Puerto Rico Gov’t Launches 2nd Entrepreneur Challenge to Incentivise Young Adults
SAN JUAN — The secretary of Puerto Rico’s Economic Development & Commerce Department (DDEC by its Spanish initials), Manuel Laboy, announced Tuesday the launch of the “Entrepreneur Challenge,” which seeks to train and incentivize people 21- to 29-years-old to develop their own companies.
The DDEC said it was motivated to renew the Youth Development Program initiative again because of the positive results of its first generation, which saw the endorsement of 20 business ideas and the development and establishment of four companies.
After the training concludes, the 10 best ideas will be chosen for an intensive counseling process. After the advisory process, those selected will have the opportunity to showcase their ideas before a panel of experts who will select the four winners of the financial incentives.
This year, the challenge will be accompanied again with a digital platform, a training tour across the island, business coaching for those selected and a final competition with $25,000 in incentives to be awarded from the DDEC’s Economic Development Special Fund. In addition, those selected may apply for microloans and benefit from Act 135, the Financing for Young Entrepreneurs Incentives.
The application period ends March 27.
“This year, we are once again joining efforts with the INprende organization to launch for the second time the ‘Entrepreneur Challenge,’ which will allow young entrepreneurs to make their business idea possible with the help of experts and along with the aid we will provide, those selected will be able to establish their companies,” Laboy said in the announcing release. “Gov. Wanda Vázquez’s administration is committed to offering the best possible tools and opportunities for the…development of youth and this initiative is aimed at fulfilling this purpose.”
While 100 entrepreneurs were selected for training last year, 125 will be selected this year.
“We received the tools to develop our business and think big with it through this program,” said 2109 winner Rebeca Pérez, who now works full-time on her new endeavor.
Pérez and her partner are the founders of Limberland, an innovative container used to eat the Puerto Rican limber, a fruit-juice infused ice treat whose name resembles Charles Lindbergh’s, the first person to fly over the Atlantic Ocean.
The young adults, who are close to opening an establishment to sell their products in the north coast town of Arecibo, highlighted the education provided at each stage of the program offered by INprende.
“We are establishing partnerships with various sectors to join efforts and provide better opportunities for our young people, who are an important part of the island’s workforce, to direct their business proposals,” said DDEC’s Youth Development Program director, Roberto Carlos Pagán
“The winners of the last edition are the best example of what can be achieved from the mentors and the aid we provide them with to be part of Puerto Rico’s economic development,” Pagán added. “Young people are the island’s present; therefore, it is important to guide them in the initial stage of their lives as entrepreneurs.”
To participate in the Entrepreneur Challenge, visit www.jovenemprendedorpr.com and apply to join one of the four workshops that will be made available in different island locations.