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New business program for women encourages entrepreneurship

By on September 1, 2016

SAN JUAN—The Small Business and Technology Development Center (SBTDC) of the Inter American University, in a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), announced on Tuesday a new program called “Ser Empresaria” (Being a Businesswoman), which is focused on helping women become businesswomen, with workshops and free consultancies throughout the entire island.

Among the program’s objectives figure boosting entrepreneurship and self-employment in women, offering information and workshops on how to start a business, aid in the process of preparing a business plan, individual and continuous guidance, and presenting options for financing business projects.

Ricardo Martínez, internal director of the SBDTC in Puerto Rico( (CB / José L. Carmona)

Ricardo Martínez, internal director of the SBTDC in Puerto Rico( (CB / José L. Carmona)

The Program “Being a Businesswoman” counts with the support and collaboration of the Corporation for Economic Development in San Juan, (COFECC for its Spanish initials) and its program of micro-loans for women known as “siempre exitosas” (always successful).

According to Ricardo Martínez, internal director of the SBTDC in Puerto Rico, during the past five years the Centers for Small Business Development have assisted over 6,613 clients, out of whom 38%, or 2,512, are women.

“Out of that group of women, 56% (1,407) wanted to establish their business, and 23% (327) managed to open them. 26% of women belong to the service sector, 19% devote to retail sales, 14% in the food industry, 14% in the accommodation industry, 8% in manufacture, 8% in health, 5% in agriculture, and 4% in the entertainment, recreation, construction, educational services and wholesales industries,” indicated Martínez.

The women assisted by the SBTDC in the last five years have accessed $54 million in capital, and $3 million in federal hiring, creating 2,282 jobs, and they have retained 3,679 jobs, added Martínez.

The workshops will be two days long, and they will cover subjects focused on how to establish a business. In addition, the attendees will be oriented about strategic planning, accounting, finance, human resources and marketing—in tune with new digital platforms and social media, and about certification programs for women, in order to increase their possibilities in federal hiring.

The program is offered through the SBTDC’s regional centers in the Inter American University’s campuses in Arecibo, Caguas, Fajardo, Ponce, San Germán and San Juan.

Dominique Gilormini, executive director f the Inter American University. (CB / José L. Carmona)

Dominique Gilormini, executive director f the Inter American University. (CB / José L. Carmona)

The percentage of registered women in the 2015-2016 academic year in the eleven campuses was “impressive,” commented Dominique Gilormini, executive director of the Inter American University.

“On Master’s and Doctorates, 68.52% are women, and in Law School and the Optometry School 59.68% are women,” expressed Gilormini. “The tendency of this increase has been continuous for the last five years.”

A new website has been created, serempresaria.org, to register for seminars and for more information about the program.

The first workshop will be held in Ponce on Friday, Sept. 2, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and Saturday, Sept. 3 from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. in Rest. Puebla, on Road 14. The second seminar is set in San Juan on Thursday, Sept. 8 and Friday, Sept. 9, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., in Hato Rey’s Union Plaza.

The second workshop will be provided on Friday, Sept. 9 from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. in the Inter American University Arecibo Campus.

The fourth seminar will be held in the University’s San Germán’s Campus on Thursday, Sept. 15 from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m., and Saturday, Sept. 17 from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.

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