Thursday, July 9, 2020

Grupo Guayacán, Popular provide $90,000 in Covid-19 relief grants

By on May 12, 2020

To aid winners of EnterPRize small business competition

SAN JUAN – Grupo Guayacán, a Puerto Rico-based non-profit that provides business training and development programs, and Popular, the largest financial institution on the island, have again partnered to provide economic relief to small businesses that are struggling to maintain operations amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The financial aid is for companies that are” working hard and reinventing themselves in order to survive the challenges of this difficult time,” a joint news release reads.

Guayacán said the initiative is part of its “efforts to help the business community continue operating in the midst of the public health measures taken to control the pandemic.”

The economic incentive will be benefit 17 small businesses that employ about 100 people and were winners of Guayacán’s 2019 EnterPRize business competition. Grants totaling $90,000 will be awarded, with individual contributions ranging from $2,000 to $10,000.

The organization explained that the grant amounts were determined “according to each company’s financial needs and the impact that the COVID-19 crisis has had on its operations. The funds will help protect 104 jobs from the benefited companies, which reported $2 million in combined sales” in 2019.

“We are convinced that, once again, small businesses will be at the forefront of Puerto Rico’s recovery. These funds will help them navigate the great difficulties they are currently facing, emerging stronger and more resilient. Today we are dealing with an unimaginable and unprecedented crisis, but our business community has risen to the occasion and we are proud to partner with Popular once again to support them,” said Laura Cantero, executive director of Grupo Guayacán.

Companies will use the funds to cover payroll, rent and other operational costs, “as well as to develop new and innovative ways to keep their businesses operating,” the release reads. “Prior to disbursement, each company was required to present a milestone plan, and a detail of the proposed use of funds. In addition to the cash funds, participants will get mentoring on finance, accounting, and access to other incentives and emergency aid from Lianabel Oliver, founder of OBALearn.”

The release highlights TAIS, one of the small businesses that benefited from the initiative.

“Due to the lockdown, TAIS lost the opportunity to service new clients, as well as existing contracts with restaurants that were forced to close their operations. With these funds, we will be able to retain our talented team, allowing us to continue developing our new strategy to service residential customers. This way, even if people stay at home, they can use our services to reduce the waste that reaches our landfills and contribute to improving our environment. Furthermore, they can directly support local agriculture by composting,” TAIS spokesman Oscar Meléndez said about the company’s recycling service.

“This investment reaffirms our commitment to Puerto Rico’s business community. It is a priority for Popular to collaborate with organizations like Grupo Guayacán, which we know work nonstop to foster the growth and development of local companies,” said Beatriz Polhamus, first vice president of the Social Commitment Division of Popular.

The following EnterPRize 2019 winners are benefiting from the announced aid, as listed by Grupo Guayacán:

1. A Medias makes high quality socks with creative designs and contributes to local non-profit organizations. 

2. El Mundo de los Muñecos facilitates fun and educational memories through the art of puppetry. 

3. Entre Panas is an agribusiness focused on gluten free breadfruit products. 

4. Fishi is a local to global, character-based, brand that evokes the tropical life. 

5. Fitverz is a smart wellness platform that allows people to access a universe of fitness centers. 

6. Grown Ups specializes in recreation and wellness programs for independent seniors and those living in nursing homes. 

7. Grupo Encuentra Estudios is a mobile occupational counselling tool for students. 

8. Guilty is a subscription for women’s clothing rentals. 

9. Huerto Rico is an up and coming unique gourmet mushroom farm. 

10. Moralito manufactures natural sofrito and other products with fresh and locally sourced ingredients. 

11. OGMA Language Studio offers linguistic expertise to provide more options for your language needs. 

12. Pública is an arts incubator, that focuses on creative entrepreneurs. 

13. Raincoat creates insurance policies that pay instantly after natural disasters. 

14. Remora is a machine that filters and improves water quality for communities in need of clean water sources. 

15. TAIS offers businesses and households clean and simple food scrap recycling services to create a circular food system. 

16. TeeChealo is a full-service garment decorator that specializes in high quality products. 

17. Y No Había Luz is a local theater company focused on changing the way arts impact the children of Puerto Rico. 

During the lockdown period, Guayacán has offer free online lectures covering aspects of a business operation facing the COVID-19 crisis. Topics include available financial aid, remote-working strategies and business transactions. To learn more about Grupo Guayacán, visit www.guayacan.org.

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