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UPG meets with Minister of TEATT

UPG Chairman Carlvin Brooks and Minister TEATT Stuart Johnson

During his visit to The Netherlands, UPG had the honour of being invited to meet with the Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Traffic & Telecommunication (TEATT), the Honourable Stuart Johnson in The Hague.

UPG’s Chairman, Carlvin Brooks was able to meet the Minister, members of his ministry,
the Honourable Minister Plenipotentiary Jorien Wuite and her Deputy Minister Michael Somersall.

After pleasantries were exchanged, a more in-depth explanation of UPG’s background was given.This included sharing what our main goals were for our target groups as well as our vision for the future. Our main goal is to stimulate Sint Maarteners to return home, where the focus is mainly on students and (young) professionals.

Our platform allows students to gain experience for their dream job during their education. It will give them the opportunity to be involved with the development of Sint Maarten from abroad as well as enable them to use real examples from Sint Maarten during their study.

Students are free to choose what area of Sint Maarten can benefits from their help based on their study. This helps them to relate their study and be up-to-date to the developments of Sint Maarten. Most importantly, it gives them a foundation to return to Sint Maarten after their study and the experience to apply for junior or senior roles and functions.

We target students who have at least 2 years of living experience in the Netherlands. These students have had the time to adjust to the Netherlands and are entering a period in which they start think what the future will be after they are finished with their studies. We want to give these students the opportunity to gain work experience while rounding off their studies.  Our goal is for, when they are finished with their studies they have at least 2 years of work experience in a professional environment.

We target professionals who are no longer studying but are living in The Netherlands. These individuals want to return to Sint Maarten but are uncertain as to how they are to contribute based on their education and work experience.

In UPG, we help to build a network that includes companies on the island who are interested in the professionals’expertise. If they need to first gain work experience in order to make that transition, we create with them a project that allows them to gain the work experience. This way they become the ideal candidate for the type of job they are applying for. 

Entrepreneurial spirit
There is also the case that despite our efforts the student or professional is not able to find a company that has a job that matches with their study or work experience. In those cases, we work together with the student or professional to turn their idea into a company. 


Happy St.Maarten’s Day from UPG!

To the country of St.Maarten and her natives abroad,

Unleashed Potential Group would like to wish you, a fun and safe St.Maarten’s Day celebration. Let us reflect on how far we have come in our journey and the steps needed in our further progression towards a brighter St.Maarten.

At UPG, we believe in change; both on an economic and social level. We see the potential not solely on St.Maarten but in the Dutch Caribbean. UPG focuses all of its efforts towards bringing this vision into fruition. We, as a people have to unite in order to bring St.Maarten to its full potential. As the familiar phrase goes “It takes a village to raise a child”, we believe “It takes the natives to uplift a country”. It is time we take pride in our country once more, it is time we start to uplift our country and bring it to new levels, It’s time we Unleash our Potential.

Happy St.Maarten’s Day!


The UPG Team

First integral UPG team meeting

First integral UPG team meeting - Library of AmsterdamThis past Thursday night, the entire UPG team met in the Public Library of Amsterdam to discuss the developments of UPG and future projects on the horizon.

The library reflects on UPG by the ability tapping into almost unlimited amount of knowledge, available to research and validate findings. Also the students network as well as the executive network of the UPG team members adds to the value.


Streamlining UPG for projects

First integral UPG team meeting - Discussion on internal work togetherThiFirst integral UPG team meeting - Discussion on projectss meeting was focused on streamlining UPG and and to organize end handling efficient and effective project work. Processes and agreements to better the individual, better the areas of specialisms and thus better the output by not “bypassing” in doing it yourself and to build on each other instead.

Efforts are made to effectively work together, to cooperate and build onto each other, to create a role model of “practise what you preach”. We are fresh and we can do this right from the start.

Intern became a small brainstorm session, where may ideas flowed on how optimally start and approach projects in general. We talked about and agreed upon the openness in connections with others on the island.

Connection with St. Maarten

shtaWith great enthusiasm of both parties UPG has been approached last week by the SHTA (the St. Maarten Trade and Hospitality Association), who based, on the great article we had in The Daily Herald, congratulated UPG on the initiative. The Board of Directors and the Executive Director of the SHTA wholeheartedly embraced our initiative. With their great interest in the initiative, our enthusiasm and their willingness to support the group, an initial set of three projects were proposed to work together on.

All three projects have sparked major interest with UPG. Right from the beginning, the first project will be at a strategic level, which requires a wide range of expertise and disciplines that is not exclusive to one department. We name this multi-disciplinary or integral. All departments can contribute this project. This is the speciality of UPG: bundle and manage all their high level and intelligent sources to better the results.

We’re very excited to be embark on this journey with STHA as it is the first step in contributing to the economic, social and environmental change of the island. Further information will follow as we proceed.

Areas of specialism

First integral UPG team meeting - Talking about areas of specialsmTo further streamline the development of UPG, areas of specialisms are defined. Currently there are five namely: Technical, Marketing & Communication, Strategy & Operations, Finance and Customer Management. Each area is able to contribute functionally to a project as well as jointly, which is key for the results: everyone  is able to apply their knowledge and develop their functional and cross-functional skills in a context that is beneficial to the island.

Wrap-up dinner for the evening

First integral UPG team meeting - dinnerIt already becomes a bit of a tradition in UPG: Hard work, fun and talking about exciting topics makes hungry.

After the formal meeting we enjoyed a nice and small homely meal on the top floor of the Public Library of Amsterdam.

It shows the team spirit, enthusiasm, drive and proudness of the wonderful initiative we took, now growing towards a professional and stimulating environment for everyone.

Heck of a bargain

daily-herald-logoA very strong editorial in The Daily Heralds paper of October 28, 2016, referring to the “Unleashed Potential Group ready to better St. Maarten” article in this paper on the same date.

There’s an interesting story in today’s paper about the “Unleashed Potential Group” (UPG). It regards Windward Islands pre- and post-graduates in the Netherlands who want to help with the social-economic development “back home” and gain job experience free of charge.

The move followed a June workshop held by Unified St. Maarten Connection (USC) where some 30 participants showed enthusiasm and a willingness to contribute to their place of origin. Goals include providing incentives for more of the students abroad to return when they complete their education, which is currently a big problem that leads to brain drain.

The idea is for UPG’s multidisciplinary team to work on projects that benefit the community “to train our people and give back.” By removing the money barrier they want to take away all excuses for not seeking their input.

How it is all going to function remains to be seen, but Government and the private sector alike would do well not to ignore this commendable initiative by some of the island’s own “best and brightest.” Involving them more in shaping the future of the community they clearly still care about makes all the sense in the world.

Now here’s one thing the incoming Parliament and Council of Ministers can tackle immediately without worrying about major consequences for an already-tight budget. Sure, a few expenses may ultimately have to be covered, but being able to use the group’s acquired knowledge, skills and expertise at no direct cost seems like a heck of bargain.

Original editorial: https://thedailyherald.sx/editorial/61221-heck-of-a-bargain

New team member UPG – Mechillen Hodge

meeting-albert-mechillen-raimondYesterday, Thursday, October 27, both Albert Brooks and Raimond Nicodem of UPG welcomed a new team member during an exiting and energetic meeting at the Wilskracht Café in Rotterdam.

Mechillen Hodge, specialist in Sales and Customer Services and having a ICT background, currently works as Sales and Customer Services representative at Eneco, and has work experience within a number of interesting companies, like Webhelp, Teleperformance Netherlands, Kadel Advertising & Marketing 2009, Vodafone Maastricht and the Wolfert Dalton High school.

A very warm welcome to the team, Mechillen!