Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Nonprofit Grupo Guayacán looks back at work done after Hurricane Maria

By on September 18, 2019

Participants during an EnterPRize workshop (Courtesy)

Has helped 175 businesses in past 2 years of recovery

SAN JUAN — A total of 175 Puerto Rican business ventures have benefited during the past two years of the work done by Grupo Guayacán Inc. to boost the island’s recovery in the aftermath of historic Hurricane Maria.

Grupo Guayacán offers training and business development programs for businesses in different stages of growth. Among its best-known programs are I-Corps PR, the EnterPRize competition, the IDEA Seed Fund, and the Guayacán Venture Accelerator.

Among the businesses it assisted after Maria, 42 were projects in the idea development stage, 100 were startups, and 33 were existing businesses, the nonprofit that specializes in business development said in a release Wednesday, adding that the main sectors it supported with funds or resources were technology, healthcare, retail, agrobusiness, and food and services.

The organization’s latest report, “Guayacán Group: Two Years After María,” documents the more than $1.2 million, of its own funds and donations from corporations, individuals and foundations that were granted as incentives for small businesses’ recovery since Sept. 20, 2017, and invested as seed capital to fan their growth.

Grupo Guayacán’s executive director, Laura Cantero (Courtesy)

“The devastation caused by Hurricane Maria brought great challenges for local businesses, both for those emerging or already established ones, that faced difficulties to keep running their daily operations, supply chains, customers and expansion plans,” said Laura Cantero, executive director of the organization. “In the midst of such a complex situation, we focused our efforts on bringing resources to facilitate the recovery of these businesses through emergency capital and securing the continuity of our business education programs. Throughout this process we held onto a strong conviction that the local business sector would play a key role of the recovery process, and that these investments would help build a more resilient Puerto Rico,” she added.

The economic impact for the companies assisted, “representing more than 2,500 jobs and an injection of $250 million annually into the economy through local sales and export activities,” is shown in the report, the group said, adding that “80% of the projects in the idea developing stage that received support” from Grupo Guayacán have been able to continue developing their companies.

To support its endowment fund, the group will launch the third edition of its Guayacán Giving Day campaign on Monday. Its goal is to raise $75,000 in donations by Oct. 23.

“During the past two years, Grupo Guayacán has dedicated more than 1,200 hours in the business training of more than 500 participants, work that would not have been possible without the support of a large number of collaborators who help us with the programs through donations to our endowment fund,” Grupo Guayacán Chairman Ángel Pérez said in the release.

“Guayacán Group: Two Years After María” is available on the Grupo Guayacán Facebook page, @guayacanorg, and those interested in contributing to the nonprofit’s efforts, may do so via www.guayacan.org/give or ATH Móvil (/ Guayacan).