This year the conference was held online from Mannheim, Germany. During the conference, the Department of Economic Affairs, Commerce, and Industry of Aruba (DEACI) presented successful examples of Social Entrepreneurs in Aruba to the participants. The main objective was to show the European Commission that islands like Aruba that are located overseas as an LGO, have examples on the relevant social economy for the cities and European regions to incorporate these LGO islands in the European Social Economics management. Besides, the participation of Aruba can help local social-economic entrepreneurs extend their network and cooperation with social businesses from other countries. Aruba presented Ha’Bon Aruba, a small local business that produces soap and cosmetic products. Ha’Bon is a social business as they work in collaboration with the Foundation for the mentally disabled (SVGA) and offer the clients of the foundation activities that can help develop their skills in the labor market. The foundation has a selected group doing the packaging for Ha’Bon Aruba.
Another social business presented at the EUSES conference was Happyponics Aruba. Happyponics grows and sells lettuce grown locally in hydroponics technology. Happyponics collaborate with the Eliezer Foundation for the rehabilitation of the drugs and alcohol addicts. They also support healthy living through farmer’s market, delivering their lettuce to homes all around, promotes the minimal use of plastic, and collaborates food bank Foundation for the Community with donations of fresh lettuce. These incentives make Happyponics a social business in addition to its commercial model.
Lastly, the Foundation for the Community, a non-profit, charitable organization that distributes food to those who have difficulty purchasing enough to avoid hunger, was presented. This Foundation does not wait for financial support from the Government but works hard to maintain its network within the community and private sector. Despite the FPNC being a foundation, they collaborated until before the COVID-19 pandemic, closely with Cosoma. Cosoma is a social business that generates income for the FPNC, so the FPNC can continue serving those needs in Aruba.
Like many other businesses in Aruba, these three social companies have also been affected by the COVID pandemic and are forced to adapt their business model. With many challenges, they adapted to the current situation. The ability to adapt in addition to their hard work, creativity, and perseverance, enable them to stay afloat and to offer their products and services to the public. It is primarily thanks to the community of Aruba for their great support by buying their products ,generous donations of money and voluntary work. The foregoing illustrates the greatness of the Aruba community showcased to the EUSES.
Three examples were presented, but there are many more examples in Aruba of social businesses, who not only focus on the commercial aspect of their business but also support the social needs of environmental needs to make Aruba a great place to live for everyone.
The DEACI is grateful to each social entrepreneur in Aruba and informs that its next event will be held on November 4, 2020. The DEACI invites everyone who wants to know more about this topic and wants to share their experience with social entrepreneurs from other LGO and UPG members from around the world to help convince the European Commission to keep islands like Aruba in mind in their Social Economic management.