Aruba) CaribConnect : new possibilities for your enterprise


From the COSME-program ¹ various initiatives have been developed to interconnect twelve OC (Overseas Countries and Territories /(is)lands and areas overseas) in the Caribbean region , including Bonaire , more intensely  with each other and to increase scale .
One of the initiatives of this program is related to the founding of a platform which can be used by local entrepreneurs to become more visible in the region. The platform operates under the flag of BIDx. For the Caribbean region the name CaribConnect has been chosen . ²

What can you do with CaribConnect?
Every entrepreneur on Bonaire , big or small , can inscribe on the special page of CaribConnect for the island of Bonaire. By doing so ,you  not only enhance your  visibility as an entrepreneur ,as was indicated before, but you can also draw attention to your own enterprise on the other islands as well . The consequence  of such an inscription might result in direct work or a partnership with another business on another island  . Participating from the Caribbean region are six Dutch islands , Aruba, Bonaire , Curaçao, Sint Maarten, Sint Eustatius and Saba, five English islands , British Virgin Islands ,Cayman Islands , Turks – and Caicos islands , Anguilla and Montserrat and one French island ,Sint Barths . So CaribConnect offers a good opportunity to expand  your business.

The website consists of roughly three parts from which the entrepreneur can choose. The first one is about registering your own  enterprise . This makes it possible to attract new customers and /or to enter new markets. Next via the platform you can also look for a coach or mentor to help solve the problems you meet as an entrepreneur and for which you do not have a direct solution . Finally the platform offers the entrepreneur the possibility of attracting investors who can help realize his or her plans. By registering at the CaribConnect -site of BIDx it is possible as an entrepreneur to achieve familiarity. The costs should not be an issue , because there are none. Inscription is free.

Registration of your own enterprise
The extension of the network begins with the registration of your own enterprise .
When you register , you must understand that you have to be as comprehensive as possible when filling in the information form . An inscription is  the digital visiting card of the business also. After all  ,other people in this regional network also see the enterprise and might want to do business.  To enlarge this possibility , it is wise to think carefully in what way you want to create a distinct profile of yourself on this site. Once you have registered , there are several possibilities  available  free of charge. Thus E- learnings and concepts  for business plans are offered in order to change the existing plan or to begin drawing  one up.  Moreover ,  there are also financial templates to be found. Another advantage of registration is that you can immediately start looking for any customers  , business partners or newly conquered markets on the other islands. You can see who else is active and what they are doing. And this is also the possibility to enlarge the network directly.

Finding a coach
After registering the entrepreneur is asked which role he or she would like to perform on the platform. An experienced entrepreneur may choose to coach other whether or not starting entrepreneurs . If this is the case , you can click on the role of mentor/coach . By doing so the website creates the possibility for entrepreneurs to be socially responsible . When you help a start-up to introduce changes or give advice to an existing entrepreneur by  solving a problem he or she has been struggling with , then not only does his or her business improve ,but your own enterprise as well . If things get better for the businesses  in the region, this automatically has an influence on the ins and outs of your own enterprise. In this way you can realize an upward trend on the island which  in the end will bring a change for the better for  the economy as a whole. Just as you can choose to dedicate yourself as a coach and/or mentor , it could also be that you are really in need of a coach /  mentor yourself . In that case the searching entrepreneur can see exactly  who has inscribed as a coach and mentor and so can let the problem be known right there and then. It could just happen that you come directly  into contact with someone  who has more experience in solving the actual problem and who can help the one searching for help . So this is quite handy and  free of all charges.

Finding an investor
What is more fantastic than an investor who knocks on the door of an entrepreneur because he or she accepts the idea of the business with open arms and who sees the good of it and is willing to invest in it.
The entrepreneur involved need not go to the bank for a loan , the money is coming his /her way. Of course this is easier said than done , but that is how the principle of CaribConnect really works. The clearer the entrepreneur draws the profile of himself and of his business , the faster an investor will click-on  in order to get more information. If you have filled in a clear business plan and a good financial foundation  , you make an even better chance. Without correct and well- founded financial information the entrepreneur and his enterprise do not have a chance , even if he or she has the best idea in the world . So be thorough and clear. Do not leave anything to chance  and do not withhold anything  , especially not when you need investments in your own business.

Networks ,networks, networks
The motivation behind the platform and the reason for COSME to approach BIDx was and is the enhancement of the network for the entrepreneurs on the islands. Different researches have shown that the fact that the islands are small scale , is experienced as a big problem. Everyone is fishing in the same pond and the costs of enlargement of the market on  other islands is often (too ) high. This portal makes it possible to explore the other islands from your own island. Then you can act much more goal -oriented afterwards. Which will save a lot of time , energy and money.
The Chamber of Commerce of Bonaire (CofC) would like as many Bonairean businesses as possible to inscribe in order to put Bonaire on the map even better. This island happens to be  ‘ hot’ on the other islands and many entrepreneurs and investors see the possibility of doing business. So please embrace  these chances  with both arms . CaribConnect of BIDx was not developed  for the Caribbean region only , it is a worldwide network of entrepreneurs who have registered themselves . Once on a site, you can see that already many entrepreneurs have found an investor. So there are also possibilities of looking beyond the region and to
make your enterprise more international.

¹ COSME  stands for Caribbean OCT Small and Medium Enterprises and is from the European Union supporting performance program of the tenth European Development Fund. See for more information :


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