The Chamber of Commerce has been commissioned by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) to develop an entrepreneurship program that supports starting entrepreneurs in developing their business in order to realize a viable business. This program should ensure that entrepreneurs are more aware of what help they need and what skills they need to develop in order to have a viable business. Free help can then be offered in the areas of financing, knowledge, permits and taxes. The skills can be further developed by using vouchers for training, courses and coaching.

One of the main challenges identified by entrepreneurs is the current lack of a cohesive entrepreneurial ecosystem that meets the needs of all aspects of a start-up business. The Center for Entrepreneurship will ensure that attention is paid to the most important aspects during the start-up of the company. A large number of organizations have therefore agreed to cooperate in providing better guidance to entrepreneurs. These include the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO), the Tax and Customs Administration of the Caribbean Netherlands, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the Public Entity of Bonaire, Qredits, the civil-law notaries and the Benelux Office for Intellectual Property.

There is no actual structured entrepreneurial network on Bonaire. The center will therefore create a network in which starting and successful entrepreneurs can meet and help each other through meetings and events. The intention is to make this a structured approach in which the successful entrepreneurs can also take on a “mentor role”. Furthermore, entrepreneurship will be promoted by highlighting successful entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship awards and valuations are a great way to make this known to a wider audience.

If you would like more information about certain steps or if you have questions about your actual business, please get in touch with the staff at BIS; you can contact them at

Frequently asked questions about setting up a business

  • What is the difference between having a hobby and running a business?

    Perhaps you do something now and then that brings in a little money: you might repair a neighbour’s car, fix a garden fence or help paint a house. In such cases, you are not running a business. The event is incidental and even though you are paid, it is still a hobby-like act. However, if you start to repair more cars, produce garden fences en masse or paint several houses a week, you are gradually becoming a business and you need to register your business in the Commercial Register. There is a large grey area between having a hobby and running a business. Please ask at the Chamber of Commerce to find out precisely whether you are running a business or not.

  • I am setting up a company; am I obliged to draw up a business plan?

    Firstly, please let us say that we think it’s fantastic that you are going into business! Opinions differ on the obligation to draw up a business plan. There are plenty of business that are successful in what they do without a business plan. But generally speaking, we strongly recommend putting a good business plan together. It means that you consider all the aspects of running a business, including thorough market research and the feasibility of the plan. There are plenty of businesses that started up too quickly and gradually discovered that they had missed certain matters. As 75% of all business world-wide are forced to close down within 5 years, it is advisable to increase your chances and consider these extremely important elements concerning your future company carefully. Not surprisingly, the Chamber of Commerce advises: yes, always draw up a business plan!

    If you want to take out a loan from a bank, etc. or borrow from an authority like Qredits (micro-financing), you are, in fact, obliged to put together a proper business plan. You won’t get a loan without that business plan.

  • Must I be registered in Bonaire’s population register if I want to set up a company?

    No, not necessarily. If you are a legal entity (e.g. a private limited company or a public limited company), you do not need to be resident of Bonaire. However, if you are opting to be a sole trader (EZ), you must be registered on the island. For more information about the different legal forms, click HERE (link to legal forms), about legal entities, click HERE (link to legal entities) or visit the Chamber of Commerce for more advice.

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