Saturday, December 15, 2012

Delivery of MarkStra Solutions

Our solutions are delivered in a variety of ways, convenient for our clients whatever their needs or ROI constraints or wherever their geographical location.

  • Outsourced Chief Business Development or Chief Marketing Officer
  • In-person consultations
  • Teleconsulting
  • Tailored consultation and professional services
  • Industry reports
  • Articles
  • Training and Keynote speeches

Outsourced Chief Marketing or Chief Business Development Officer

Many businesses or not-for-profit organizations in small Caribbean states cannot afford or do not have the need for a full-time C-level Chief Business Development or Marketing Officer. Yet, they need a C-level expert to help them develop and guide implementation of marketing. Tamira La Cruz can be your part-time Chief Business Development or Marketing Officer.
Includes weekly calls to monitor progress on business development targets and activities. Typically Tamira La Cruz would work with you before in a tailored consultation engagement to research, analyze or establish growth opportunities, locally, regionally or globally.  

In-person consultations
Whether for yourself or your management team, MarkStra Caribbean can facilitate in-person consultations on general business, business development, market research, corporate strategy, marketing, innovation, growth or competitiveness.

CEO’s of organizations in small states sometimes do not have a trusted and experienced person to share and discuss business development, growth, strategy or marketing ideas with or to get fresh ideas from. Tamira La Cruz, CEO of MarkStra Caribbean can be that person for you. Please use the contact form to let MarkStra know the topics you would like to discuss.

Tailored consultation and professional services

Themes typically include market research and strategy development in the areas of revenue, profit, sales, market share, market opportunity, market potential, sales forecasts, core values, brand positioning, competitors, innovation, new product, product testing, product portfolio, business planning, online (affiliate) marketing.

Industry reports
MarkStra Caribbean is the publisher of the bi-annual ‘Reaching Curacao’ market research report on demographics, lifestyle, spending, media and lifestyles, bought by over 30 local and global companies and used in their advertising and marketing planning.
MarkStra Caribbean can also produce reports for your industry or professional group to help it to more effectively serve the local or international market.

MarkStra Caribbean’s Blog Caribbean Research and Strategy covers the basics of market research, strategy, marketing, competitiveness, growth and business development, as well as articles and presentations on economic growth.

Training and Keynote speeches

Speaking to marketers on Return on Marketing Investment

About MarkStra


Over the past 17 years MarkStra Caribbean, based in Curacao, has helped more than 150 global and local organizations to establish maintain or grow their revenue, market share, profit or following, particularly those operating in small Caribbean states  like Curacao.
Our practical market research and strategy solutions and implementations are:

  • tailored to the challenges of Caribbean small states: small scale, limited resources and close relationships
  • based in market research, strong analysis, strategy and implementation
  • return-oriented
  • conceived by multicultural teams with an international outlook

Companies come to MarkStra Caribbean for:

  • the business development expertise they cannot find in general management consulting firms
  • the strategic approach they cannot find from advertising agencies and like agencies
  • when  a thorough understanding of the Caribbean and the nuances within the region is required.

MarkStra works with business partners across the region and elsewhere, depending on the market being served and specific expertise required.

Solutions are delivered as an outsourced or interim Chief Marketing or Chief Business Development Officer, through in-person consultations, tele-consulting, tailored consulting engagements, industry reports, workshops and speeches, and articles.

MarkStra Research Strategy Implementation and Evaluation

Getting a feel for fieldwork in Haiti (before the 2010 earthquake)

Our areas of expertise are:

Research and Analysis
MarkStra Caribbean’s expertise is desk research, moderating focus groups and other qualitative research, and B2B market research. However, MarkStra does all kinds of market research.
Tamira La Cruz, CEO of MarkStra Caribbean’s strength lays in practical but thorough analysis, keeping in mind the broader organizational and ROI objectives.

MarkStra’s added value lies in adapting common strategy and growth models to the situation of Caribbean small states. MarkStra Caribbean can help you with feasibility studies, as well as business, growth, innovation, export and marketing strategy and plans.

Many businesses and not-for-profit organizations in small states cannot afford or do not have the need for a full-time C-level Chief Business Development or Marketing Officer. Yet, they need a C-Level expert to compete effectively against global competitors. Tamira La Cruz can be the part-time outsourced Chief Business Development or Marketing Officer for your organization.

Evaluation, auditing, monitoring
Let MarkStra Caribbean help you measure your progress in achieving your projected revenue, sales, profit, business development or other marketing objective in the areas of: 
  • Strategy and marketing implementation
  • Customer service
  • Enterprise, Business and Economic Development programs funded by local or multilateral organizations  

Solutions: not-for-profit

Heritage, Culture and Sports
Higher education
Enterprise development
Business and professional associations

Is your organization functioning at the intersection of where private and public enterprise meet,
serving a public necessity, but with the need to be more business and market oriented?
If you need assistance, Tamira La Cruz, CEO of MarkStra can help.
MarkStra keeps in mind that both its solutions and their implementation should consider the limited resources, close relationships and ROI challenges in small states, certainly when it comes to heritage and culture organizations, business and professional associations and start-up enterprises. We all KNOW they are important to our communities. The challenge is to support them in a sustainable way.

MarkStra Caribbean has significant expertise in the following areas:

Enterprise development

Consulting projects have included:

  •      training for starting entrepreneurs on business planning, marketing, importing, exporting, franchising
  •     developing business plans for hotels, car rentals, restaurants, retail stores, and others
  •     developing and implementing innovation in emerging industries, recycling and renewable energy

Business and professional associations

As board member and president of organizations such as the Curacao Chamber of Commerce & Industry, the Curacao Knowledge Platform, the Curacao chapter of the international Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association Inernational (HSMAI), and others, Tamira La Cruz has led or been involved in developing and implementing strategy for business and professional associations in Curacao and the Caribbean. MarkStra Caribbean has  developed several proposals for trade/industry groups to promote their industry globally.

Presiding over HSMAI's 2011 Retreat in Christoffel National Park

Higher education 

Consulting projects have included:
  • developing vision and strategy for institution
  • developing marketing plan
  • self-evaluations
  • advisor to medical school

Heritage, Culture and Sports

Consulting projects have included:
  • sponsorship plan and marketing workshops for Netherlands Antilles Olympic Committee and sports federations
  •  developing innovative revenue streams for an art center
  • business and marketing workshops for artists 
  • marketing plans for national parks and monuments
  • being an amateur painter and outdoor enthusiast ourselves helps

    The first Xmas Market at Landhuis Bloemhof

Solutions: Industries

1,500 sailing yachts for charter in St. Maarten

Banking and Finance
Tourism and Real Estate
Pharmaceutics and Health Care
Alcoholic Beverages
Waste Management and Recycling

Are you a business looking to establish or expand its presence structurally in a Caribbean market, such as Curacao?
MarkStra can help with market research, growth strategy, implementation and evaluation that keep in mind that both our solutions and their implementation should consider the limited resources, close relationships and ROI challenges in small states.

Banking and finance
Expertise includes market research and strategy related to:
  • personal mortgages and loans
  • transactional services
  • micro-enterprise and small business
  • large business accounts
  • customer core values
  • branding, positioning, advertising, direct mail
  • growth strategies
  • customer care and satisfaction
  • new products
  • partnerships
  • in Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, St. Maarten and Suriname

Tamira La Cruz has also analyzed the Fund Services Administration Industry in the Caribbean and developed marketing strategy for the Dutch Caribbean SecuritiesExchange.

Tourism and real estate
Expertise includes:
  • developing business plans for hotels, residential and commercial real estate, as well as small businesses such as car rentals, restaurants, and attractions targeted to tourists
  • evaluation of the Curacao Marketing Plan of the Curacao Tourism Board
  • presiding over Curacao Chapter of Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI)

Pharmaceutics and health care
Expertise includes:
  • mapping Caribbean health care markets
  • feasibility studies for medical supplies and services
  • forecasting Caribbean pharmaceutics market potential
  • developing medical tourism concepts
  • pharmaceutics market research among Caribbean specialists, doctors and nurses
  • particularly in Aruba, Curacao, Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago, but also in the Eastern Caribbean

One of the many brands we have enjoyed contributing to
with brand research and strategy
Alcoholic Beverages
Expertise includes:
  • brand market research and strategy development for global and local beer, stout, liqueur, and spirits brands
  • product portfolio analysis
  • advertising testing
  • new product concept research
  • in Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, Bahamas, Bermuda, Trinidad & Tobago and St. Vincent

Waste management and recycling
Expertise includes:
  • interim marketing management waste management company
  • providing structure to the customer-contact departments of waste management company
  • guiding sales force
  • developing blue print for marketing plan
  • developing business plans for recycling companies in Curacao and other countries

Solutions: Economic Growth

Is it your job to achieve growth in your country’s economy or a particular industry, in an increasingly competitive world?
With the rise of the relatively low income large BRIC countries, our Caribbean small states can find ourselves in a squeeze. We must take an innovative approach to economic growth that is precise, defined and tailored to the resources of Caribbean small states.

As business strategists MarkStra’s job is to find avenues for growth mostly given the organization’s strengths and weaknesses, and to make those as concrete and simple as to implement as possible. Tamira La Cruz, CEO of MarkStra Caribbean, takes the same approach to recommending growth strategies for small economies and the industries within them. After all,   most Caribbean economies are smaller than a Fortune 500 company. We emphasize the micro- and meso-economic level, where money is made.

These articles best show our approach to economic development
  • Growing the Curacao economy by 1%, by bringing in 10 projects (including up-selling) that each add an additional USD 3 million in value
  • Living in Mud Huts, in which, following Michael Porter, Tamira La Cruz argues that competitiveness is not only related to cost-of-input
  • Remarks at the Curacao InnovationEvent 2012, in which Tamira La Cruz argues that since ‘clusters’ are important, countries must also promote the existing (locally owned) firms operating in those areas to attract FDI in medical tourism, and knowledge services, etc.
  • Take-aways from IMC USA’s Grow! Business Development Seminar, adapted for consultants in small states
  • Find your innovation and monetize it! Part 1   Because of limited resources and ROI challenges, small state firms are forced to find solutions that are more efficient than elsewhere. These are innovations. How do you capitalize on them?
  • Find your innovation and monetize it! Part 2 Attractive opportunities for Caribbean small state businesses and entrepreneurs also lie in finding innovative product or services that fit other markets that are similar your Caribbean market
  • Companies are looking for more thantechnology, they are looking for answers.

Favorite themes
Knowledge Innovations
Export of Professional Services
Global Competitiveness
Doing Business
Business and Professional Associations
Export Development
Online (Affiliate) Marketing
Foreign Direct Investment

MarkStra Qualifications

Blue Ocean

Tamira La Cruz, MBA, CEO, is an expert in helping organizations to establish, maintain or grow their revenue, market share, profit or following, particularly in small Caribbean states, like Curacao.

Key facts


Boston University, BSBA
Post-graduate: Certified Focus Group Moderator, Interim Management, Corporate Governance, Labor Law,  Income Tax Law, Branding, Online Branding, Affiliate (online) Marketing, and Return on Marketing Investment

Favorite thought leaders

Native Papiamentu, near-native English, Dutch and Spanish, good French, conversant Portuguese

 Aruba, Bahamas, Bermuda, Bonaire, Curacao, Haiti,  Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, St. Lucia, St. Maarten, St. Vincent, Suriname, Belgium, Chile, Guatemala, Colombia

Boston, Philadelphia, Santiago de Chile, Barcelona, Brussels, Madrid, London, Curacao

Board member Curacao Chamber of commerce and Industry,
member the Curacao Knowledge Platform,  member Curacao Hotel and Tourism Association, Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association Inc.
continuing academic interest in small state innovations and growth and regular publications on these topics.


Roamed Europe, sailed the Caribbean, summitted the Kilimanjaro

With Rotary District Governor as Chair
of District Conference Organizing Committee

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Check out my article in the Jan2013 edition of Services Scoop

Services Scoop January 2013 is a publication of the Caribbean Network of Service Coalitions.

I was invited to submit an article on Capitalizing on Innovation. It's an excerpt of a paper I presented at the SALISES Conference in Trinidad in 2010. 

In that paper I argue that because small states always have a challenge in achieving an acceptable ROI, our solutions are inherently efficient. Efficiency is always a good thing. We can therefore sell our innovation to organizations in other small states or even larges states.

In addition, there are large markets with conditions similar to ours where our solutions are quite suitable. These include markets with tropical climates, important coastal areas, the same ethnicity and race, largely the same sources of income (tourism).

Check out my article on page 68. If nothing else,it has been very nicely laid out.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Take Aways from the IMCUSA 2012 Grow Conference, adapted for consultants in small states

In October 2012, I attended the excellent IMCUSA Grow Conference in Orlando, addressing business development for management consultants. The following reflects some important take-aways and translates these to the situation of consultants in small states.

Different delivery methods at different price points. The output of consultants is traditionally a document of some kind. However, our expertise can also be transferred through books, speeches, webinars, telephone consultations, etc. Besides providing supplemental income, these methods typically require a smaller investment by the client. In small states, where achieving acceptable ROI on consultants’ services is a challenge for our clients, and regional consultants face stiff competition from foreign consultants, the possibility of making a smaller investment (initially) is even more crucial in getting a foot in the door. We can also buy or sell insights from other consultants through these smaller investments, enhancing quality and collaboration in the region.

Expertise through thought leadership. There is nothing that establishes a consultant’s value more than thought leadership. This is typically achieved through writing, speaking and engaging in discussion. The temptation exists to speak or write on a variety of issues. However, to be a credible thought leader, one must have in-depth knowledge of an issue. So, specialize!

Specialize and highlight. As consultants in small states we are likely to serve ALL industries and reply to RFP’s as long as the engagement seems somewhat financially attractive. That is our reality. However, we can also consciously choose to only highlight and actively pursue those engagements which we most like, are best at or which are more profitable. Even rejected proposals can be presented to other clients. If the issue is sensitive, we can enlist colleagues in other markets to ‘sell’ a successful solution or rejected proposal in their market. That’s the bright side of the relative ‘isolation’ of small states. In addition, because our countries are all small states with similar challenges, the solutions or proposals regional consultants develop are more likely to be readily transferrable to other small states than a solution developed in and for a large market by consultants whose solutions are instinctively based on the situation in large markets. That is the competitive advantage of Caribbean consultants, which together we must make tangible, even when it is by using other consultants’ work as examples.

Reward Referrals and refer to be rewarded. Management consultants typically don’t promote their services through advertising. However, our marketing (including networking, speaking, publishing, certifications etc.) is an investment which must be recuperated or rewarded. Paying and expecting a referral fee (not an illegal kickback) also opens the door to more cooperation among regional consultants. Knowing that there is a reward, those whose strength lies in attracting business will happily attract and refer business, which they themselves are not particularly interested in doing, to others. Those whose strength is ‘high expertise’ will be able to concentrate on just that, producing a better quality output, which benefits all consultants in the region.

Provide proof that you are an expert advisor. Many of us come to the consulting profession as technical experts, often having worked before on the client side. However, to have clients ask for, accept and implement our advice, we need to be expert advisors. So, let’s get our Certified Management Consultant Certificates. While going through the steps, we learn how to be expert advisors and reduce costly learning by trial & error, to the benefit of our clients and ourselves. I will.

Highlight benefits rather than features. As professionals we are proud of our knowledge and expertise and are convinced that that is the reason our services are enlisted. However, we should design and populate our websites, blogs, linked-in profiles, comments to ‘sell’ and to highlight the added value, in other words, the ultimate benefit that we bring to our client, rather than our expertise. As an example: “innovation’ is now popular among business consultants. However, no business person has ‘innovation’ as a final goal. What they would like is to increase sales, lower cost and increase profitability. That can certainly be achieved through innovation. In the Caribbean, where budgets are small, reiterating that we can help clients achieve their ultimate goal is crucial.

For many reasons competing against foreign consultants will always be a challenge for Caribbean consultants. We will not succeed by repeating ‘traditional’ methods in attracting or executing consulting engagements. We must adapt these to fit our small state environment, in the process contributing our own ‘innovation’ to the field.  If nothing else, these innovations will show the true comparative advantage of regional consultants: that we innately understand the challenges clients in small markets face and instinctively know how to solve them without breaking the bank.

This article appeared first in part in the November 2012 edition of the newsletter of the Caribbean Institute of Certified Management Consultants. 

Tamira La Cruz, MBA, CEO of MarkStra Caribbean (1995), specializes in helping organizations in small states to establish, maintain or grow their revenue, profit or following. The practical solutions are based in research, strong analysis and strategy, as well as 25 years of work experience in Caribbean small states. Based in Curacao, she is a graduate from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania (MBA) and Boston University (BSBA). She publishes regularly on small state innovations and growth. Contact via, or

This article appeared first in part in the November 2012 edition of the newsletter of the Caribbean Institute of Certified Management Consultants. 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Growing Curacao’s Economy by 1%: 10 for 50 (10 initiatives for 50 million ANG’s)

‘Complexity is your enemy.
Any fool can make something complicated.
It is hard to make something simple.’
Richard Branson

I.                    Introduction
On the whole, Curacao’s GDP has grown at rates that are significantly below the regional or world average over the past 10-18 years.[1] Often when speaking about possible avenues for economic growth in Curacao, we start with macro-economic tenets, broad visions and goals. All too often that’s also where we stop. Unfortunately that is not where money is made, for a country or its people. Money is made at the micro-economic  level.
As a business strategist it is my job to find avenues for growth given the organization’s strengths and weaknesses, and to make those as concrete and simple as possible for those in the organization to understand and implement. I set out to do the same with the Curacao economy, an organization smaller than a Fortune 500 company. The following is what I came up with. Basically, the argument is that if we can find 10 projects to each produce ANG 5 million a year extra added value (export) , we will achieve a growth of 1% above the ‘normal’ average.

II.                 Assumptions
a.       Curacao’s GDP is ANG 5.5 billion (in Dutch: miljard), a little over USD 3 billion
b.      To grow 1% over and above the average 0.6%[2] that the Curacao economy has grown over the past 10-18 years, we need ANG 55 million in extra economic activity every year.
c.       The tourism multiplier is 1.6.[3] For simplicity, we assume that the overall multiplier for the Curacao economy is 1.8. So, we need about ANG 30 million in new economic activity every year to grow the GDP with 1%.[4]
d.      Let’s say that, all else equal, we are totally safe with 10 new initiatives/year with ANG 5 million (USD 3 million) each in new added value (i.e. export), for a total of ANG 50 million (USD 30 million) extra added value annually.
e.      Added value basically means that a company’s operating expense, interest and profit are left or paid in Curacao (and, in this exercise, paid for by foreigners). These would include payment for wages, utility, insurance, taxes, rent, bank interest, dividend, etc.
f.        Imports enter the equation as a ‘negative’ factor. For every extra dollar in import the required extra export increases by the same dollar. So it is best to concentrate on services (which require no import) and on ventures where the imports have already taken place. For instance, a hotel has already been built with imported raw material. Maximizing its direct revenue or any other revenue it may spur, entails little import or capital outflow.

III.               The question is:
1.       Which of the FDI leads generated over the past 2 years by the Ministry of Economic Affairs, the Ministry of General Affairs, the Curacao Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Curacao Airport Holding, the Curacao Tourism Bureau, etc. are likely to generate ANG 5 million per annum or more from foreign sources?
2.       Which local companies/sectors can we help generate an extra ANG 5 million/annum or more in export added value.
3.       What, if any, are the obstacles to making either of these a reality. What is needed to remove any obstacles?
We just need 10!
IV.               Conditions
1.      All ideas for initiatives must fit within the general vision of tourism, hub, business and international financial services for growth. Ideas for hub and international financial services are not included since the author is unfamiliar with their business models.
2.      Note that if we just get more businesses catering to locals, regardless of how innovative they may be, money just changes hands locally. There is no influx of more money, so the economy will grow only minimally.

V.                 What produces ANG 5 million (USD 3 million) in added value?
1.       150 foreign students each spending USD20.000/year on Curacao. Two semesters at a local medical school cost at least USD 11,000 in tuition alone. According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, in 2009 St. George’s Medical School in Grenada graduated 640, while Ross University School of Medicine in Dominica graduated 754 medical students.[5] What do we need to do? We need to sign a letter to ‘recognize’ that these schools exist in Curacao. We do not need to accredit them. We just need to recognize that they exist, much in the same way a notary attests to the existence of many other things. This is needed so that students can get student loans from their respective governments.
2.       200 cosmetic surgeries at USD15.000/patient. A friend spent USD 30.000 in Colombia on surgery.[6] Did you know that U.S. surgeons take U.S. patients to Costa Rica for surgery in operating theatres set up in luxury hotels?[7] We must amend laws to make this possible and train nurses to specifically nurse clients, who are likely to pay for the treatment themselves, after elective surgery.
3.       40 extra tickets/day sold by local airlines to foreign visitors for USD200/ticket.
4.       In 2011, visitors spent close to 3.2 million nights in Curacao. If each left 1 dollar more per night, e.g. as a tip for the chambermaid, we would have reached the goal of USD 3 million. We must incentivize visitors to leave that extra tip for the chambermaid and train the chambermaids to suggest it. I still have a picture of the Martha’s Vineyard chambermaid, the first ‘suggestion’ I received almost 30 years ago while in college.
5.       Less than USD10 more spent (preferably in services) by each of the 400.000 stay-over tourists on Curacao. That is one extra cocktail. We must train waiters to up-sell. In Barbados, the National Institute for Service Excellence provides these types of training.
6.       The same cocktail for each of the 400.000 cruise tourists, please.
7.       In the United States, the guideline for tipping has long been between 12% and 18%. If we raise our tipping suggestion from 10%, we will make between 20% and 80% more on tips.
8.       5,000 visitors leaving USD600 net at festivals and carnivals every year. In 2011, 4,930 visitors came to the Curacao North Sea Jazz Festival. They left USD1,717 (gross) per person.
9.       One in eight (12%) visitors, 100.000 total, stay-over or cruise, buying one or more locally made pieces of art or craft for USD 30 total, like a Chichi. We must help the sector produce and merchandize their goods. The same holds true for beach and ‘in-city’[8] massages with the healing power of laraha and datu.
10.   250 extra conference visitors per month, each leaving USD 1,000 on Curacao. Dr. Myles Monroe, CEO of Bahamas Faith Ministries International Fellowship, who landed on Curacao in his private jet for some motivational workshops some years ago, has made a business out of getting faith in the Bahamas, with ongoing conferences for every demographic. CTB has a department to attract MICE. Many of the 20.000 local business owners and professionals, who are agents or members of global organizations, can also make a conscious effort to get their meetings and conferences to Curacao.
11.   15 extra ship repair jobs at USD 300.000 (parts are imported). I do not know the average revenue of a ship repair.
12.   15 extra houses of USD 350.000 sold to foreigners (much of the construction material is imported). We must adjust the regulations to enable these foreigners to spend more than 6 months on the island without having to leave and ask for a new permit. Wouldn’t we rather have the ‘penshonado types’ stay 12 months?
13.   100 consultants getting foreign assignments for USD 30.000 per year. Provide easy e-zone status so they bring the earnings home. Disclosure: I am a local consultant. I have the required industry knowledge.
14.   Waste cardboard sells for about USD 100 per ton.[9] If we ship 30.000 tons/year we get USD 3million in foreign revenues. Elsewhere, cardboard is being stolen! If we don’t have enough we can also sell mixed waste glass for USD30 per ton or add Bonaire and Aruba’s waste.
15.   Give ANG 5million in jobs to foreign consultants, medical clinics (medische uitzendingen), etc., and the required added value rises by the same amount. We must make a conscious effort to reduce these numbers, especially when foreign cooperation (SEI) is winding down. The donor money we were getting ads to our GDP and reduces the donor’s. It is only fair that they donor would want to get some of it back. But, if the funder is local, a conscious effort should be made to keep the funds locally, and in the process, increase local expertise.
16.   If 5,000 immigrant workers each send ANG 250/month home, the required number rises with ANG 15 million! According to the Central Bank of Curacao and St Maarten, transfers out of Curacao due to worker remittances reached ANG 80 million in 2011.[10] When attracting new industries or employees we should focus on those who are most likely to spend their earnings in Curacao rather than send it off-island.

VI.               How can we organize to achieve this?
1.       We must agree that it is easier and cheaper to use existing resources to capacity than to attract new ones. The existing resources have already been sold on Curacao and are invested here. If these (local or foreign) existing resources do well, they will likely attract more. If they do badly, that sends a negative message. One can also argue that existing resources need to be treated as loyal customers.
2.       The Clinton Global Initiative asks each (invited) member – business, government and NGO leaders, Nobel laureates, philanthropists, etc. - to make a concrete commitment to solve a global issue (in one of 12 broad tracks), in a bold innovative way. It’s not a structured program.  Each year the members gather to measure their progress, network, share knowledge and be inspired. Why does this model work? Because, we believe, working with diverse groups with different cultures (and underlying preferred business models) delays decision-making.  Every ‘captain’ would want to lead the group. That does not work. In addition, the yearly event provides a natural moment to measure how effective a ‘captain’ really is.
3.       We could use the same model and start the Curacao Economic Initiative.
4.       Each member chooses 1 commitment a year, and finds or provides funding for its execution.

Critique is welcome. Ideas may be used with appropriate acknowledgement of source.
Tamira La Cruz, MBA, founder and CEO of MarkStra Caribbean, is a consultant on research, corporate strategy, competitiveness and innovation. A graduate from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, she has a continuing interest in small state innovations and growth. She can be contacted via, her blog  Caribbean Research and Strategy  or

[1] Reference to be confirmed
[2] ibid
[3] Ministry of Economic Development
[4] People have argued that the overall multiplier is larger. That would make the task at hand even easier.
[8] New Orleans’s French Quarter is full of foot-massage parlors for feet tired of walking through town
[10] If that money had been spent locally, that would have added 2.6% to our GDP. Other middle income countries such as ours only lose 0.2-0.7% of their GDP to remittances.[10] In 2010, Barbados received 2.99% of its GDP in remittances.