Restart Week events begin in Ponce to support redevelopment of Puerto Rico
SAN JUAN – Restart Week, an initiative created by Integro Foundation, DBA Restart Foundation in 2015, with the objective of bringing together people, organizations and resources to help create employment and provide funding for entrepreneurs as part of a broader collaborative effort toward rebuilding Puerto Rico, is holding #RestartWeekSouth in Ponce on Oct. 25-30.
Cryptocurrency entrepreneur Brock Pierce, who hosts the events, hopes to help stimulate the local economy after Hurricane María. The nonprofit was established to support projects that “strengthen the society, regenerate the environment and revitalize the economy of Puerto Rico,” it explains in the announcing release, by connecting angel investors, venture capital firms and startups.
#RestartWeekSouth is the third #RestartWeek event, following #RestartWeekWest events in Mayagüez in May and #RestartWeekNorth in San Juan in March. The series is led by a steering committee comprising individuals representing different organizations and sectors, and is co-produced in alliance with several partners including Genmoji, Universidad de Puerto Rico, Gente Brava, El Nodo, Museo de la Música Puertorriqueña del Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña, LinkPR, Colmena 66 and LaunchPad.
The activities programmed throughout Ponce are intended to “provide the opportunity to build community, catalyze valuable ideas, efforts, creativity and resources into an action plan that contributes to a cohesive and integrated revitalization plan for the southern region and Puerto Rico,” the organization said.
Among the activities are Restart Foundation’s “Activate Puerto Rico,” a regional series of events to “amplify existing projects and enterprises, introduce and steward the conversation and dialogue of the region’s stakeholders, and set up systems of engagement after the event.”
Activate Puerto Rico includes pecha kucha presentations and interactive panels presenting topics such as energy, housing, land title and trusts, telecommunications, water and tax incentive laws Acts 20 and 22; Community Round Table Discussions & Catalyst Launch; and Round Table Discussions “reflecting on Activate Sessions”; as well as “defining next steps to move forward.”
Activities include Agriculture Day, “to learn and open discussion about the agriculture sector and interconnected sectors such as energy and blockchain”; Ponce Art & Blockchain Day, “featuring a tribute to local architect and designer Maruja Fuentes Viguié with a focus on women’s contribution to Puerto Rico’s rich art history and blockchain’s insertion into this local space”; Tu Camino Empresarial Tour & Demo Day; and Friday night Restart Concert, featuring Los Vigilantes.
Restart Foundation will be contributing a minimum of $15,000 in grants to groups and entities that present “impactful programs that contribute to accelerate growth within the southern region,” the organization said.
“The core of Restart Foundation’s work is based in collaboration. During the past year we have been diligently meeting and joining efforts with local partners to understand and assess real needs and opportunities, as well as building relationships with global organizations so that together, we may have the most impact. This collaborative effort has assisted us in the development of integral short and long-term goals and strategies aligned to programs and projects that attend to real needs and would bring the most value. We have developed important bridges across the island and we look forward to building many more in the southern region with #RestartWeekSouth. We invite and encourage all individuals and organizations to join us and participate in the wide diversity of events scheduled for the week,” expressed Adam Krim, program director of Restart Foundation.
“Intellectual capital is a terrible thing to waste. Sadly, much of it has escaped the island. Restart represents not a movement, but an opportunity to create the models to be replicated around the world, right here in Puerto Rico. And with that comes great responsibility, to make those models inclusive, and to ensure the through them the wellbeing of generations to come,” said Francisco Laboy, chief strategy officer at Genmoji.
Restart Foundation’s initiatives include a $50,000 donation to the University Start-Up and Innovation Factory space at the University of Puerto Rico in Mayagüez; a Hackathon in Mayagüez with over $12,000 in scholarships, cash prizes and cryptocurrency; an art auction that provided the funds to bring solar power and refrigerators to six homes through the volunteer organization Off Grid Relief; and a donation in collaboration with Southwest Airlines that facilitated travel for 30 volunteers of the R.E.L.I.E.F. Foundation to work in different communities and supported the creation of a telemedicine facility that serviced over 120 patients with limited access to medical care after Hurricane María.
Registration for the events ranges from free to suggested donations starting at $3 for locals to $250 and up for new residents and visitors. Scholarships are available for local participants as well.