Young leaders travel

Turks and Caicos, April 19, 2017 – Providenciales

The presidents of the Providenciales Chamber of Commerce and the Young Corporate Alliance, Kyle Smith and Dominique Rolle, travelled to Eindhoven, the Netherlands on April 10th to April 12th, 2017 to partake in an Incubator Exchange Program facilitated by COSME, the European Union programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs).

A Business Incubator for Providenciales

The Young Corporate Alliance, a not-for-profit support network for local entrepreneurs 18-40 has advocated since its inception in 2015 for a business incubator on the island of Providenciales to provide affordable co-working office and creative innovation space for start-up businesses.  The vision to establish a purpose built facility providing affordable office amenities, business tools and mentorship, financing and angel investment partnerships, networking opportunities and organic cross-industry exchanges was set into motion at Invest Turks and Caicos’Enhancing National Competitiveness Conference on September 1st, 2016.  Whilst addressing the audience of hoteliers, investors, industry leaders, and public servants,YCA team leader Dominique Rolle proposed a public-private partnership to build the incubator in 2017.  The proposal found immediate support from Invest Turks and Caicos, the Centre for Entrepreneurial Development, and private sector partners such as the Digicel Group and Grace Bay Resorts.  A working committee was then formed in late 2016.  That team has to date secured a physical location for the first phase of the incubator and the funds to renovate it.  Having been made aware of this progress, COSME invited the young business leaders to participate in an Incubator Exchange Program in one of the world’s leading capitals for business incubation, technology, and creative start-ups: Eindhoven, the Netherlands.

Incubator Exchange in Eindhoven, the Netherlands

Over the course of three days, Smith and Rolle exchanged incubator business plans, budgets, architectural designs, operational systems, inspirations, and short term and long-term goals with Maarten Hendriks and John Sandiford of the Founded By All Creative Business Hub in Strijp-S, Eindhoven.

Of this exchange, the Chamber of Commerce president Kyle Smith said, “Being guided by the Funded by All team through brainstorming sessions reassured us of our planned approach toward conceptual design of the space and practical operation of the incubator, its phased implementation, and eventual expansion. We intend to develop a state of the art facility equipped with the resources and tools to ensure greater development of local entrepreneurs and their ideas.”

The exchange also provided the Turks and Caicos delegation the opportunity to connect with innovative companies led by young entrepreneurs operating successfully within co-working spaces.  A visit to High Tech Campus Eindhoven, one of the world’s leading locations for high-tech venture development and startup activity paired Smith and Rolle with teams of young designers developing self-driven vehicles, smart underwear, and muscle ultrasound technology.  At Microlab, a co-working building for makers and creators, the TCI team met with its 26-year-old CEO, Luuk Visser who guided a tour of multiple floors of co-working spaces supporting a diverse range of over 100 companies.

Upon returning home to apply the knowledge gained during the exchange, Dominique Rolle said, “It came at the right time. We’re moving strongly through the design phase and from design to construction with a view to complete the first phase of the incubator in 2017.  Our experience in Eindhoven was priceless in its generous provision of information, inspiration, and shared experiences from other young entrepreneurs and incubator founders.  We’re excited to this vision become a reality.”