Island Finance Forum 2022

About The Track

Start-up ecosystems are crucial to help position islands in an international context and boost sustainable growth. Start-ups frequently contribute to the development of the islands’ economies by bringing in three key characteristics: connectivity, competitiveness, and training. Thriving start-up ecosystems have the power to transform regions by attracting new investors, creating job opportunities, and presenting innovative solutions for businesses and people.

In recent years, the spread of innovative technology has accelerated, presenting opportunities for island governments. Digital technologies can also boost island countries’ macroeconomic resilience and help achieve the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by increasing access to finance for households and small businesses.

Island Finance Forum 2022

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Island Finance Forum 2023

Island Finance Forum 2022

Meet the Experts

Director Foreign Economic Cooperation, Government of Curaçao

Vanessa Toré

Vanessa Toré was born and raised in Curaçao, Dutch Caribbean. She is the Director of the Foreign Economic Cooperation Division of the Ministry of Economic Development of Curaçao. She was also the acting Secretary General of the Ministry of Economic Development until May 2014. She has held both positions since respectively July and August of 2011. In June 2015 she assumed a new challenge by becoming a Policy Advisor to the Minister of Traffic, Transport and Urban Planning. From November 1994 till June 2011 she worked at the Curaçao Chamber of Commerce and Industry (17 years). She was the manager of the Investment, Trade Promotion and Business Services department where she designed and implemented various programs and services for entrepreneurs, SME’s, Investors and Exporters. She holds an MBA degree and has followed training in Management, International trade and Investment promotion in Geneva, Netherlands, USA and Canada. She participated in various trade related committees internationally and recently she served a two year term on the board of the Caribbean Association of Investment Promotion Agencies (CAIPA). She speaks Papiamentu (mother language), Dutch, English and Spanish fluently and communicates at an intermediate level in Brazilian Portuguese. In her spare time she dedicates time voluntarily to Culture where she is active in the Jazz Scene of Curaçao promoting local Jazz musicians internationally.

Director of Economic Development, Linden Fund USA

Onika Benn

Climate change negotiator, sustainability expert and stakeholder management professional are three of the terms that describe the technical expertise of Ms Onika Stellingburg. She is also, however, is a skilled communicator, analytical and critical thinker, engagement specialist and project management professional. She is known to produce results in all her endeavours, whether developing projects for funding at the community level or negotiating global agreements at the international level.

Onika currently serves as the Director for Economic Development at the Linden Fund USA, a 501 ( c ) registered organization in the United States, and registered in Guyana as the LFU Guyana Inc. In this role, she is driving the local execution of the vision for an economic rebirth of the community of Linden and Region 10 focusing on small business development, corporate social responsibility, workforce development and public-private partnership.

Her execution of this role is ably complemented by her background in multilateral diplomacy, international policy development and stakeholder engagement. She gained these skills while serving as Advisor on issues related to renewable energy, climate change, forests and sustainable development at Guyana’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations and the Group of 77 and China (G77) Coordinator for the Climate Resolution in the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly. Onika has also received training by the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) as a climate change negotiator, further representing AOSIS in global climate meetings through the negotiations of critical sections of the Paris Agreement Rulebook.

Locally, Onika has substantial experience working in both the public and civil society sectors at the senior technical level. She has supported the development of national budgets for Guyana through the mainstreaming of sustainable development initiatives, crafting high-level indicators and working with ministries to aid their internal planning and budgeting processes. She has also lead national consultation processes or the development of the Green State Development Strategy: Vision 2040, a 20-year national development plan for Guyana.

Outside of the professional world, Onika has been very active and continuously engaged. She is one of the first Guyanese selected by the World Economic Forum youth initiative, the Global Shapers Community, working with other local leaders to develop and execute projects to improve the state of their communities. She has also orked along with the Guyana Youth and Environment Network raising over 1 million dollars for projects. Internationally, Onika serves as the Regional Coordinator for the Caribbean within the Royal Commonwealth Society and was previously the Board Member responsible for Communications within the Caribbean Regional Youth Council.

Onika is a true daughter of the soil, gaining an Associate Degree in General Studies at Queens College and her Bachelor of Science Degree in Environmental Studies at the University of Guyana. She was subsequently awarded a Government of Guyana scholarship which facilitated the successful completion of her Master of Science Degree in Sustainable Environmental Management at the Natural Resources Institute of the University of Greenwich in the United Kingdom. Onika spends her leisure time as an adjunct professor at the University of Guyana, lecturing students in Environment and Development and the Fundamentals of Climate Change. She is also very active in her church, serving as a board member of the church and an executive in the youth ministries department.

Founder & CEO, MashupLabs and WorkEvolved

Andrew Button

After a 15-year career working in rural Atlantic Canada with the various government agencies and economic development organizations, Andrew founded Mashup Lab (www.mashuplab.ca); a for-more-than-profit company focused on one thing: unlocking the entrepreneurial potential of remote, rural, and island communities.
Mashup Lab’s activities fall under two primary business units; the Mashup Lab Virtual Business Incubator (mashuplab.ca/virtual-business-incubator) and 2 rural co-working spaces that operate under the brand WorkEvolved (www.WorkEvolved.ca) located in Bridgewater and Liverpool, Nova Scotia, Canada. In just the past 36 months Mashup Lab has successfully scaled its Virtual Business Incubator to over 80 rural, remote, and island communities, working with 200 innovative entrepreneurs to start and grow 130+ businesses in those communities.

Andrew is also co-founder of Awesome South Shore (www.awesomesouthshore.ca), a community-backed micro-fund that has given away over $80,000 in “no-strings-attached” cash to people that want to do something awesome in their community.

Andrew holds an MBA from Saint Mary’s University and a BBA from Acadia University.  Most recently he was selected into the Wallace McCain Institute’s Entrepreneurial Leaders Program as one the Top 30 high-growth potential entrepreneurs in Atlantic Canada.

Andrew is originally from a small rural community on the island of Newfoundland, Canada. He now lives in a small rural community in Nova Scotia, Canada with his wife Eva and their two boys, Josh and James.

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Caribbean Climate-Smart Accelerator


The Accelerator is an entrepreneurial engine that catalyzes and accelerates priority initiatives toward a Climate-Smart Zone, delivering resilience, social development, and broad-based economic growth for the Caribbean.

Our central objective is to help transform the region’s economy by fast-tracking sound public and private investment opportunities that support climate action and economic growth through sustainable development.

Drawing on the deep experience of our nations and institutions, a group of twenty-seven visionary Caribbean Governments, alongside some of the largest global companies, financial institutions, and foundations have joined The Accelerator to make the Caribbean a beacon of climate-smart development.

Invest Puerto Rico


InvestPR works to elevate Puerto Rico as a world-class business destination. The organization is a public-private partnership created by law and incorporated as a 501(c)3 nonprofit. It is governed by an eleven-member Board of Directors appointed by the Governor of Puerto Rico and is comprised of three public sector representatives and eight private sector representatives.

Our mission is to promote Puerto Rico as a competitive investment jurisdiction to attract new business and capital investment to the island. Our vision is to be a transformational and results-oriented accelerator of economic development in Puerto Rico.

InvestPR works with diverse stakeholders to position Puerto Rico as a destination for investment. To this effect, we collaborate with Puerto Rico’s Department of Economic Development and Commerce, government agencies, trade organizations, industry partners, and academia, among others. We help companies get established on the island by assisting them to navigate incentives, connecting them to resources for real estate selection and access to talent, and providing introductions to key stakeholders like sector experts and industry associations.

Caribbean Biodiversity Fund


Established in 2012, the Caribbean Biodiversity Fund (CBF) is the realization of a bold vision to create reliable, long-term funding for conservation and sustainable development in the Caribbean region. The CBF and a group of National Conservation Trust Fund form the Caribbean Sustainable Finance Architecture, which, among other objectives, supports and incentivizes targeted Caribbean nations to meet the goals of the Caribbean Challenge Initiative (CCI), national conservation priorities, and targets under other international and regional commitments.

Meta Carbon


Meta Carbon was founded in 2021 with a mission to use blockchain to bring transparency and fun to carbon offsetting. Our team of carbon, brand, advertising, and blockchain experts can design a creative offsetting strategy that connects your brand with climate change action that authentically resonates with your audience.



BuzzMaker is an award-winning global political and public affairs consultancy. BuzzMaker has operated at the highest levels of campaigns in 30 countries, territories and regions around the world. Our references include several sitting and former Prime Ministers, Presidents, Opposition Leaders and major international brands.

We have deep experience providing government relations, public affairs, public relations, communications and advertising campaigns in dozens of small island developing states. In total, we've worked in 16 islands in the Atlantic and Caribbean and, beyond our island work, we've worked on every continent in the world. If you're looking to advocate for a policy change, advance an issue position, understand and engage with government and civil society stakeholders or win an election, we'd love to help.

Waitt Institute


The Waitt Institute creates and implements sustainable ocean plans in partnership with committed governments and local stakeholders. They currently have partnerships with the governments of the Azores, Barbuda, Bermuda, Curaçao, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Maldives, and Tonga. The Waitt Institute is a founding member and the organizing body of the Blue Prosperity Coalition, a network of NGO's, academic institutions, foundations, and other organizations working together to assist committed governments to protect the environment and improve the economy at the same time.


IFC Media


IFC Media is the leading publishing house for the global wealth management industry. Representing international finance centres across the globe while creating a comprehensive archive of commentary, analysis and technical articles. IFC Media publications include the flagship IFC Review annual, the annual IFC Economic Report and regional reviews such as the Caribbean Review.

Supplementing our hard copy publications is ifcreview.com, which houses the monthly IFC Review E-Journal and the IFC Review digital library and archive. Created as an online resource for wealth management professionals, ifcreview.com combines reference materials with highly technical articles and thought-provoking commentary from industry leading contributors. With continually updated coverage from over 30 international finance centres and daily news bulletins, ifcreview.com is a one-stop-shop for wealth management professionals right across the globe.

IFC Media delivers an integrated knowledge base for the world’s leading IFCs and their wealth management professionals.



Launched in March 2013, @SriEvent has been globally the first and is so far the sole Twitter handle exclusively devoted to telling the stories of events on sustainable finance. @SriEvent stands among the world’s top social media influencers on #sustainablefinance and more broadly sustainability issues, and partners with distinguished organizations/events in the sustainable finance field at international level.

@SriEvent specializes in creating, searching and aggregating, valorizing and promoting Twitter-based contents for events on sustainable finance. #SriAgenda, #Livetweeting, #TwitterChat, #TwitterInterview are the main services provided by @SriEvent in the framework of a modular and customizable offer.

In May 2019 @SriEvent launched its first local chapter @SriEvent_It focused on the Italian landscape. @SriEvent is also present on Linkedin (since 2020) and Instagram (since 2021).

@SriEvent is part of a network of Twitter handles launched by @andytuit, a story-tweeter, blogger, journalist, writer, adjunct professor on sustainable finance, member of Managers For Future Pioneer Team, with 20+ years of experience in the field.

Global Ethical Finance Initiative


The Global Ethical Finance Initiative is a non-profit based in Scotland with a global footprint. We are dedicated to enabling finance to deliver positive change and help achieve the UN's Sustainable Development Goals. Through our www.pathtocop26.com campaign, we are committed to making finance work for COP26, and COP26 work for finance. As a Scottish-based organisation, we are particularly excited to welcome the world to Glasgow this year. Her Majesty’s Government, Scottish Government, the UN and Island Innovation are signatories alongside financial institutions such as Aberdeen Standard Investments, Baillie Gifford, Federated Hermes, ING, NatWest Group and Royal London. Our events have a reputation for driving action through frank, honest debate amongst a global coalition across financial services. Previous keynote addresses have included: Gordon Brown, Dame Susan Rice, Sir Roger Gifford, Achim Steiner, Archbishop Justin Welby and Nicola Sturgeon.

Fintech Finance


At Fintech Finance, we aim to produce the slickest episodes, interviews and event coverage, looking at the complete range of topics within financial services, from branches to blockchain. We travel extensively across borders to find the most interesting and undiscovered features, be it in Manchester or Mongolia. All of our video coverage gets written up into our extensive magazine library that consists of “The Fintech Magazine,” “The Paytech Magazine,” and “The Insurtech Magazine.”
…basically, we travel around the world, chat to the best and brightest people in Fintech while making the most entertaining, exciting and insightful content in the industry!



ImpactAlpha is a subscription-based, multi-channel digital media platform that is redefining business journalism around social and environmental value. Our audience and our beat are “Agents of Impact” working in impact investing, sustainable finance, ESG and entrepreneurship to accelerate a more just, equitable and sustainable world. Subscribe today at impactalpha.com

The Royal Gazette


Founded in 1828, The Royal Gazette is Bermuda’s only daily newspaper, publishing every day except Sunday and public holidays. With daily print readership of more than 30,000 and more than 20,000 daily website users, The Royal Gazette has the deepest and broadest reach of any Bermuda news organisation.
The Royal Gazette also produces Navigate Bermuda, an e-newsletter which tells stories from across the broad tapestry of the island’s rich and varied business landscape, through relevant content that shows how the contrasts in markets are the islands strengths. Navigate Bermuda is a multiplatform commercial content engine across web, social, print and event marketing.

We Are Guernsey


Guernsey Finance is a joint industry and government initiative established to promote Guernsey's financial services sector internationally, under the brand WE ARE GUERNSEY.
The agency conducts marketing, communications and business development on behalf of its members from Guernsey and overseas, with representatives also employed in our key markets globally.
Guernsey is strongly committed to the sustainable finance agenda as both a member of United Nation’s Finance Centres for Sustainability Global Network, the Network for Greening the Financial System and the UN’s Sustainable Insurance Forum. Guernsey Green Finance, established in 2018, is Guernsey’s sustainable finance initiative. Guernsey Green Finance’s objective is to leverage Guernsey’s expertise to help lead in routing capital to climate finance. Our approach has been to develop knowledge, services, tools and products to connect finance professionals to the climate change agenda.

The Fintech Times


The Fintech Times is a bold new media company daring to ask the tough questions about the rise of Fintech. We report on the latest and brightest ideas from the Fintech ecosystem as an authoritative and trusted voice. We focus on high-quality content and distribute it to our network helping our partners to achieve their goals.
Fintech as a definition started trending in recent years as the future of financial services, and of money itself. For those already in the know, this is not news.
Fintech isn’t a business sector; it’s dozens of sectors. Everything from high street banks, investment companies, money transfer, FX, fintech is re-engineering these sectors into their next generation.
And there are new kinds of businesses emerging: crowdfunding, peer2peer platforms, crypto currencies, AI and robo-advice... sectors that are digitally native, they didn’t exist before the internet.
Fintech is about new companies, and new technologies for old companies. It’s about inventors and visionaries, and everyday people creating something new. It’s about your bank, your phone, and your job. And it’s about the future.
Future, before it happens.
For the latest complimentary digital issue of The Fintech Times, please go to: https://thefintechtimes.com/publication

Loop News


Loop News is the number one source for Caribbean-wide, local and global content. We provide the best coverage of news, sports, entertainment, lifestyle, business, community and events.
With our dedicated team of journalists working locally in each market, we strive to bring all the breaking and most up-to-date coverage from a team you can trust.
Loop News launched in April 2014 and quickly grew to have teams in six markets across the Caribbean: Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Haiti, Cayman and St Lucia. And in 2020 we launched the newest website in the Loop family – Loop Caribbean!
We became the Caribbean’s number one news app in the Google Play store and Apple App store within two months of launch, and with more than 1 million downloads, Loop News is still the number 1 today!

Who should attend the Island Finance Forum?

The forum is the first of its kind, and totally free! You can learn from world-leading experts from diverse backgrounds about the latest projects being deployed in island communities, with applications far beyond. Each session will be interactive with opportunities to ask questions and make connections. This year we are expanding to have even more features!

How do I participate?

All are welcome to participate in the forum – feel free to invite friends and colleagues. Participants can take part in every session, or simply choose the sessions most relevant to them and are all encouraged to join the social media conversation.

Will the forum be recorded?

The forum will be broadcast LIVE, taking place over multiple days in various timezones. Ideally, we want guests to join live as there will be opportunities to ask questions and interact with fellow attendees. However, all sessions will be recorded and made available online a few weeks after the forum.

Can I speak or recommend a topic?

We are continually adding more speakers and sessions! If you would like to nominate a speaker click here.

Can I sponsor the event?

We have limited opportunities for sponsors of specific sessions or the event as a whole. If you are interested in sponsoring the event please .

Can we organize a local streaming?

We are exploring opportunities to screen parts of the summits on islands around the world to ensure local communities can take part. If you would like to organize a screening on your island please get in touch.

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