ORANJESTAD – After a successful meeting with representatives of the public sector and private sector in June 2017 regarding the formalization of an incubator, the Aruba Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACOC) conducted a survey addressed to the entrepreneur and others who are interested in starting a business.
The survey together with a focus group session was organized by the ACOC in collaboration with the University of Aruba. The target of the survey was to obtain a better view on the thoughts of the entrepreneurs in regards to an incubator. To describe what an incubator is: a business incubator is in general terms a building / facility established to nurture young (startup) firms during their early months or years.
It usually provides affordable space, shared offices and services, hand-on management training, marketing support and, sometimes, access to some form of financing. The survey has provided interesting information, not only about the incubator but also more general
outcomes. The sector which stands out as the one preferred to start a business is services and consulting. 43% of the respondents have indicated their interest in starting in this sector.
The sector of hospitality/F&B follows with 24% and marketing with 19%. It must be noted that the respondents had the option to indicate more than one sector. The interest to be part of an incubator is noticeable; however certain requirements have to be considered. 66% of the respondents have indicated that business guidance is important for them.
Furthermore, guidance and advice on accounting (59%) and legal guidance (58%) are also much appreciated. In regards of the building facilities 61% find important to be able to pay rent space at a price lower compared to the market price. Internet and Wi-Fi service are essential as indicated by 60% of the respondents, while 56% of the group sees a safe location to be important as well. 73% believe that administrative service should be included and 44% said that ICT and helpdesk service should be available for the tenants of the incubator.
Starting a business through an incubator is considered by 31% of the respondents, while 62% indicate to be hesitant about this. In case they would participate, 74% would like to see this in a cross-sector collaboration. To contribute and invest in an incubator, 48% are willing to put in AWG 1000 per month while 28% consider this should be free of charge. 16% would be willing to invest as much as necessary to be part of an incubator. The participation to the survey consisted of 42% female and 58% male.
All the age groups were adequately represented with 27% between the age of 21-30, 28% between 31-40, 25% between 41-50 and 20% above 51 years of age. The survey also was the link towards extending an invitation to people interested in participating in a
focus group to elaborate further on the topic. During this focus group session several important aspects came to light regarding the incubator and its goal.
The diversity and quality of its tenants in combination with the requirements such as exclusivity, collaboration and the availability of good advisors are paramount for its success. The rules and flexibility that the incubator provides to the entrepreneur needs to be kept into consideration. The management style of the incubator is very critical for its continuity and
The safety of the tenants, costs involved and the concept of a package deal under one roof are also essential. The ACOC is very satisfied with the response collected and the participation during the focus group. With the information obtained it will be possible to continue in the right direction to make a commercial incubator for Aruba a reality.