Entrepreneur (4) Business Magazine Aruba 2017

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ENTRE PRENEUR The Aruba Factor Building with obstacles


Helps Building Aruba


development in Aruba

Building up a solid Sustainable Island


Business Tax

Chamber of Commerce

Legal Steps

another dream comes true

Facts and Figures Q3 2017


for Construction

Six Steps

to Build your Brand

Business Magazine Aruba in Collaboration with the Aruba Chamber of Commerce | Q4 / 2017


Entrepreneur Aruba 2017

Content Freezone

How to Build your International Business

4 Azure Beach Residences


Building with Obstacles 8 Legal steps for Construction in Aruba 12 Freezone; How to build your international business


Helps Building Aruba


12 Business tax environment Improved and Reinvented 14 kooyman helps building Aruba 18 Qredits Another dream comes true


Development in Aruba


20 Condominium development in Aruba 22 Startup Business Forward


The seven laws of entrepreneurial innovation

24 Apps Claim Your Spot in The Mobile App Economy Today

26 Profile Sonja Velthuizen 27 Aruba Chamber of Commerce Facts and Figures Q3 2017 30 Aruba Chamber of Commerce Events DEC - FEB ‘18 32 Speeding up the financing process 34 Building up a solid sustainable Island 34 The seven laws of entrepreneurial innovation 38 SIX STEPS to Build your Brand 41 Column Faundations for live 42 sectors for future successful entrepreneurs

Entrepreneur Aruba 2017



Foundation It goes for every entrepreneur that the quality of the foundation of an enterprise determines whether an enterprise will remain to exist in the long run or not. Using one’s knowledge, qualities, skills and insight in the finances in order to enlarge and to renew the business, one will have to do some thorough research once in a while and occasionally one will have to have oneself be informed how to position the business in the best way or even how to make improvements. That way the foundation as well as the house (company) that has been built will endure through time. The Caribbean version of an old Dutch rhyme about foundation illustrates this principle: Daar was eens een mannetje zonder verstand, Dat bouwde zijn huis op ‘t strand; Het sprak: “O, Heer, geen orkaan, dan gaan we eraan!” Toch kwam er een golf, die zijn huisje bedolf. Dus het huisje verzonk en ‘t mannetje verdronk.


Azure Beach Residences Building with Obstacles


Marnix Stoorvogel Colophon Publisher Conté | Marnix Stoorvogel Authors Patricia Bergwijn Eugene Dirksz Edward Erasmus Brechtje Huiskes Paul Janssen Jeanise Job Ted Johnson Tom Kok Luise van Lieshout Anika Stevens Sonja Velthuizen Amanda Zantal

Another dream comes true Qredits Aruba


Translation: Paulina Craane - Patricia Bergwijn Final editing: Write | Patricia Bergwijn Realisation Conté Distribution Fast Delivery Services N.V. Photography Conté \ ACOC Edition 4 times a year If you would like to advertise or react, please contact the publisher: +599 770 7723 | info@studioconte.nl HVO paper represents woodfree offset paper. This magazine is printed on wood-free paper also called tree-free paper. The raw material used might be, inter alia, rice, straw, bamboo, hemp or cotton.

Facts and Figures Q3 2017 Aruba Chamber of Commerce

The Aruba Factor Entrepreneur Aruba 2017

Text: Paul Janssen | Picture: Azure

Two eight-story towers rise at the foot of Eagle Beach Bay. The luxury condominiums and penthouses, called Azure Beach Residences, are built by the Venezuelan project developer Pering. Sales manager Veronica Gomez and project manager Jorge Nuñez are excited about the result. But they also point out that the construction is not without challenges, and it’s their task to confront the obstacles they are presented with.


total of 98 apartments and 14 townhouses plus a common club house at the J.E. Irausquin Boulevard between Eagle Beach and Palm Beach, that’s what Azure Beach Residences will offer in the near future. According to project manager Jorge Nuñez the first tower will be delivered


this spring. On the completion of the second tower he does not make a statement yet. The apartments and townhouses with a 180-degree view already sell quite well. Prices are in US dollar and they go from 469,000 to over a 1,000,000. Especially Americans and Canadians are interested, according to sales manager Veronica Gomez. They see it as an excellent investment with good rental possibilities - Azure Beach Residences also provides a rental program - and as a paradise on earth to stay permanently when they retire. ‘We expect sales to kick up in Aruba due to the fact that we are blessed with our location out of the Hurricane Belt’, she says. ‘We have calculated that we will receive many potential buyers that have been affected on other islands from the recent hurricane season. Especially with big selling points as the stunning ocean views and the beautiful Eagle Beach Bay in 6

Gomez loves her job. ‘It is interesting to read the market and to listen to people to understand what they are looking for.’ In her native Venezuela, she was an elementary school teacher, yet once on the island she experienced a whole new world. Thanks to the combination of her fluent English and Spanish and the lessons on sales from her mentor, the previous sales manager, she got a taste for the job. ‘I feel privileged and blessed to work on such a great project at a super location.’ Challenges For her it’s part of the package that the construction of the project is no simple matter. ‘It is a challenge to get the materials on the island’, she outlines one of the difficulties. When Pering started in Aruba with developing high-end residences like Oceania and Blue, they were pioneers. Nowadays, the competition with other

Entrepreneur Aruba 2017


Entrepreneur Aruba 2017

project developers is high and that brings forth even more challenges, such as finding specialized workers. ‘That’s why we are careful about indicating the moment everything is ready and available’, says Jorge Nuñez. ‘Mostly because we aim for quality over speed. We started building Azure in March 2015, and we expect to deliver the first phase of construction in the first quarter of 2018, and the structure of the second building by February 2018.’ For Nuñez it’s all about overcoming the obstacles that building on Aruba brings about. Firstly, it is a real task to get all the permits for water, electricity, fire safety, foreign workers, and so on. Basically, getting done all the paperwork takes longer than usual when building in the Caribbean. Everything takes time, and most of it you can’t control. We call it the Aruba Factor.’ Poco a poco ‘Everything goes poco a poco’, Nuñez explains. And if something arrives damaged or broken, it will take a long time to replace it due to the shipping back and forth. In addition, the supply of materials depends on the port. In other words, the logistics in order to build on an island where the main supplies and materials are all imported, do definitely increase the cost of

developing in general. Nevertheless, the potential buyers balance all this as soon as they see the quality of the apartments and the surrounding area. And as developers, that makes all the labor and the investment of 40 million US dollar worthwhile. Since they started working on the island, Gomez and Nuñez are connected to Aruba, to the sea, the views, and the people. Like Gomez, Nuñez grew up in Venezuela. After graduating from civil engineering, he found his way into construction. Between 2005 and 2008 he lived on Aruba as Oceania’s field engineer. When another job opportunity presented itself, he left for Colombia, but when he got the chance to return to Aruba to lead the construction of Azure, he was at the forefront. ‘Life is good here’, he says. ‘The people are never in a hurry. It was really something for me to adapt to the island rhythm workwise.’ However, he does point out that even when stress does build up, the ocean, the peace, the nature, the blues, the breeze, and the sunny days make it all disappear smoothly. Main source of income Fortunately, another project is already in the pipeline, the renovation of 6

Harbor House. This project near the cruise ship dock, once started by another company, has never been completed and has been languishing for more than ten years. ‘It will be very beautiful,’ Gomez says confidently. ‘And it offers apartments that are more affordable, so it’s interesting for the locals too.’ The purpose of the developers is to add benefits to the island by offering diversity in construction and lodging options. ‘We hope locals can acknowledge this and remember that it also yields income’, Gomez says. ‘Tourism is the main source for the island.’ In addition, the landscape is getting better, Nuñez adds. ‘We add value to the environment. A cultivated park is always better than dry land. Our ecosystems are really beautiful, and the high-end architecture adds something to the attractiveness of Aruba. And finally, a project like this brings employment to the island. Not only during construction, but also afterwards.’ It’s clear for Gomez and Nuñez: Azure, like Oceania and Blue Residences, brings beauty and capital to the island. And therefore, projects at this quality level are of major importance for the future of Aruba, according to them.

Entrepreneur Aruba 2017

Facebook makes Stories available for company pages Facebook makes its Stories service available for pages on the network. That said Facebook on Thursday against TechCrunch. The feature must be rolled out to all pages on the network in the coming months, including companies, publishers, athletes and nonprofit organizations. Facebook says the choice has been made based on how Instagram users “embraced” the Stories of Public Figures and Companies. The company expects to capture many images from behind the scenes of companies. Users are going to see the Stories of pages they follow or like in the separate section for Stories on the website and in the app. Page owners can click the “Create Story” button in their mobile app on their page to create a Story.


How many people now use Facebook Stories daily is not known. On Instagram, the function has 250 million daily active users.

Entrepreneur Aruba 2017

Legal steps for Constru Text: Brechtje Huiskes | VanEps Kunneman VanDoorne

If you wish to develop real estate in Aruba, either for business or residential purposes, there are two major legal frameworks you have to take into account. The construction sector is governed by the Construction and Housing Ordinance (“Bouw- en Woningverordening”) and the related Construction and Housing Decree (“Bouw- en Woningbesluit”).

Before you start building, however, you might have to acquire a plot of land, which can be either property (“eigendomsgrond”) or long lease (“erfpacht”). If you have a particular lot in mind or selected one it is important to know its purpose. To discover which type of land use is allowed, you have to consult the zoning plan, locally known as “ROP” (“Ruimtelijk Ontwikkelingsplan”).


Entrepreneur Aruba 2017

uction in Aruba What is the ROP? The ROP has been introduced on 7 May 2009 by national decree pursuant to the National Ordinance Spatial Development (“Landsverordening Ruimtelijke Ontwikkeling�) of 2006. The ROP consists of three documents: a plan description, a plan explanation, and a plan atlas. The plan explanation clarifies the ideas on which the ROP is based. It gives a broad outline of the social needs of Aruba in regard to types of land use, such as housing, business, industry, agriculture and tourism. The plan description broadly defines the most desired development of Aruba and offers a detailed and policy goals connected description of zones, like the touristic, economic and urban zone, and nature reserves. These zones are also featured in the plan atlas, which contains a set of maps of Aruba. The ROP states that it is not a binding policy document. The government intended to introduce a more specific set of zoning policies and rules, which was supposed to become the binding ROPV. But the ROPV has not yet been issued. ROP Consequences for Construction Even though the ROP itself indicates that it is not a binding instrument, the Aruban court of first instance has concluded in regard to a recent case that the government can be held to certain public policy decisions like the ROP (it has not yet been established by the court that the ROP is binding in all cases). As a consequence, Aruba might have to apply the zoning policies as described in the ROP. This can even be the case when the

government grants a long leasehold under terms and conditions that differ from the requisite qualifications set out for the zone in which the plot of land is located. To avoid legal conflicts with interested parties like NGO’s or local residents, it is therefore important to check in which zone the lot is located and which rules apply to that zone according to the ROP. This might not be as easy as it sounds due to the fact that plan atlas shows large parts of Aruba instead of more detailed maps. Hence, the exact borders of a zone are difficult to locate. Building permit Whether you bought a plot of land or you already had one, you will still need to obtain a building permit for your envisaged construction. And you will have to do this before you start building. Depending on the kind of construction you wish to undertake different conditions apply. In special

circumstances and for buildings of a simple nature, it is possible to obtain a partial, whole or conditional exemption of a building permit from the minister. In some limited cases the law provides that it is not necessary to obtain a building permit. For instance, graves, small pens for animals or household storage, and urgent measures to prevent damage (the latter has to be reported to the minister within three days) are exempt. A building permit can be revoked in two cases. Firstly, when the conditions applicable to the building permit are not complied with. Secondly, when the construction has not started within a year of obtaining the permit or has been suspended for over a year. Last but not least, building without a permit or contravening it can be punished with a maximum fine of AWG 5,000. This fine can be doubled if someone is convicted for a similar infraction in less than a year.

ROP under review

The ROP is currently under review and is likely to be updated in the course of 2018.

Costs Building Permit

To calculate the costs involved with a building permit application you can visit: http://www.overheid.aw/ informatie-dienstverlening/woning_3171/item/woningbouwen-of-verbouwen_681.html.

More information

For more information regarding the ROP and building permits, you can send an email to info@ekvandoorne.com.


Entrepreneur Aruba 2017

How to build your international business

Text / edited by: Anika Stevens | Freezone Aruba

Businesses that sell abroad are generally more successful than companies that sell solely to the local market. Export (including services) expands your market, lowers risks and expands market share. It makes you less dependent on the crowded local market.


ompanies using Free Zone have successful international track records and can provide useful insights on how you can build your international business. Therefore, we, Free Zone asked several successful businesses, which are operating internationally, for their best practices. How to expand to international markets? Thoroughly research your market before you start attracting international clients. Monitor international trends and use experiences to create a successful business strategy. Don’t stay focused on past business solutions, be prepared for rapid

market changes and be open for new strategies, techniques and innovation. Leverage technology to improve the speed of your business and use it to capture future market trends. Technology facilitates change, it moves fast and helps you reach your potential if you use it right. Stay up to date and find innovative ways to attract potential customers. Seek win-win situations and make sure you know your customers well. Communication is key for a successful international business strategy. Keep your communication simple. Personal contact remains highly appreciated in many business relationships. Make sure you are easy to reach and be transparent to your contacts. Always reply and respond to their requests. Be honest and give your clients the feedback they are looking for. Use your customer’s feedback to make your business grow and improve. It can provide you with valuable market insights. How to find international customers? Referrals are the most important source to acquire international 10

customers. Offer what your potential clients are looking for and they will find you. Don’t focus on just one market, try to broaden your potential markets and experiment with different approaches. Another successful way to acquire international customers is to make an irresistible offer. Gather their attention with professional promotions and communicate with influencers in your market. Try to let them make an extra effort to help you get your business out there. Create and maintain a network, email marketing is a great tool for it. Send targeted emails to potential clients, follow up and stay friendly. Find out who the decision makes are, learn about their plans and their interests, etc. Listen to their feedback and stay open, kind, respectful and humble. Even if your clients are businesses, don’t forget that you work with people. Your most trusted relationships are willing to bring your business to the next level. Customers love being part of your success story. It makes them more

Entrepreneur Aruba 2017

engaged with your company and if you use your most trusted sources, your competition is less likely to hear about your next move. Another successful tip is to contribute to well-read blogs/forums. Give kind answers and help others out. It helps spread your good name and you build trust among international audiences. Share your success. As business expands, share, donate and do good for others. Most potential clients research your business before they even start talking to you. In most organizations, multiple people are involved in the purchasing process. Someone may not have the final decision, but does have the power to influence based on their perception of your business and you. Which marketing strategies are successful? Always do your research before you act. Choose international and

challenging projects based on research and stay focused. Be ready to fail and have patience. Use failures as a lesson and use them to build your business’s foundation. Be prepared for changes. Think about levering your existing contacts. If you build good relationships with your customers they are willing to help expand your business in their market, using their unique knowledge and network. They can open their network and can help you finding the right marketing strategy. Your customer can serve as an important bridge to your new market. Let them call new potential customers, it will increase the chance of a sale. This strategy works in both directions and helps improve the relationship with your customer. Surprise your clients and give more than they expect. It will help to

make them great referrals to acquire new customers. What are the benefits from operating from the Free Zone of Aruba? Tax structuring plays a very important role in international business. It helps offset any additional costs. A lower profit tax may be a critical factor for financial feasibility. Aruba’s free zone offers small international companies a reputable home-base. It shows clients that they are dealing with a trustworthy company. Many businesses want to check your company before they start doing business with you. Being a free zone company is very helpful for your legitimacy and information is available from a serious referral source. In general, free zone companies are very satisfied with the service offered by Free Zone Aruba. They are pleased with the policies, support, assistance and referrals.

Tax planning technical analysis taxstructuring

Tax controversy risk assessment tax laws & gerulations

Tax performance

Tax acounting insight in the tax position

Tax compliance timely filling of tax returns relevant tax documentation

As shown in the figure, there are various processes that contribute towards efficient and effective Tax Performance Management:

Business Tax Environment:

improved and reinvented

Text: Jeanise Job / Vivian Bonifacio / Laetitia Wall | Meijburg & Co Caribbean

While in the past you only had to call your tax advisor on the verge of a tax return deadline or when confronted with a tax audit, the current business environment demands having your advisor on speed dial. The present-day tax environment has evolved from accepting a one line explanation on your tax expense to requiring an in-depth analysis to account for your tax position. Stakeholders of financial statements (i.e. shareholders, investors and tax authorities) increasingly demand greater transparency and insight into the tax position of a company. As a result, more attention is paid to the standards of information, presentation, and disclosures to be presented in the financial statements. Furthermore, the tax environment of a company is shifting from being an incident-driven approach to a processoriented approach, gaining insights into tax risks and the risk control measures to be taken (the tax function of a company). Therefore, a thorough review of, amongst others, the company’s accounting of taxes (Tax Accounting) can provide a comprehensive insight into its tax function, and, based on the information obtained, the performance (efficiency and effectiveness) of the tax

function can be measured. The performance of the tax function is often referred to as Tax Performance and the management of the risks and responsibilities of the tax function can be referred to as Tax Performance Management. The changing business tax environment requires a new approach and interpretation of your tax position. No longer is the emphasis solely on your tax expense and tax return, but rather on the management of your overall tax performance. TPM: Now and in the Future Tax performance management (TPM) is the process of design, implementation and execution of an efficient and effective tax function through which the company: • Analyzes the current and desired level of implementation of its tax strategy, tax compliance and tax risk appetite; • Identifies the current risks involved in the internal processes and tax compliance as well as the tax value adding processes within the business framework; • Implements the necessary infrastructure and controls to achieve the goals as laid out in the tax strategy; • Continuously evaluates and reviews 12

the implemented processes to assess the efficiency and effectiveness of the tax function.   As shown in the figure above, there are various processes that contribute towards efficient and effective Tax Performance Management. Tax Accounting: Tax Position in the financial Statements Internal and external auditors rely on tax experts to provide and/or assess the tax position of a company in order to accurately reflect the tax position in financial statements. The most important information to be presented in the financial statements regarding income taxes is tax expense. Tax expense comprises current tax and (movements in) deferred tax. Current tax is the amount of payable (recoverable) income tax with respect to the taxable profit (loss) in the current period and prior periods to the extent that it has not yet been settled. On the other hand, deferred tax arises from current transactions that have future tax consequences due to temporary differences arising from different accounting methods for the accounting and taxable profit, tax losses carried

Entrepreneur Aruba 2017

forward, and tax credits. International accounting principles, such as the Dutch GAAP and the IFRS, require separate presentations and disclosures of the tax position in the balance sheet, the income statement, and the equity of the company. Tax Position in the Balance Sheet Under both the Dutch GAAP and IFRS, unpaid current tax for current and prior periods is recognized as a liability. If the amount already paid exceeds the amount due for those periods, the excess is recognized as an asset. The current tax liabilities (assets) are measured by the amount expected to be paid to (or recovered from) the taxation authorities at applicable (future) tax rates. In addition, an overview of the Receiver Office, in connection with the outstanding profit tax assessments, can support the calculation of the current tax liability (asset). Under the IFRS, deferred tax assets and liability are classified as non-current in the balance sheet. Under the Dutch GAAP, general classification rules for current/non-current assets apply to deferred tax assets. Therefore a portion of a deferred tax asset may be classified as current. Unlike the IFRS, the deferred tax liabilities are classified as a separate class of provisions within the liabilities, for which the current/non-current distinction is not applicable. Contrary to the IFRS, the deferred tax assets and liabilities are allowed to be discounted under the Dutch GAAP. Furthermore, the current and deferred taxes are measured using the tax rates and tax laws that have been (substantively) enacted by the reporting date. Tax Position in the Income Statement and Equity Under both Dutch GAAP and IFRS, total income tax expense recognized in the income statement is the sum of the current tax expense (or recovery) plus the movement in the deferred tax liabilities and assets during the period. 13

The net of tax amounts is recognized directly in the equity. In case a transaction and/or event is recognized outside the income statement (either in other comprehensive income under the IFRS or directly in the equity under the Dutch GAAP and the IFRS), the deferred tax expenses in connection herewith are also recognized under other comprehensive income or in the equity. Disclosures in the Notes The applicable methods of calculating the tax expense and the effective tax rate should both be disclosed in the notes of financial statements. In addition, accounting principles require that reconciliation is presented between the tax expense (derived from the taxable profit) and accounting profit. This provides the user of the information with insight into the transactions that impact the taxable profit and consequently the effective tax rate of the company. Summary and Conclusion The accurate presentation of information on a company’s tax position requires an in-depth knowledge of current tax legislation, anticipation on future tax legislation, and the reporting requirements as prescribed by the accounting guidelines. Tax professionals with a specialization in Tax Accounting & Tax Reporting aim to bridge the gap between your accountants and tax advisors. They are specialized in the recognition and analysis of your business transactions’ tax impact on the financial statements of your company. Tax advisors have extensive experience in providing their expertise and assistance during internal and external audits, as well as in designing and effectively implementing a tax function that contributes to your overall tax management (tax governance). They look forward to assisting you in the process of maximizing the added value and effectiveness of your tax performance management.

Entrepreneur Aruba 2017 Entrepreneur Aruba 2017

With six locations on Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, and Saint Martin, including five megastores, over 500 employees, and a wide range of more than 25,000 products retail giant Kooyman BV (Ltd.) can truly be called the market leader of the Dutch Caribbean region. The small carpentry Adrianus (Ad) Kooyman founded in 1939 on Curacao, has grown into a successful chain of one-stop shops for building materials, hardware and home improvement. Text: Patricia Bergwijn | Picture: Kooyman


Entrepreneur Aruba 2017

Megastore Aruba After opening several shops on Curacao and Bonaire Kooyman started looking for business opportunities on other Dutch Caribbean islands. The former Antillian Trading Company on Aruba was taken over by Kooyman in 1965, but kept its name until the year 2000. Due to the new concept of run and fun shopping that the company was introducing on the islands and the fact that the old Aruban store in Dakota (opened in 1969) wasn’t big enough to handle the growing influx of customers and their needs, the retailer started building a much bigger store and their innovative new drive-through at a new location. Kooymans’ current megastore on the Avenida E.J. Watty Vos opened its doors in 2011. The scale-up also meant an increase of 42 more employees. Nowadays, the megastore employs a total of 102 people. Run and Fun shopping The newly appointed (2016) but very experienced store manager Frank Heitkönig, who has been working in the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) retail business for over 27 years now, is very happy with the new concept and the way the store is build. The megastore is much bigger than the old store, has a far more spacious set-up, more cash registers and a much larger storage area. “For the coming years, we are perfectly fine”, he adds. All Kooymans’ megastores are strategically constructed based on the concept of


run and fun shopping. The core of the megastore, the central run shopping section, is defined by functionality and necessity. Customers like contractors don’t want to lose time looking for the materials and tools they are purchasing. Their purpose is to see, grab, buy their hardware and be gone as fast and efficient as possible. Contrary to fun shoppers like families and hobbyists, for example, who like to bide their time to deliberate, compare, choose between different kinds of decorative designs, styles, materials, and weigh their options. These customers find what they need in the outer ring of the Megastore. Drive-thru Rawer building materials like wood, cement, rebar and manto rolls for roofing are sold at the indoor drive thru. The integrated brand new and completely covered drive thru is a huge improvement for both customers and employees. Not only because all the warehouses are just outside the megastore, thus making it easier to manage the logistics, as the store manager explains, but in the old situation contractors and employees had to go to outdoors and work and wait in the sun. Nowadays they just drive through the drive thru, collect the materials they need and check out. Very easy and efficient. Moreover, this new drive thru provides a way of storage that enhances the quality of the products, which of course is of the utmost importance

For the coming years, we are perfectly fine for both Kooyman and the customers. The construction materials are being bought from all over the world. At the head office of Kooyman in Curacao the buyers from the purchasing department roam the globe in pursuit of high quality products for the best possible price. Kooymans’ pressure treated wood, for example, is shipped in from the States, their plywood comes from Russia, timber is imported from North America, and their manto rolls are Colombian. The company has a special logistics division that takes care of the whole collecting and transportation process, thus from the exporting country all the way to the delivery of the materials and products at the stores on the four islands. Building the community Besides helping people and businesses to realize their construction and home improvement dreams, as stated in their mission, the local stores of Kooyman contribute to the communities as well. Projects having to do with poverty reduction, youth and education or sustainability can count on materials and financial support. The megastore on Aruba, for example, gave an old people’s home several Christmas trees including the decorations, organized a free of charge workshop to make a jewelry box for 400 women in the Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and supports the Aruban Kiwanis Club. But that’s not all. To keep a close relationship with the members of the community and their clients the store offers regular shop nights and monthly

workshops for kids and women. Every month the participants learn to make something else. It can be a wooden toy or kite for the children or a spice rack for the women. These workshops are very popular and one has to subscribe early to be able to join. Change and innovation In order to stay their customers’ favorite construction and home improvement retailer Kooyman needs to move along with the fast changing and innovating construction market. And according to store manager Heitkönig the construction market is changing rather fast. Not only because of the development of revolutionary technologies like prefab building with ISOTEX© construction materials, all kinds of inventions coming from the American Shark Tank Show and new ways to build faster, cheaper and more efficient, but also because of their changing customers. The days that tough construction workers were Kooymans’ only clients are definitely over. Nowadays, DIY-ers who want to improve or even renovate their house themselves in the weekend and women looking for nice decorative items have become important customers. And different consumers have different demands. Therefore, Kooymans’ buyer team and marketing officers monitor trends and developments closely, making sure that the stores are up to date, sell the latest inventions, materials and products, and offer the right services to exceed their customers’ expectations. 16

Introducing… Store Manager Frank Heitköning Due to the fact that his father was stationed as a Marine in Aruba, Frank Heitkönig partly grew up on Aruba in the early eighties and his heart never left. As soon as the opportunity to return to the island presented itself, Heitkönig didn’t think twice and set course to Aruba. Having worked in the retail business since he was a young boy, fulfilling different managing positions in big DIY-chains like Gamma and Karwei in Holland as he grew older, Kooyman appointed him assistant manager of the brand new megastore in 2011 to begin with. Before he could take over and become the store manager in 2016 he had to learn the ways of the island first. Heitkönig simply loves his job. Contrary to the hardware and home improvement retailers in Holland Kooyman allows its megastores to develop a sense of local entrepreneurship and initiative. And he really enjoys the faceto-face contact and personal connection with his customers. There is room to have a cup coffee with the contractors, chat and getting to know them while talking business. The satisfaction to be able to help people to get what they want, is what motivates and drives him in the retail business and as store manager of Kooymans’ megastore on Aruba.

Entrepreneur Aruba 2017

Another dream c0mes true Text: Luise van Lieshout | Picture: Patrick Gumbs

Let’s say you want to start your own business. You got a plan, but no money. On the islands it’s not that easy to get a loan from the bank. What do you do? Patrick and Birgit Gumbs found themselves struggling with this dilemma. They moved to Aruba last year, together with their kids. Patrick was born on Aruba and lived in the Netherlands for 38 years. During these years he met Birgit, got married and got two kids. Although he was happy there was always this lingering desire: one day he would go back to Aruba. Broken Juicer The plan was to give Aruba a healthy injection of freshly squeezed orange juice, affordable for everybody. The couple established Gumbs Total Healthy Products and bought a mobile juice bar. Luck was on their side: via a tombola they won a spot for carnival. But right after carnival, their juicer fell apart. No sweat! Patrick and Birgit had experienced the orange effect: the happy faces of the people who drank their juice. How about using the home juicer? They squeezed a few glasses and tasted. Patrick tells: “We looked each other in the eye and concluded that the juice even tasted better. Richer! Was it because of the machine, we wondered.” Their clients also tasted the difference between this juice and the juice they were used to 2018

Entrepreneur Aruba 2017

“This is a wonderful product,” Oliver told them, “but will it be profitable?”

in Aruba. Patrick and Birgit decided to investigate the juicer market. They found the perfect professional juicer that was going to make a difference. But who would pay for that? The Making of a Business Plan Birgit explains: “A friend told us about Qredits. He said Qredits helps people on the island to make their dreams come true by investing up to Afl (AWG). 50,000. That is, if you’ve got a good product.” They made an appointment with Qredits’ business advisor, Oliver Vieira, and served him a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice. “This is a wonderful product,” Oliver told them, “but will it be profitable? Did you run the calculations?” Patrick and Birgit had never made a business plan. They started to calculate. How much juice does one orange provide? What are the costs per orange? What is the target population? Patrick points out: “Qredits pushes you to think about your business and figure it out. We have to admit that it’s actually a good thing. This way you make the business completely your own. Juicing is our calling, but what about the numbers of that calling? Qredits looked very accurately over our shoulder and forced us to seek out everything. Now we understand all aspects of running our business even better. For us the low pricing of a bottle of juice, for example, was very important. But it must be achievable as well. We have to repay that loan and in the meanwhile our family must be able to live from the profit. Our calculations showed it was

possible. We could keep the price for a bottle of freshly squeezed juice at just five Aruban florins.” Fresh vitamins instead of soda About the same time, Patrick got the green light from the primary schools in Aruba to provide schools with freshly squeezed juices. “Our dream is that children will ignore the soda and choose for healthy, freshly squeezed juice full of vitamins instead.” They designed a juice pouch especially for the schools. This way the kids could buy their freshly squeezed juice for only Afl. 1.50. Moreover, they decided that all the juices that they didn’t sell at school during the day, would go to children and people who couldn’t afford it. Enthusiasm and Continuity The cooperation with the schools turned out to be the key for Qredits. But there was one more question: what about continuity? Enthusiasm is great and you definitely need it if you want to be an entrepreneur. But enthusiasm alone is not enough. It might even work against you; people who are too excited, are prone to take too much on their shoulders. They see possibilities and chances everywhere and are too eager to grow. On the long run it is better to strive for continuity, build up a solid foundation, figure everything out and be aware that a day has only 24 hours. According to Patrick a timely delivery is extremely important. “I worked in the Netherlands at the blast furnaces, that’s all about being on time. Now this skill turns out to be very welcome. The juice you buy from us is squeezed that very morning. Every day.” 19

The secret of the orange effect Qredits was convinced. Thus, the money was transferred and the professional juicer was ordered. But exactly why do Gumbs Total Healthy products taste better? Birgit laughs but is not willing to reveal their recipe. “That’s our secret”, she says. “It’s like the difference between whole milk and skim milk. Taste it yourself, judge, and let us know! “ Everybody needs vitamins The Gumbs are passionate people on a mission. They clarify: “We know from experience that healthy food makes you feel good, whereas cheap food makes you feel tired. Especially children need vitamins, they need to grow, and their brains need nutrients to develop. We hope our arrival at Aruba is not only good for us but also for Aruba. Then it will be literally a fruitful cross-pollination. “ If you want to start your own business, but you don’t have the money Qredits might be able to help. The foundation grants loans up to Afl.50, 000. You can download a business plan on the website. If you have no clue how to compile a business plan, don’t worry, Qredits offers a free course online for future entrepreneurs in Dutch, Papiamento or Spanish. Step by step, you will learn how to start a business, and at the end of the course your business plan is ready. Once Qredits advisors have taken a good look at your plan, they’ll tell you within a few weeks if you get a loan. Of course, you are always welcome at the office of Qredits to talk about your entrepreneurial dreams and see if you can make them come true!

Entrepreneur Aruba 2017

Text: Ted Johnson | Johnson Notary Services

Condominium development in Aruba Aruba has experienced a surge in condominium development since the early 2000’s. This despite or perhaps just because of the relatively late development of condominium complexes in Aruba compared to other islands in the Caribbean.


ondominium units have become a popular choice for secondhome owners who want to buy a piece of paradise in Aruba. The development of condominium units for local buyers on the other hand has yet to take off. This article will primarily focus on and analyze the process of establishing condominium rights in Aruba and the rights and obligations of condominium owners on the island. Aruba has two basic concepts of land ownership: freehold (“eigendom”) which means having full ownership of

the property or leasehold (“erfpacht”) which gives you the legal right to live in or use a building or plot of land for an agreed period of time. The latter is by far the most common type of property existing in Aruba. Both types of properties can be developed into condominium projects, but the latter will require approval from the lessor which is the local government. In general, any building developed on one of the two property types will be subject to rights of accession. In other words, the owner of the property is automatically the owner of the land. This basic property law principles creates a problem when the owner intends to sell separate units in a building as property rights. To ensure that each unit can be sold separately and transferred of title to a buyer a special deed of partition needs to be executed through a local civil law notary. Besides giving a detailed description of each unit, this deed will include the incorporation of a homeowner’s association with articles of incorporation and the rules 20

and regulations that will apply to each individual owner. The condominium developer is also required by law to draw up detailed partition plans showing all of the units to be created and delineating the private areas from the common areas. All owners are required by law to become a member of the homeowner’s association (HOA) upon acquiring title to a condominium unit. The association will establish an annual operating budget, which will cover certain costs that affect all owners. These costs consist mainly of maintenance fees for the outside of the building, the common areas and facilities such as pools and fitness rooms, building insurance, landscaping, security, and a reserve fund for incidental expenses. Any purchaser should inquire about the amount of the monthly HOA fees since these can vary greatly between different projects. The reserve fund is also an important aspect when buying a condominium from an older project.

Entrepreneur Aruba 2017

How much funds does the association have available to pay for incidental and unexpected expenses? Although Aruba is out of the ‘hurricane zone’ unexpected maintenance issues can always occur in any project. All condominium rights in Aruba can be encumbered with mortgages and are freely transferable to another party. Any transfer of a condominium will be subject to a 6% transfer tax and civil law notary deed-recording fees. These fees, depending on the value of the condominium, can vary from approximately 1.5 to 2% of the purchase price. Condominiums will also incur an annual property tax of four per-mille (4‰) of the property value minus an exemption of approximately US $33,000. If the condominiums have been developed on a long leasehold property, which is often the case in Aruba, the entire property will be

subject to an annual leasehold fee. This fee will be assessed through the homeowner’s association and will be added to the annual budget. All owners in a homeowner’s association in Aruba have the right to vote in an annual meeting and under certain conditions can request the board of the association to hold an extraordinary meeting. Any changes that are to be made to the existing rules and regulations of the condominium project, will require a qualified majority of 80% of all homeowners and need approval of all mortgagees who hold a mortgage on a condominium in the project. In other words, making alterations is not an easy process in Aruba. To avoid these obstacles, certain rules and regulations can be furthered in detail in bylaws, but in general these bylaws may not include rules that would contravene the existing rules and regulations or restrict a homeowner even more.

Building together

As mentioned in the beginning of this article, Aruba has not experienced any significant development of condominiums for the local market as of yet. Similar to other countries in the developed world, the demographics in Aruba have been showing that Aruba is currently experiencing an ageing of the population. Therefore, it seems very likely that this group along with other local buyers who are not looking to purchase a large residence, will increase demand for more (affordable) condominiums in Aruba. As of today, the government has not developed specific housing policy objectives in this regard or actively encouraged this development for the local market, but this may change in the future. Condominium units have added a new and exciting dimension to the local property market and all indications are that the amount of available condominiums on the island will steadily increase.

Condominium Projects We provide services for dividing buildings in condominiums through a deed of division and related services regarding drafting of sale & purchase agreements and contracting agreements. We also draft and execute condominium regulations and incorporate a homeowner’s association. Last but not least we execute mortgage loan deeds for the financing of the project. Through our extensive experience we can assist in all areas of real estate development.

Email: info@johnsonnotary.com | Tel: +297 280 9950

Entrepreneur Aruba 2017

How Aruba Bank is helping create a path to support the community

Start-up Business Forward Text / Foto / edited by: Eugene Dirksz | Aruba Bank

According to Eugene Dirksz, Corporate Credit Manager at Aruba Bank, Aruba’s largest commercial bank has seen a surge in start-up business over the last couple of years. We also see that there are many entrepreneurs with good business ideas (plans) yet have many unanswered questions, and that is the main obstacle in their way to fulfilling their ambitions. Obtain licenses and permits, prepare business plans, and obtaining start-up capital to enterprise are a few of the obstacles that need to be overcome. We have taken bold steps to move beyond banking services to tackle these obstacles. Through bank wide efforts we focus on education and networking opportunities in an effort to

support and foster entrepreneurship in the Aruban community. Over the last year Aruba Bank has focused on building a platform to introduce high school students to entrepreneurship and teaches them how to start, own, and operate their own business. Through the 2017 Good for the Neighborhood program youngsters from all socio-economic backgrounds had the opportunity to start their own business, learning basic business skills and principles which they internalize and use throughout their lives. Aruba Bank also held its Academic Economic Forum at the beginning of 2017 in partnership with the University 22

of Aruba. The event hosted a group of panelists and an open floor to questions from the audience around “Shaping the Future of our Economy-Rethinking our business models�. The core discussions analyzed the state of the Aruban economy, the trends that will influence the future of our economy, and the vision and shape of the future our economy. Aruba Bank strongly believes encouraging entrepreneurship among the local youth can offer answers to many of the questions that current startups have. We are helping to move new business forward in Aruba by creating a path to employment that starting a business provides.

Entrepreneur Aruba 2017


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Entrepreneur Aruba 2017

Sonja Velthuizen Mission Sonja Velthuizens’ mission is to provide the best customer service possible by introducing a new client friendly registration system, maintaining the Chambers great team and trying to create less bureaucracy.

Sonja Velthuizen, Executive Director of the Aruba Chamber of Commerce. Name: Sonja Velthuizen Company: Aruba Chamber of Commerce & Industry Function: Executive Director / Secretary Date of birth and place: The Netherlands, 1969 Goal: Personal: To be happy, to think positive, and to keep on learning Business: To foster an attractive and successful investment and business climate in Aruba Passion: Her family, horseback riding and travelling Books: Novels, entrepreneurship and science books Movie: The Notebook, Silence of the lambs Music: Classics like: Prince, Chaka Khan, Earth Wind & Fire, and Salsa

History Sonja Velthuizen was born in Holland. After her study at the age of 25 she moved to Aruba and worked in the Hospitality Industry. She fell completely in love with the island. Nonetheless, she had to move back to Holland after a year for family reasons. Back in Holland she started her own company in the field of marketing & promotion, event organizing and interim management. But as she always missed Aruba, she didn’t hesitate to return when they offered her a job as a director of an educational institution on Aruba in 2005. At the institute she worked for more than six years until she started at the Aruba Chamber of Commerce and Industry as the Head of the department Business Information & Support in 2011. Sonja Velthuizen became the new interim director in 2015 when the former director of the Chamber retired. In May 2016 the interim director was officially appointed as the Executive Director & Secretary of the Aruba Chamber of Commerce & Industry. She is very happy to be living in Aruba together with her partner and her son of nine years old. Future The Executive Director has many plans. Together with her team she will strive for the development of an incubator for start-ups, more in-depth advises, the launch of a new registration system with a 24/7 service, the provision of more data (statistics), the reduction of red tape to start a business, the continuation of tailor made education in order to prepare future entrepreneurs even better, the promotion of e-commerce activities, more collaboration in the region and trade between the different islands.

Entrepreneur Aruba 2017


Facts and Figures of the Third Quarter Text:Aruba Chamber of Commerce

The Aruba Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACOC) has compiled and analyzed the data of the third quarter of 2017. Registrations and cancellations in the registry at the ACOC provide some insight into commercial developments and the economic growth of Aruba. Considering the influence of entering an election period and its impact on Aruba’s economy, the third quarter is showing very interesting facts and figures. Registrations The steady development of registrations at the Chamber of Commerce during the third quarter of 2017 resulted in an increase of entrepreneurs compared with the second quarter of 2017 and a stabilized Q3 in comparison to previous Q3’s. The total of 327 new businesses can be divided into 181 Sole Proprietorship, 52 Inc. (Incorporation), 87 LLC (Limited Liability Company), and seven other legal forms. Contrary to the drop in registrations in Q2, the third quarter shows an increase of fifteen registrations. As we can see in the graph, the registrations in Q3 reached a peak during August with 118 registrations. The other two months, July (106) and September (103) recorded lower numbers. Although the third quarter documented a slight recovery after the decrease in registrations during Q2, its total is still far from the 381 new registrations of the first quarter of 2017. Nevertheless, the sum of this year’s three quarters shows a higher number of registrations (1020) compared to the first three quarters of 2016 at the end of which the Chamber registered 945 new businesses. In comparison with the registrations of Q3 during 2016, the number of registrations of Q3 2017 falls a little bit behind. The significantly better start, that is, the high numbers of this year’s first quarter are mainly responsible for the 75 more registrations compared to the same period in 2016. The development of the fourth quarter will therefore be very interesting to monitor. Especially, because of the downward trend in new registrations the year 2016

displayed during its fourth quarter. Divided into regions Oranjestad booked a total of 121 new registrations and Noord followed with 90 registered entities during Q3 of 2017. Other districts show similar numbers. San Nicolas recorded 31, Paradera 31, Santa Cruz 31, and Savaneta 23 new businesses. All these districts have the same sectors that stand out during this period. Analyzing and comparing third quarters over the years, one can conclude that Q3 2017 has fewer registrations. From the third quarter of 2014 on there is a declining trend in the numbers of registrations of new businesses during Q3. The numbers of the third quarters’ cancellations during the last three years however have been reasonably steady including the cancellations in Q3 2017.

Development of total registrations up to and including Q3 of 2016 compared to same periode of 2017 140 119


129 110

123 110










103 102


80 60 40 20 0 Apr




Entrepreneur Aruba 2017

During 2017’s third quarter Sole Proprietorship remains the most popular legal form. Together with the legal entity N.V. (Inc.), these two entities are the only ones with more registrations compared to the third quarter of 2016. The legal form VBA (LLC) shows a decrease of 13 registrations compared to the third quarter of 2016. After the high numbers of cancellations of the first quarter (211) the number of cancellations diminished during the next two quarters of 2017. One can see a stabilizing pattern with157 cancellations in Q2 and 159 during Q3. These figures correspond to the number of cancellations during the second and third quarter of 2016. The ACOC is committed to provide information for the business community. Having the status of legal entities up to date is therefore of the utmost importance. The fact that companies have started to comply with the regulations and inform the Chamber about inactive


Total registrations compared with total cancellations per Q3 of 2012 - 2017

500 347




335 359











Q3 2015

Q3 2016

Q3 2017

0 Q3 2012

Q3 2013

Q3 2014

Total Registrations

Total Cancellations

Analysis per Sector per District during Q3 2017


Retail stores Services in general

San Nicolas












Real estate







Hotel and Catering industry

Vehicle rentals and tours

businesses is highly appreciated. Cancelling a business from the registry is free of charge, however, please keep in mind that open balances still need to be paid. The Chamber monitors entities that wish to cancel their registration at the ACOC. That’s why business owners are requested to fill in a questionnaire and to provide motives for their cancellation. For most of the


respondents (25%) the main reason to cancel their business was “the lack of commercial activities”. They were followed by “switching legal form” with 23%, “lack of financing” with 16% and “high costs of doing business” with 15%. The other 21% have other reasons such as competition, time management and health issues. The fact that a quarter of the respondents indicated that their business was commercially inactive, 28



is quite remarkable and the ACOC will inquire further to see how the inactivity of businesses could be turned around and how to keep businesses healthy and going. In this regard possible factors like business type, location, management style and the search for innovative solutions should be taken into account. The Chamber will conduct an in-depth research to gain some insight in the matter.

Entrepreneur Aruba 2017

Registration based on type of business onshore for Q3 of 2012 - 2017 Q3 2012

Q3 2013

Q3 2016

Q3 2017







































Sole proprietor VBA (LLC) NV (INC.)

Q3 2014

Q3 2015


Registered cancellations based on type for Q3 of 2012 - 2017 Q3 2012

Q3 2013

Q3 2016

Q3 2017






































Sole proprietor VBA (LLC) NV (INC.) AVV

The “switching legal form� respondents are another interesting group. Many businesses are switching from one legal form to another. To complete this process and to be able to activate the new legal form, the former legal entity needs to be cancelled. In overviews these switching companies appear as cancelled registrations, whereas they do not stop their commercial activities. In most cases the switch entails the decision

Q3 2014

Q3 2015

to register as a VBA (LLC) entity. Lots of businesses opt for this legal form because of its flexibility. A growing Sole Proprietorship, for example, might reason that it would be more beneficial for the business to become a LLC due to security and tax benefits. A NV (Inc.) might consider switching for the same reasons; the tax and organizational benefits a LLC brings. 29


Changing a legal form will cost money. Therefore the ACOC urges all starting entrepreneurs to analyze which legal form would suit them best in the long run. Nevertheless, the ACOC realizes that all situations and circumstances are different. Therefore, the Chamber is always willing and available to provide starters and all other entrepreneurs with guidance and advice.

t n e v Ecalendar 2018 DEC 2017

FEB 2018 Text: Chamber of Commerce Aruba

Aruba Fashion Week

On behalf of the Aruba Fashion Week we would like to extend a warm welcome to all of the incredibly talented designers, celebrities, models, fashion icons, DJ’s, musicians, artists, guests and international media on our Happy Island. This exciting celebration of fashion helps us to position Aruba as a unique destination. A destination that allows visitors from around the globe to enjoy premier events and have one-of-akind experiences during their holidays. Date: December 1-3, 2017 For more information please contact HTTP:// ARUBAFASHIONWEEK.COM/

JAN 2018

FAS - Financial Administration for Starters part 1 - COURSE

The financial administration course for starters is especially designed for starting and/or experienced entrepreneurs who would like to have a better understanding of the financial aspects of their company. After a brief introduction and insight into what financial bookkeeping is exactly and why it is of such great importance, the course addresses elements such as the relationship between business economics and financial bookkeeping, the inventory, the balance sheet and the profit and loss account. Aspects like budgeting, other bookkeeping terms and the accounting cycle will also be dealt with during this course. The course consists of four classes that will take place in the auditorium of the Chamber. Course dates: February 28th, March 7th, 14th, and 21st 2018. For more information on the course please send an email to the Aruba Chamber of Commerce: bussinessinfo@ arubachamber.com or call: +297 5821566 ext. 27/30/35/42.

Business Plaza – move Forward!

Business Plaza’s Move forward event targets existing entrepreneurs focusing on any type of business expansion. Admission is free. We will be offering different presentations, information and consultation on site by relevant organizations. Date: January 20, 2018 from 9 am – 2 pm at the Aruba Chamber. For more information please send an email to the Aruba Chamber of Commerce: bussinessinfo@arubachamber.com or call: +297 5821566 ext. 27/30/35/42. 30

Entrepreneur Aruba 2017

Sales Forecasting

Sales forecasting is the projection of an achievable sale revenue based on historical sales data, analyses of market surveys and trends, and salespeople’s estimates. This is without doubt an interesting and important topic for any business that wants to optimize its sales, costs, and profits. It is one of the cornerstones of a business plan because the level of sales revenue affects practically every aspect of a business. During this four hour workshop you will learn to or get acquainted with: • Ten different techniques which can suit your business; • Create a baseline on which actual data can be measured; • Monitor the gaps between the anticipated (forecast) and the achieved (actual) sales; • Use forecasting skills and tools to reduce the gaps in the next cycle. Admission is AWG 50.00 Date: February 20, 2018 from 9 am – 1 pm at the Aruba Chamber. For more information please send an email to the Aruba Chamber of Commerce: bussinessinfo@arubachamber.com or call: +297 5821566 ext. 27/30/35/42.

Business in aruba

Aruba is known as a safe and stable tourist destination. The island is visited by thousands every year, many of whom return. Tourist activities are mainly concentrated on the west coast. The spin off effect of the tourist industry is clearly visible in the high quality of life and the overall business industry of Aruba. Other main economic activities include wholesale and retail trade, construction, real estate and banking at the east of the island. Aruba is striving for diversification of its economy, opening doors to new innovative businesses. Professional business services, sustainable agriculture, renewable energy and technology are a few of the actual focus areas.

Address J.E. Irausquin Boulevard 10 P.O. Box 140, Oranjestad Aruba Dutch Caribbean Business Hours Monday through Friday General 8.00 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. AST Cashier 8.00 a.m. to 4.15 p.m. AST

Contact Information Phone: +297 582 1566 Fax: +297 583 3962 info@arubachamber.com www.arubachamber.com


Bank Accounts Aruba Bank: 1123546 Banco di Caribe: 81477101 CMB: 61179906 RBC: 7700000090061769

Entrepreneur Aruba 2017

Things you need in order to close the deal

Text: Aruba Chamber of Commerce

Speeding up the financing process


ost starters face the same initial problem: the need for startup capital. Everyone can familiarize with this hurdle. You notice a problem or an opportunity to start a business, come up with an idea, and get all excited. But then you reach the point where money is the next rung on the ladder that you need to climb to reach your goal. And there you are, asking yourself what to do. There are quite a number of possibilities from which you can choose, but in this article we will focus on the most common option: financing by a financial institution or Qredits, the new player in the field of financing on Aruba. During the process of starting up a business it is important to do a thorough research and to acquire at least some professional advice. The Aruba Chamber of Commerce (ACOC) is always at your service. You can contact us whenever you have questions or when you need help or advice on how to proceed with your startup. Just call us to make an appointment or acquire the information you need on arubachamber.com.

On our website you can also send in a request for information from the online registry. The Department of Economic Affairs is another good source of information for starters who are in need of the required permits and licenses to do business in Aruba. In regard to financing it is important to have certain documents in place, which can facilitate the process. And be assured, a well-written business plan goes a long way. Steps towards financing your Startup To start a business you need to have at least some kind of capital. The type of business you want to pursue will define how much you need to get started. In case you do not have the necessary financial resources yourself, you should consider reaching out to a bank and apply for a grant. Obtaining a loan is not an easy task. It can however become more accessible if you do your research and collect the necessary information. The information you provide should give the bank a realistic projection of your startup. The more realistic and thorough your projections are, the better the chances you will be granted financing. 32

It is very important that you know exactly what your business is about. You need to live and breathe your business idea, know all the ins and outs including its current situation and where it is going. You have to able to answer questions like: who are your customers, who are your competitors, what type of market are you trying to be part of or is it a new one, what distinguishes your business from the others, how innovative is your approach really, what will be the costs, what would be a profitable selling price and why, and so on. At the start of your business you also need to know which legal form suits you best. Are you starting alone or are there other business partners involved? What type of risks can you foresee and are you willing to take? Who will work for you or with you? To what extend will you need manpower or machines to make the business grow? Clear answers will give you a better insight into the realization of your business. Moreover, they are the cornerstone of your business plan. To pave the way for your business idea you will have to formalize it. A business plan will help you to do just that and it is the best starting point. A solid

Entrepreneur Aruba 2017

business plan demonstrates that you know what you are doing and why. It shows that you are serious about the idea and that you are willing to take the risks involved. And last but not least, it will enable you to coordinate the startup and to establish a business that remains successful. Qredits Microfinancier Qredits is a newcomer in Aruba when it comes to financing entrepreneurs. Backed by the Government of the Netherlands and Aruba, Qredits has been established to help finance starters who are not eligible for financing through the existing channels. If the requirements are met, Qredits offers financing up to AWG 50,000. Besides the fact that Qredits’ requirements are relatively more flexible compared with the ones of a commercial bank, the foundation also provides guidance to help you become eligible for financing. As with the other financial institutions,

the microfinancier considers a well-funded business plan most important. In other words, a business idea must be founded on a solid business plan describing its potential. You can apply online and upload the required documentation. Qredits will analyze your business plan including the marketing and investment plans you have. The business advisor of Qredits will inform you within five working days if there are any gaps or if you need to add information.

Commercial Banks Applying for a loan at a commercial bank is the traditional way to finance your business. However, only a few people are able to meet the requirements. Commercial banks have to comply with the regulations of financial authorities and therefore need to exercise their due diligence. But as with Qredits, the same applies here: make sure you have covered all the issues, can answer all the questions and back your story with a solid business plan.

You might get the advice to complete the business plan e-learning course in order to increase your knowledge about starting a business and writing a business plan. Take the course, it will increase your chances to establish a successful business. After the initial review the advisor will arrange for a meeting in order to guide you through the available financing possibilities.

All business ideas have their own story and their own specific needs, just acknowledge that, think it through, give your idea a solid base and remember you will only succeed when you keep pursuing your goal. Persistence pays off.



ruba’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACOC) organized a meeting in November 2017 that was dedicated to the construction industry. The main purpose of the session was to touch base with the players in this sector. The meeting gave them the opportunity to voice their concerns and challenges in regard to doing business. The session also offered participants a chance to brainstorm on possible solutions and how to encourage the stakeholders to create a level playing field for the construction business in Aruba The Construction Sector in Aruba The construction industry in Aruba is one of the largest and most active industries on the island. With a total of 1965 active registered companies, the sector represents a significant group of entrepreneurs that contribute to the economic development of Aruba. The continuous monthly flow of newly registered entrants at the ACOC clearly demonstrates that the industry is one of the most active sectors. Most of these construction related companies are based in either Oranjestad with 35% or Noord with 23%, as the extracted information from the registry shows. The array of businesses in the construction sector varies from carpentry to electricity, from masonry to paintwork, and so on. Many construction companies combine all these construction related areas of expertise under one roof and offer their customers a complete package. In Aruba the industry is a very competitive one and just like everywhere else value for money is the main concern for the projects of the customers. In a free enterprise economy people will always try to find creative ways to cut

Entrepreneur Aruba 2017

Building up a solid sustainable Island

Text: Aruba Chamber of Commerc | Picture: Conté

the costs and in some cases this can turn into illicit activities and managing of the contracts. Therefore, the ACOC organized the session in order to pinpoint the issues and formalize solutions for a level playing field. Connecting with the Industry During the session the participants expressed their concerns on issues they had to deal with in the sector. The issues they were tangling with varied from cheap labor to unqualified workforce, from illegal workers to permits limitations, and from red tape restrictions to financing. The entrepreneurs indicated, for example, that opening a bank account is a very complex and bureaucratic process. According to the group the banks have restrictions that are counterproductive. The disability to complete a transaction from a current account to a commercial one, was another related issue, but most important seem to be the fact that banks do not open a bank account without a business license. Which led to the second problem: the granting of permits. Everybody agreed that it is a tedious process. The work and residency permits obtained from DIMAS (Department for the Integration, Management and Admission of Foreign Nationals) take time and consequently cost businesses time and money. A suggested solution to speed up the process of issuing of permits could be to automatically approve applications that take longer than four months. In addition, the examination and results from DOW (Public Works Department) regarding building projects took to much time as well, according to the entrepreneurs. Thirdly, many contractors pointed out that the start-up procedure is too complex and not attractive for (foreign)

investors or business people. There are lots of obstacles that need to be dealt with when someone wants to incorporate a new business. The ACOC made a list of the most important ones: • Long process duration for the notarial deed of incorporation; • Long process duration at the High Commissioner for company name approval; • Business establishment license and director’s license at the Department of Economic Affairs take too long; • Residence and work permits take at least eight months; • Opening a bank account is a complex and tedious procedure and requires lots of paperwork and time; • Additional permits take too long and the procedure is too complex; • There is hardly any inspection or supervision concerning the ‘black market’. The department that is in charge is not capable to handle the workload; • Scholars do not have enough experience or do not deliver quality work and the language curriculum at school is not the most adequate for work or daily practice. At work people do speak Papiamento, Spanish or English, but hardly any Dutch. The participants also proposed possible solutions, which the ACOC will take into consideration and present to concerning stakeholders in an effort to eliminate the red tape that many of the entrepreneurs are facing when doing business. A few of their ideas and statements included:

workforce abroad. Introduce a fast-pass procedure or implement a structure that makes the contractor completely responsible for his acquired employees even if they are illegal immigrants. • Because many procedures such as the LAR (local legislation) are too complex and take too much time, the suggestion was made to introduce a certain amount of time to issue a denial. If the time period has passed, the request should then be considered approved. • Opening a bank account should be simplified by minimizing the requirements of the banks. • Introduce a pre-clearance system for foreign workers and create fast track processes including conditions to assure a fair handling of permits. • Facilitate the permits and introduce a certification system that allow foreign workers to prove their qualifications and expertise in the construction sector. • Create a better collaboration between the different stakeholders in order to eliminate paperwork and waiting time. The Civil Registry, SIAD (Tax and Customs Department), Economic Affairs and the ACOC should be able to have access to the same information in order to speed up and simplify the process to start up a business. • Make it possible to connect a foreign employee with a new worker who just graduated and let them share their knowledge and experience. That way both will be able to grow and learn from each other.

•Exchange workforce and experience between sister islands. Aruba could provide for projects in Curacao, for example, or help rebuild Saint Martin; •Make contact with the right authorities to create more business opportunities among the islands and share knowledge and manpower; •Simplify the process of acquiring

Looking back at a successful meeting the ACOC will continue to pursue the creation of a level playing field for industries in Aruba. After discussing the results of the meeting with the Government of Aruba, the ACOC will organize another session to discuss and deliberate on how to move forward with the construction sector.



Entrepreneur Aruba 2017

The laws of entrepreneurial innovation Text: Tom Kok | Coolgroup

Law I

“Look before you leap”; know what innovation means before you start Many entrepreneurs think that innovation is the same thing as coming up with new ideas. But creating new ideas for products and services is only part of the truth. Of course creativity is indispensable, but it is doesn’t cover the concept of innovation as a whole. Innovation is, in fact, applied creativity; the combination of creativity and its application. After all, creative ideas that are not applied, keep on floating. Therefore, innovative entrepreneurs come up with new ideas and apply them accordingly.

Law II

Only innovate when you are able to explain the reason The beginning of our twenty-first century is confined by reason. Successful entrepreneurs can tell you why you want their business, their services, and their products. It is of the utmost importance for both customers and employees that the entrepreneur gives an inspired answer when people ask him: “Why this innovation?” And just more profit should only play a small part. Entrepreneurs have to build their own story about their reasons for innovation. So make your innovation as imaginative, inspiring and convincing as possible.


Start reinventing yourself The world is continuously changing and reinventing itself, in turn shouldn’t we as well?

Innovation starts with changing yourself. If you are really willing to change, you have fulfilled the most important condition to innovate the company. Ask your personal source of inspiration, your inner self: what is your driving force? Why are you doing what you do? What inspires you to innovate? These questions will help you start your own reinvention. Changing your circumstances is not always possible. But if that seems to be the case, remember the saying: “If you cannot change your circumstances, change yourself”. Once you have established how to change yourself, you are at the onset of an interesting task: Be the change you want. This famous quote by Gandhi says it all: if you want to change, you will have to become the change yourself.

Law IV

Recruit innovative people If your company employs several people, then this law applies: Recruit innovative people. It starts with the presentation of your company or organization: Make it sparkling, innovative and challenging. A profile like that will attract innovative people. If you are not an innovative person, then be honest about it and ask someone who is able to make the shift towards an innovative company. Once you have received the application letters, look at the impression they give you. Do they appear to be energetic, lively, happy, positive, interested, committed, open to new ideas, adventurous and curious? Then they might be the right people. During the interview your first questions should be: What does inspire you? What is the most special thing you’ve experienced in 36

your life? And: What would you do in order to renew this meeting?

Law V

Stimulate creative ideas within your group ‘Imagination is more important than knowledge.’ (Albert Einstein) ‘Problems cannot be solved within the same framework in which they were created.’ (Albert Einstein) ‘Some see things as they are and want to know why they are as they are. I dream of things that have never been and want to know why not.’ (John F. Kennedy) ‘Research is to see what everybody else has seen, and to think what nobody else has thought.’ (Albert Szent-Gyorgyi)

Entrepreneur Aruba 2017

In the earlier days none of the steamship companies shifted to air travel. The entrepreneurs at the top just did not have enough imagination to realize that steam ships were not the core of their business, but that it was in fact the transporting of customers. Nowadays, all the steamship companies have gone bankrupt. Of course this will not happen to you. But here are a few tips anyway: 1. The man with the most patents on his

name; Edison, always went to bed with an iron ball in his hand. As soon as he fell asleep, his hand would relax and the ball would fall on the ground with a hard blow, waking him up again. After waking up he would immediately write down what he remembered. Many ideas arise during sleep relaxation, they are formed in the subconscious and are lost once we wake up.

2. Use the collective intelligence or in other

words: source the crowd. This means enabling everyone to help you innovate. Describe your challenges on your website, ask everyone to think about it and promise a nice reward for the one who comes up with the golden idea. You will be surprised by the number of people from all over the world, who are willing to cooperate.

3. Working in groups of two can also

stimulate innovation. When people work in couples they are better equipped to build upon each other’s thoughts and ideas. This is a process called “laddering”.

Law VI

Organize your company in such a way that creative ideas will be applied Collect all creative ideas and introduce these ideas to a team of down-to-earth technicians and practical thinkers. Ask them to select the three most interesting and applicable creative ideas for the company. Appoint a team of three specialists in operations, marketing and finance and let them work out a small business case on each of the three ideas. Choose the most promising and feasible one and hand it over to an excellent implementer. Striving for a well done execution of a plan means being half way there.


Know your customers Bad business plans don’t exist, wrong timings do. The innovation theory by Rogers is clarified in his book ‘Diffusion of Innovations’ and is a theory about the spread of a new product or idea. Rogers distinguishes five groups of customers accepting a new product or idea:

4. Organize professional brainstorm

meetings. Create a group of five to ten people who are very creative and combine them with a number of people who are especially good at admiring others. Creative people need admiration.

Innovation theory by Rogers Innovators

Early Adoptors

Innovators (2,5%) are looking for the latest of the latest. Pioneers (early adopters) (13,5%) are the people who are looking for new challenges. This phase is characterized by a strong growth in sales. Forerunners (early majority) (34%) - The product is absorbed by the public and reaches its maturity phase. Followers (late majority (34%) - The product is fully mature, the vast majority of the market is familiar with the product and buys it. Sales will slowly decrease. Stragglers (laggards) (16%) - The product has entered its last phase and will leave the market. The last group of customers buys the product because of the good offer. The successful launch of a new service or product is the art of offering your merchandise at the exactly right time to the exactly right people in the exactly right sequence. Finally The entrepreneur who is going to innovate might easily feel like a dreamer. So be it, because the ones who keep both feet on the ground, will never move forward.

Early Majority

Late Majority

5. Give your employees room to innovate.

That’s how Google became as big as it is. Start by giving them weekly hours and make them work on innovation outside the office. You will have better results if you do. Someone who spends fifteen minutes a day working on innovation will be an expert within hundred days.







Product Levens Cyclus



Text: Amanda Zantal | HubSpot Marketing

In marketing, it seems like the word “brand” is used a lot: the leading brand, off-brand, personal brand ... You get the picture. But there’s often confusion around its meaning in business. What does “brand” entail exactly? Do I need to hire an expert? Branding is expensive, right?


o answer the very last question, it doesn’t have to be. As it turns out, there are some pretty creative ways to brand your business without spending a ton of cash. And while it can require an investment of time, the return on investment (ROI) won’t

go unnoticed. In some cases, it can actually help you save money, while also growing your business. Building your brand is a crucial part of developing your business. As you’ll see below, it’s the foundation of giving your organization a voice, identity, value, and awareness among consumers. And, thanks to the plentiful number of resources, tools, and platforms available today, a brand build might not be as burdensome (or costly) as you think. So read on, and see how you can use the following six steps as a guide for your brand build. Know your personas It’s no coincidence that 82% of companies with better value propositions also use buyer personas. These are the semi-fictional “characters” that encompass the qualities of who you’re trying to reach. The needs, goals, and behavior of your potential customers dictate how you convey your product or service. Understanding those things helps you determine what kind of media your personas are consuming, what motivates them, and where they 38

“live” online. You can see why having that information helps develop a compelling, effective brand. It helps you reach the right people. Figuring that out doesn’t have to come at a price. A great way to get started is with our free MakeMyPersona tool, which guides you through a series of questions about the ideal person you want to reach. Take your time with it. The questions are meant to get you thinking about how you want to be perceived and by whom. And that shouldn’t be a quick process. Develop an identity and a voice Once you’ve identified your buyer personas, your brand can start to take shape. That involves creating a brand identity. In other words, the things that make people aware of what your brand is. Its voice is the tone you use in any copy or public communication. As a writer, I’m particularly interested in the voice aspect, but what does it mean to you? Figuring that out follows a process not unlike the one that’s used to determine your personas. But instead of answering questions about your target audience, you’re


answering questions that are a bit more introspective to your brand. What are its values? What does it represent? How do you want people to talk about you? Even if you’re not starting from scratch, establishing a strong(er) brand voice can be valuable. Just take the instance of the Zoological Wildlife Foundation during its recent rebrand, finding its voice was a top priority. The results? Its overall online presence increased by 343%, with website traffic alone seeing a 63% boost. Have a consistent social media presence So we know who your personas are. And now, we know what to say to them and how to say it. But where are they? Since you might have a clear picture of the different pieces of your audience, it’s important to figure out where they’re spending the most time, especially on social media. We’ve talked before how effective it is to reach people where they’re already present, that includes their online behavior. We recommend checking out Pew

Research Center’s Demographics of Social Media Users, which profiles the users of five major social media platforms: Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Pay close attention to the data. Maybe the majority of your personas spend most of their time on one network. While that doesn’t mean you should ignore the others, it just gives you an idea of where to dedicate the most resources. And once you do establish that presence, maintain it. How many times have you gone to a brand’s Facebook Page only to find that nothing has been posted in the past three months? Chances are, it didn’t have a positive impact on your perception. That can be avoided by diligently planning and scheduling social media posts like you would with any other marketing calendar. Something like our free Social Media Content Calendar can help and get you thinking about things like the seasonality of what you post. That’s a huge part of staying relevant to your audience: sharing content that pertains to what they’re likely thinking about at a given time of year. 39

Blog Blogging is extremely important, and we really can’t emphasize it enough. It’s a core part of our Inbound Methodology, especially the “attract” stage. It is the one thing that turns strangers into visitors on your website. In fact, blogging might be the most fundamental step of inbound marketing. It helps you reach qualified customers, like your personas, by creating the informative content that matches the information they’re searching for. That’s why it’s so important to make it relevant to this audience. When you’re writing, make sure the content is optimized for those searches. Believe us, your personas are definitely looking for the information that you’re able to provide if you write about it. After friends and family, blogs are the third most trusted source of information. Plus, that content will also serve as material to populate your social media networks, and we’ve already covered what a crucial part that plays in branding on a budget.

While blogging is fiscally inexpensive, one of the biggest struggles we hear about is the cost of spending time doing it. For that, we reference the joke about a doctor asking his patient, “Would you rather work out one hour per day or be dead 24 hours per day?” The inbound marketing version of that question would be: “Would you rather blog for one hour each day or always have insufficient content to draw in visitors?” Like planning your social media presence, having an editorial calendar for your blog can be helpful in maintaining consistent timing and fresh content. That’s why we put together a free blog editorial calendar template, complete with instructions and content management tips. Make customer service a priority When we hear the name “Zappos,” most of us immediately think, “unparalleled customer service.” The online apparel retailer built this level of service into its core approach of doing business and into its core values. Why is that so important? For Zappos, making excellent customer service the cornerstone of its brand actually saved money on marketing and advertising.

That’s because it created word-ofmouth among existing and potential customers, which is what we call earned media. This is the recognition that your brand has earned, not paid for, from people talking about something remarkable you did. U.S. businesses, as a whole, lose about $41 billion dollars each year because of bad customer service.

name in front of a broader audience is to partner up with a brand that already has one. Just don’t just pick any old brand to work with. Make sure it’s one that’s aligned with yours. The partnership has to make sense in the minds of your audience. Here’s what we recommend in seeking a co-brand:

Whether you’re serving customers or clients, the goal is to create a delightful, sharable experience. And when the client or customer experience is a priority, it shouldn’t cost you much for them to talk about it, because you earned it.

Consider your partner’s audience. Would their customers be interested in your brand? Is it that difficult for you to reach out without this partnership? How well do they trust your co-brand? That’s crucial to getting them to listen to you too. People don’t trust traditional advertisements anymore. So make sure your partner reaches the audience in a way that instills confidence, not doubt.

It revisits the importance of your identity and voice. As you go through these brand-building steps, think about the values that you want to be resonated in those things. Is excellent service one of them? Those values are what shape the brand’s culture and that influences the voice you project to an audience. Take advantage of co-branding When you’re just starting to build a brand, you might not have a big reach. You can take the steps to build it, like we’ve described so far, but it takes time. Until then, one way to get your 40

Have something to offer your cobrand. What do you have that they don’t? The experience should be a win-win-win, for you, your co-brand, and the consumer. Consider selecting a well-known and respected nonprofit as a co-brand. More and more people’s purchasing decisions are based on a brand’s social responsibility. In fact, 85% of millennials say that makes them more willing to recommend a brand.


Foundations for life Text: Paul Janssen

Recently, Barry, a good friend of mine was quite down, even though he was going to retire. He was done with his flourishing contractor practice and ready to enjoy the life of a pensionado. A change much needed and longed for. The hard work had worn him out and he was worrying about his health and physical condition. For project developers, he used to be the man they could count on. ‘Build a house as if it is your own’, he always said. ‘Construct it like you are laying the foundations for your own life.’ Barry was the first to put this motto into daily practice. Until the last few months. A developer with whom he had worked for decades, persuaded him to tackle one last project. And to make matters worse, this project was on a spot he was secretly in love with. The assignment was to construct a model home as a lure for further plans. Money didn’t matter. It was a wonderful last job he couldn’t resist. But Barry just seem to lack the spirit to excel once more and he desperately looked forward to the moment he was done. The result did not truly meet his criteria, but hey, it was finished. At least that’s what he thought… During Barry’s farewell reception, the developer came up to him and congratulated him with his last project. He revealed that he knew it was one of Barry’s favorite locations. And at the end of his speech he pulled out a key and handed it over to my friend. ‘Thank you for all you’ve done’, the developer said, ‘the house is yours’. Barry could do nothing but blanch. A week after, I met him again. He told me, he was still thunderstruck that the one time he had violated his own motto, he had actually been building his own house. After a mournful sigh, he looked at me with his bright piercing eyes. ‘And you?’, he suddenly asked. ‘What kind of house are you building for the rest of your life?’


Brick by Brick Build bridges instead of walls! This simple and wordless book enfolds a very powerful message: when we dismantle that which divides us, we find common ground. A little mouse innocently plucks a flower growing on an old wall when a brick comes loose. For the first time he can see through. Subsequently, the mouse and his animal friends gradually and resolutely remove more and more bricks until they see another group of animals at last. Together they use the bricks that once divided them to construct a bridge to join their islands. In all its simplicity, this clever and touching wordless board book shows that walls can become bridges when everyone works together. It’s a wonderful message that all adults and children should see and take into account.

Did You Know? The Origin

of the Word Construction

Latin Construere (heap together). Latin Constructio Old Frence Constructio English Construction Late middle English Construct

Entrepreneur Aruba 2017

Text: Express.be

Certain sectors are highly suitable for entrepreneurship, while others are less or in reality not suitable at all. If you have the ambition to try your luck as an entrepreneur in the future, you will have to think about the industry you would like to start with. According to businessman Luke Johnson, columnist at the Financial Times and Management Today, the following seven sectors are ideal for future entrepreneurs: Real Estate Big companies and other large institutions with huge offices and buildings often lack the intuition and insight of individual entrepreneurs and therefore it is easier to compete with them than most people think. Many wealthy real estate enterprises started as a modest real estate agent. For this sector however, your sales talent is crucial if you want your business to be successful. Even though it is an important requirement for each and every entrepreneur. 2 Information Technology

sectors for future successful entrepreneurs IT- entrepreneurs such as Bill Gates (Microsoft), Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook) and David Karp (Tumblr) are well-known examples of modern millionaires. Thanks to the low threshold and startup costs and the likelihood to make high profits IT is a very attractive sector for future entrepreneurs. But remember it is also a very competitive one.

to start a business, especially in the information and biotechnology sector. Of course, some academics struggle with the unstable flow of income and therefore prefer the convenience of the public sector. Nevertheless, an increasing number of academics combine classes and doing research with the startup of a company in order to exploit their knowledge.

Accountancy Bookkeepers and accountants understand figures better than anyone else. Therefore, they might see possibilities, whereas others don’t. Since every company needs financial experts, accountants and bookkeepers really have an ideal position to collaborate with other entrepreneurs in order to successfully market a product or invention.

Geology In recent decades, the exploitation of natural resources has proven to be a real profitable industry. Almost all mining companies were first started by geologists. They provide the required technical expertise and credibility. Although the sector is primarily dominated by large companies, there is still enough room for new entrepreneurs who are able to make valuable discoveries.

Catering The catering industry is a fragmented sector and offers big rewards for the ones who come up with original ideas. Formal qualifications are not really required. Working hard, your customer orientation, strong people skills and a hands-on mentality will do the job. Biotechnology Academics are in a good position 42

Agriculture The rising commodity prices and the growth of external investments in agricultural land open up new opportunities for newcomers in the agricultural sector. Not all farmers are willing to work with new crops or innovate their cultivation methods. So entrepreneurs who embrace innovation have an advantage in this sector.

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Disclaimer: This Magazine is copyrighted This means that any content and/or appearance of the magazine Entrepreneur Aruba may not be reproduced or made public without the prior and written consent of the publisher. All information, insights or opinions as stated in the magazine Entrepreneur Aruba are that of the interviewees or the author of the article and do not necessarily represent the vision and/ or opinion of the editor, publisher or the magazine itself. Therefore the magazine Entrepreneur Aruba and its crew cannot be held responsible for possible errors, incorrect postings, views, and/or insights outlined in this magazine.

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