Saturday, July 4, 2020

Application period for pre18 entrepreneurship support initiative in final stretch

By on June 24, 2020

27 de junio de 2018 San Juan, Puerto Rico. Parallel 18 presenta el Demo Day en el Centro de Convenciones. (photo by: Jose R. Madera)

SAN JUAN — The pre18 program, one of the entrepreneurship support initiatives of the Puerto Rico Science, Technology and Research Trust, announced Wednesday its traditional Applicathon: individualized sessions to help island businesses complete the pre18 application.

Pre18 is a business pre-acceleration program run by parallel18, a business support initiative created by the Research Trust to offer entrepreneurs access to tools that help them expand globally, while positioning Puerto Rico as a center for technology-based businesses.

“The purpose is to close the education and financing gap that will allow these entrepreneurs to fully dedicate themselves to their business,” as explained by the Research Trust, which is a nonprofit that promotes investment and the financing of research and commercialization to serve “as a catalyst for the creation of jobs and the retention of highly qualified” residents.

The event will take place virtually June 26-27 and July 3-4 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Applicants will have 30 minutes to review their application with members of the parallel18 team to clarify questions and strengthen the application, a press release explains.

“In order to separate a space, entrepreneurs must access the Pre18 Applicathon event on Facebook and then click on the ‘tickets’ button, this way you can separate your half hour.  Puerto Rican companies interested in optimizing their product to reach the market, or increase their sales, have until July 6, 2020 to submit their applications. Questions must be completed in English, as they will be evaluated by international judges,” the release reads.

Pre18 seeks to close the gap between business education and financing through a $20,000 grant, mentoring, workshops and talks that are “aligned with the industries in which the selected companies are active.”

For 12 weeks, beginning in November, up to 40 Puerto Rican companies will participate in the preparatory curriculum that also includes access to a network of corporate contacts for business development. “In addition, pre18 offers continuous support and goal monitoring under the guidance of an expert entrepreneurial team.”

To be eligible, companies must have a “unique innovative or proprietary component that distinguishes them from what already exists in the marketplace,” according to the release, which adds that one of the main requirements is having a “basic working version” of their product. 

“Likewise, the company’s solution must be able to sell outside of Puerto Rico and grow quickly. Thus, the following do not qualify for the program: physical stores, food-trucks, consulting or marketing services, projects in a conceptual stage, or any business that depends on people without incorporating some type of automation,” the release reads.

“We wanted to make the valuable resources of our parallel18 accelerator available to entrepreneurs through this effort, clarifying questions and facilitating the application process, to help them take advantage of this opportunity to be selected for the third generation of pre18. The pre18 program is the response of the Trust for candidates with an entrepreneurial mindset and with the vision of growing and exporting their product,” said Lucy Crespo, the Research Trust’s CEO.

The executive director of parallel18, Sebastián Vidal, said the program has “seen the fruits of pre18 through the commercial opportunities that some graduated companies have found with large corporations. More than 70 companies have already completed the pre-acceleration process after two generations, to mention a few: GoPanza, PRoduce, Libros787, FitWallet, Amasar and Sirena Patterns. We urge you to take advantage of this Applicathon effort to help them begin this exciting route to entrepreneurship.”

For more details, visit the pre18 website, its social media pages on Facebook and Instagram or write to cobi@parallel18.com.