Miren Oca wants to teach people to love swimming and to understand how to be safe in and on water. She also believes that social and environmental responsibility is paramount to being a good global citizen.
In 1994, she founded Ocaquatics Swim School — a business decision influenced by the community — and the people-positive way her immigrant parents ran their restaurants after moving to the U.S. from Spain and Cuba. The company, which now has three locations in Florida, offers numerous programs to benefit swimmers, employees, and the world.
Ocaquatics Swim School is a member of 1% for the Planet and Conscious Capitalism and offers paid time off for voting and volunteering. Recently, the company became the first swim school anywhere in the world to receive a Certified B Corporation status, a designation for companies who prove they are committed to being a force for good in the world, with proven positive impacts.
Ocaquatics has no shortage of doing good. Whether it’s the free and reduced-price lessons for children in underserved communities, employee-led beach clean-ups, or volunteering for Habitat for Humanity, the company’s goal is, first and foremost, to take social and environmental responsibility.
During the pandemic, the business offered online water safety classes with tips for how to practice at home. Even though employees weren’t in the pool, they still received medical benefits. Those employees are also encouraged to donate to the organization of their choice on work anniversaries, key milestones, and birthdays.
“Ocaquatics was already a business that did good things because we taught life-saving skills to families,” Oca said. “However, I also longed to have a business that did much more for the community than what was expected from just any business.”
“As a team, we began to extend our social impact work by … doing all sorts of volunteer work,” Oca said. “We have a mission to grow our people within a framework of social and environmental responsibility so that we grow our school in a sustainable way and make a bigger impact in our world.”
Oca built Ocaquatics to value diversity, and unique perspectives, honoring that differences strengthen the community. She strives to be a great example of how building a business around making learning to swim fun for children can be about so much more than just the time in the pool.
“Our purpose is to make a positive difference on our team, our families, our community, and the planet,” Oca said. “We have always strived to balance purpose and profit while using the power of our business as a force for good.”
“Every little positive change you make in your business adds to the critical mass of the movement. No change is too insignificant,” she said. “Each drop, when added to another, becomes a ripple that continues on and can inspire and help others.”