Sixty-seven small businesses in the areas of services, agriculture, manufacturing and technology received a combined $36.5 million in loans from the Economic Development Bank Tuesday, through which they will create some 5,700 jobs, agency President Ivonne Otero announced.
A common element among the loan recipients is the high volume of women-owned companies that the EDB is helping, Otero said, during a news conference at La Fortaleza.
“These companies range from agricultural crops to technical training institutes, with a significant increase in women entrepreneurs, who constitute about 50 percent of this group of loans,” Otero said. “Women are increasingly turning to self-employment and this should not surprise anyone, since the last census shows that the are increasingly more women, at 52.1 percent of the population, and work longer, as 31 percent are heads of households,” Otero noted.
The list of businesses that received financing includes: Bieque Eco Tours; Jungle Park; Productos Mama Delia; Automeca Technical College; Netwave Equipment Corp.; Academia Señora de Fátima; and G&G Girls.
“At the EDB we’re reaching all sectors, working the approval of small and large loans, because for us all entrepreneurs are important,” Otero said. “These are the key to further strengthening the economy and achieving sustainable economic development.”
With a little more than a week to go before the end of the current fiscal year, the EDB has exceeded $180 million in loans on its way to reaching its $190 million loan approval goal. The agency will close the year with a $259 million loan portfolio.
Looking toward fiscal 2012, the agency is raising the bar, looking to push its loan portfolio to $280 million, Otero said.
“For the new fiscal year will continue to support self-employment through a variety of products we are working on targeting sectors historically neglected and that we’re sure will have a significant economic and social impact,” the public servant said. “We’re aware that providing capital to small and medium entrepreneurs establish their own businesses, boosts our island’s economic development.”