Starting a business is not an easy task, especially if you want to do it abroad. However, it can be a great opportunity to generate foreign currency revenues and to experience a different lifestyle, if you are thinking about migrating as well.

Sint Maarten is a great destination for both these reasons, but before jumping into this new adventure, make sure you have all planned out the details – from the initial investment amount, type of business, local market conditions to the psychological factors of moving to a new country. That being said, here are a few suggestions to help you out with the preparation for your new venture.

1. Why St. Maarten?
St. Maarten is a country part of the Netherlands Kingdom. The island has more than 100 nationalities speaking mainly English and French, however, there is a wide Spanish speaking population. It also offers a diverse range of benefits for investors such as:
– Airport and Cruise Port with highly developed infrastructure
– Revenues in dollars and euros currency
– No obligation to have a local partner to open a business
– More than 2.5 millions of tourists
– Duty free zone for importation and exportation
– Great quality of life
– Economic stability

For a successful business, these are key factors to look for.

2. What type of business do you want to open?
Sticking with what you know is the best advice to give to entrepreneurs. Managing a business that relates to your field of study or professional experience generally has better chances of becoming a success, generating profits, and realizing on your investment.
Nonetheless, it is not impossible to analyze the feasibility of a project outside of this scope. If you don’t have the know-how, at BrightPath we can give you the necessary guidance on how to make the best out of the new opportunity.

Take away: Make sure you decide if you want to open a hair salon, a restaurant or a cake shop. Have more than one option to base your decision on, especially when considering your background and knowledge.

3. How much money do you have to invest?
Each type of business has its own investment starting point. First, you need to know how much you are willing to invest in your new venture in order to then choose the type of business to invest in.

Usually at BrightPath, we deal with two types of investors: (1) the ones who have capital resources readily available, and (2) others who are in the process of gathering start-up capital, whether it’s by selling the assets or saving more over a period of time to reach their goal.

Either way, we suggest to not invest all of your financial resources! It’s important to consider that before your company starts to operate, you will have pre-operating expenses, such as:
• Travel costs to visit the country
• Translation and legalization of documents
• Local consulting firm fees
• Licenses and permits fees
• Inventory
• Equipment
• Commercial and residential real estate rental
• Transportation of personal belongings

Another reason to save part of your resources is related to the risks of your business. It is vital to have a backup fund in case the cash flow is not as good as planned.

It might seem complicate but don’t worry, BrightPath has the knowledge guide you in each step of your investment.

Take away: Save part of your resources for initial costs and backup funding for the business.

4. When do you want your business to be operating?
Once you know the type of business you want to open, as well as gathered the capital resources, it is essential to get practical and the first step is to know your timeline.
Without this information, your plan has little practical use and could be unnecessarily forgotten or postponed. Also, this information is important because you will know when to start the paperwork. For example, if you want to open a business in famous tourist destination, you would want your business to be up and running when the peak tourism season starts, right? To accomplish that you have to take into account the estimated time that your business documentation, licensing, and construction will be ready.
Take away: Paperwork takes time, so it needs to be considered to define your operating start date.

5. What do you know about St. Maarten?
This is a crucial point. If you can, it would be great to visit St. Maarten in order to make an informed decision, whether alone or, with the participation of a key-decision maker.
Face this trip as a necessary business trip but, of course, don’t forget to enjoy the amenities the country offers, such as great beaches, restaurants and outdoor activities.

Once in the country, try to get useful information for your business through a meeting with the professional team at BrightPath to discuss:
• The feasibility of your business in the local market
• Market benefits
• Potential risks
• Competitors
• Minimum investment capital requirement based on the type of business you desire
• Commercial real estate rental or purchase
• Logistics
• Business licensing and banking requirements

And since you will go around a bit to get to know the place, make sure to gather information relevant to your personal lifestyle and needs, such as:
• School for kids: public, private, monthly fee, location
• Important areas: financial zone, commercial zone, residential hot spots
• Cost of living: supermarkets, gas, utilities, rent, leisure
• What to do: concerts, cultural events, clubs, restaurants, sports, beaches
Take away: To have peace of mind in your decision, know as much as you can about your new country of investment.

BONUS QUESTION: Is your family prepared for this big change?
This topic may not apply to all, but could often be the most important one, because if your loved ones don’t adapt to the new environment, your whole investment could be jeopardized. The immigration process and your family’s transition to the new lifestyle is crucial to your general well-being, and as such, the success of you investment.

The best way to ease this transition is in good preparation and planning. It is important to involve loved-ones in the process from the beginning, and in so doing, they will feel part of this new chapter and likely add support to make your venture a successful one.
Inclusion brings union and a new life brings new possibilities. Once everybody is on board, it is much easier to make the right decisions.

Take away: involving your family throughout the whole process, is important to have a smooth adaptation.

BrightPath is a firm focused on attracting sustainable investments to St. Maarten. We can help you with as suite of corporate services such as business incorporation, licensing, banking services, architectural design and construction, and immigration services.


Visit our website or give us a call at +1 (721) 545-6000. You can also send us an email to request more information.

A new and exciting life is ahead of you, so enjoy the ride.

BrightPath team
+1 721 545 6000