the global leader in fintech solutions and provides some of the country’s top programmes.
One of the standout moments was the team's engagement with young Atlanta-based entrepreneurs at RICE. The delegation met Mason Wright (16), the owner of a gourmet hot dog enterprise, Zoe Oli (10), Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Beautiful Curly Me, one of RICE’s top earning businesses, and 10-year-old author Bailey Edwards, who emphasised the potency of affirmations for youngsters.
This inaugural exchange programme was an enormous success and made possible by official partners Ministry of Finance, US Consulate General in Curaçao, Computech, St. Maarten Development Fund, TelEm Group and contributors, CIBC FirstCaribbean, BDO and Master Fixers.