Monday, June 1, 2020

Colmena66 devises system to help entrepreneurs with ‘Levanta tu Negocio PR’ survey results

By on May 21, 2020

SAN JUAN – Colmena66, a program of the Puerto Rico Science, Technology and Research Trust, shared the results of “Levanta tu Negocio PR,” an initiative of the entrepreneurship ecosystem, led by Colmena66, aimed at guiding small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to make the necessary decisions after the impact of a disaster.

The initiative includes a needs assessment survey of businesses around the island, personalized guidance on the resources available to support them and how to access them, as well as efforts to identify other ways to help develop the business sector.

Colmena66 announced that, with the input from the survey, it has structured a system consisting of three steps to help entrepreneurs adapt to challenges. The business resource hub listed them as follows:

Step 1: React. The first step in the midst of a crisis is to mitigate the damage and provide immediate relief. To this end, Colmena66 published the Recovery Guide, a resource directory for SMEs organized by topic and industry that is updated daily to make it a less stressful process for the entrepreneur.

Stage 2: Refocus. Entrepreneurs need to adapt their business quickly amid this constantly changing situation. Therefore, Colmena66 continuously identifies virtual workshops, educational forums and training programs of other business support organizations and publishes them on its website and social networks, thus reducing the burden of entrepreneurs that would otherwise need to do the research on their own.

Stage 3: Rebuild. In order for entrepreneurs to not only survive this crisis, but to emerge stronger than before, Colmena66 will continue to connect entrepreneurs in a personalized way with tools, resources and guides that really help them make the necessary decisions during and after the crisis.

Among the findings, Colmena66 highlighted that 86% of those surveyed do not have a contingency fund; 61% said their company can only stay open one month with their available capital; and 52% said they would need between $1,000 and $10,000 to resume operations. In addition, 76% said they needed help creating a risk mitigation plan for COVID-19, compared to 67% who expressed the same sentiment earlier during the series of earthquakes that affected the island’s southwest.

The first edition of the initiative took place in 2017, in response to Hurricane Maria and its effects on the local economy. A second edition was launched earlier this year to help southern businesses affected by the earthquake. Now, the initiative has been reactivated in response to the pandemic.

The survey began on March 20, and during the first five weeks, 625 responses were collected, originating from 72 municipalities. The industries that participated the most were professional services (16%), retail (15%) and the restaurant and hotel industry (14%).

“Colmena66 has dedicated all its efforts in helping over 6,800 entrepreneurs and business owners to start and grow their businesses, connecting them with the right resources at the right time. The experience of Hurricane Maria has allowed us to develop a proven formula to help entrepreneurs during disasters. Usually, these entrepreneurs feel alone and overwhelmed with many questions, and in our Resource Network they find the support and reliable tools to keep on moving forward,” said Denisse Rodriguez Colón, executive director of the Trust’s Colmena66 Program.

“We recognize that business development must have an essential component of resilience. That is why we analyze the needs of entrepreneurs, curate a guide of resources and support to educate them; and establish the steps to rebuild the businesses and boost the economy, betting on the resilience of these business owners,” said Lucy Crespo, chief executive officer of the Trust.

Entrepreneurs responding to the survey also benefit from the services of other business support organizations as Colmena66 has made this data available so that other partner organizations can also address the needs of the business sector. The survey is still accepting responses and Colmena66 said it “will continue helping entrepreneurs.”

For more information and to further explore the results of the “Levanta tu Negocio PR” initiative visit: https://levantatunegociopr.com.