House of Representatives Small- and Midsize-Business Campaign Kicks Off
SAN JUAN – As part of “Fuerza PyME” (“Small & Midsize Business Force”), a House of Representatives initiative in support of small and midsize business, the Tour U Fuerza PyME has been launched with the aim of informing college students about the benefits of the Microenterprise and Small- and Midsize-Business Support Act (Act 62 of 2014), as well as other existing legislation that benefit local entrepreneurs.
“We are entering a new stage in explaining what Fuerza PyME and Act 62 are,” said House Speaker Jaime Perelló during the first event held at the Liceo de Arte y Tecnología, where some 200 students were in attendance. “In this phase, what we are doing is creating alliances with universities in Puerto Rico so that young people, before graduating, get to know the resources they have at their disposal to open their own business and motivate them to remain in Puerto Rico.”
The Tour U Fuerza PyME is a joint effort of the House of Representatives and the Youth Development Program that is expected to visit 15 higher learning institutions, where students can attend educational talks on the incentives available to small and midsize businesses, financing alternatives, and entrepreneurial innovation.
Perelló headed a presentation on the benefits of Act 62, which include permits granted within 24 hours, a 20% government procurement reserve (which this year increased to 30% and is expected to gradually increase to 40% by 2020), a preferential rent program of $1 for the first two years for properties belonging to the Commerce and Export Co. and the Puerto Rico Industrial Development Co., the requisite of a regional economic impact study on establishments of considerable square footage, and payroll subsidies.
Hiram Díaz, the director of the Youth Development Program, presented the benefits of the Incentives and Financing for Young Entrepreneurs Act (Act 135 of 2014). These include an income tax exemption for those 16 to 26 years of age on the first $40,000 earned from salaries, services provided or self-employment; total exemption on income tax, gross-receipts tax and property for new businesses started by those 16 to 35 years old on the first $500,000 of gross income generated during the first three years; and a financing and risk-capital investment program.
As part of the event, an agreement was signed between Fuerza PyME, the Liceo de Arte y Tecnología, the Commerce and Export Co. and more than 30 organizations allied to Fuerza PyME that manage programs and provide support to small and midsize businesses to create the first Ciclo de Formación de Emprendedores, or Entrepreneur Formation Cycle. The aim is to provide over 500 active students at the Liceo de Arte Tecnología training in entrepreneurship areas. It will be overseen by the Planning and Institutional Development Office, headed by Dr. Carmen Mirabal.
In 2015, the House of Representatives held 12 regional expos to provide business owners and potential entrepreneurs with tools and solutions to establish or expand their businesses, reaching some 10,000 people.