New York City-based Liv Group is organizing a technology event in the Caribbean country Aruba with the hope of igniting a start-up ecosystem. The event, named ATEC, is slated for two days (August 28 and 29) in the capital Oranjestad.
Designed to develop Aruba as a viable and attractive place to build the world’s top tech companies, the conference aims to bring together talented tech entrepreneurs from Europe, North America, Latin America and the Caribbean.
Startups who are selected to pitch at the conference will receive free travel to Aruba and a chance to win US$20,000 for their venture.
Currently, there are only a few start-up accelerators in the country. According to SiliconCaribe.com, Colab is the country’s largest and most active community and has recently opened “workspace”, a flexible co-working office space for local and traveling/regional entrepreneurs, on the outskirts of the capital Oranjestad.
Liv Group seems to be the second company planning to foster start-up community in the country. Earlier this month, TEDxAruba organized a series of ‘Inspiring Sessions’ with the aim of encouraging young entrepreneurs to research ‘sustainable solutions’ for the problems confronting the island.
The government in Aruba is also doing everything it can to turn the country into a tech hub. It has embedded research and development in academic and higher vocational education, and is mobilizing funds for investment in innovation.
Over the past few years, the government has set up wind farms, an airport solar park, and a waste-to-energy plant as well as smart communities. Recently, it set aside a US$1 billion for eco-tourism. In 2012, Virgin CEO Richard Branson partnered with the local government promising to make the country completely independent of fossil fuel.
Located 29km off the coast of Venezuela, Aruba is known as Paradise Island, generating 88.4 per cent of its revenue from tourism, the highest figure in the world, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council.
Aruba’s judicial system is derived mainly from the Dutch system and operates independently of the legislative and executive powers. Although, the Caribbean country’s education is based on the Dutch educational system, a majority of people can speak English. Other languages, including Dutch and Spanish, are also spoken there.
With the exception of 2001, 2002, 2009 and 2010, Aruba has experienced economic growth for the last 25 years.
The former Dutch colony is located just four hours from New York and three hours from Miami. Further, Aruba has flight connections with some key global destinations like Bogota, Amsterdam, New York, Miami and Boston.