The Road to GES2019 Caribbean opens with speakers Margaret Hawthorne, Pete Hoekstra, Guido Landheer, Evelyn Wever-Croes and Eugene Rhuggenaath

This Thursday, March 14th the unique event ‘The Road to GES2019 Caribbean’ started in Willemstad, Curaçao. During this conference different government leaders, ambassadors, influencers and entrepreneurs gather for two days of thematic sessions and networking. This event is organized in anticipation of the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) that takes place in The Hague on June 4-5.

The opening ceremony was followed by talks on innovation in the Caribbean and cooperation between the Kingdom and the United States. Speakers included the American Consul General to Curaçao Margaret Hawthorne, Curaçao Prime Minister Eugene Ruggenaath, American Ambassador to the Netherlands Pete Hoekstra and Prime Minister Evelyn Wever-Croes of Aruba.

Session Sustainable Tourism

The thematic session on Sustainable Tourism started with an introduction by Arno Boersma and Aleksandra Dragozet from Sea Going Green. Arno Boersma mentioned that the tourism sector is a sector that can make a real impact, as it touches all of the SDGs. "Small island states can be inspiring examples for the world on how to manage tourism sustainably."

During the sustainable tourism session, entrepreneur Jay Collado launched his company. Jay particpated in Present Your Startup Caribbean 2018 and raised more than 20 million dollar with private investors after they saw pitching on stage and in the media. Together with his investors he bought thi week the first 12 floating boats completly sustainable with solar energy (zero-emission). Four boats are going to be in use by the end of this year. The other boats will follow next year.

Session Future of Work

During the session themed Future of Work the attendees discussed what labor and work in the Caribbean will look like in the future. Adric Walter hosted Mastermind Talk. "Nowadays we can see that people can work from anywhere in the world being digital nomads and this can have it's advantages and very specific disadvantages like for example; there is nothing that can compete with that synergetic mastermind that is only possible when a group is working together towards a goal".


After the main program a Hackathon kicked off with pioneers from all over the Caribbean. During the two days of the conference these pioneers will look for different solutions for the benefit of Curaçao. On Friday, March 15th the winning team will be announced during a standing dinner at the Maritime Museum. The winner of the hackathon will win a 1000 US Dollars powered by C3.

Semi-Finals Present Your Startup

After the opening the main stage was the scene of the semi-finals of the program Present Your Startup in which five startups pitched their ideas. Five startups are selected to compete in the finals on Friday March 15th in the evening at Villa Maria. In the past few days they have participated in a training program in which they improved their business models. The startups in the program come from all over the Caribbean, the United States and The Netherlands.

Eva Kleingeld