Grupo Guayacán, a nonprofit that seeks to couple private equity investment with a series of programs aimed at developing, strengthening, and advancing Puerto Rico’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, announced over the weekend the start of its annual EnterPRize Business Building Competition.
Since its inception in 2005, the entrepreneurial development platform has offered participants a chance to compete for seed capital and access to Grupo Guayacán’s network of investors and entrepreneurs to get their businesses off the ground.
Registration for this year’s competition opens April 1, Grupo Guayacán Executive Director Laura Cantero said.
“This platform provides potential entrepreneurs in their early stages of development, the training and preparation necessary to develop a scalable business, which increases their chances of success,” Cantero said.
“More importantly, EnterPRize gives them the opportunity to present their business plans to potential investors and receive support from providers identified by Guayacán in areas such as accounting, marketing and advertising, among others,” she said.
The application period goes through April 30th. Any team based in Puerto Rico that has started executing a business can participate.
From May to November, selected participants will compete for one of up to 10 spots in Guayacán’s startup development platform. EnterPRize has awarded more than $1.5 million in seed capital and in-kind support to startup businesses in Puerto Rico over the past nine years.
Last year, 11 teams were awarded more than $100,000 in seed money, including those participating in the nonprofit’s Transactional Technology Track, as well as its agriculture, social impact, and women entrepreneur special prizes. Those teams are currently developing their businesses through the 2014 “Entrepreneur Support Services Platform.”
Participants are competing for a grand cash prize of $20,000 and up to nine other cash prizes of $10,000. Other prizes include a cash prize of $20,000 to the top transactional technology venture sponsored by Evertec, $15,000 to the top agribusiness sponsored by Puerto Rico Farm Credit and Puerto Rico Coffee Roasters and $2,000 to the top technology Reto 2.0 challenge, sponsored by GFR Media.
“At Guayacán we have re-envisioned our role within Puerto Rico’s business ecosystem and, taking into consideration our leadership in the development of entrepreneurs, we want to offer opportunities such as EnterPRize as a vehicle for economic development and strengthening of our ecosystem, aside from providing participants with a broader view of the possibilities and opportunities within and outside of Puerto Rico,” Cantero said.
This month and next, Guayacán will be offering free workshops to future entrepreneurs looking to validate their business projects and turn them into viable companies.
“Our island’s economic development will depend on the ability of its entrepreneurs to see beyond our shores,” Cantero said. “To achieve this, we must have a business sector strengthened through training and collaborative business support with organizations like ours.”