Grupo Guayacán Inc. (GGI) announced Monday the official kick-off of its EnterPRize Business Competition which provides startups with access to an educational curriculum including workshops, mentoring, coaching, and the opportunity to compete for more than $100,000 in equity free seed capital from GGI and a group of corporate partners.
The kick-off event will take place Mar. 18 at Oriental Bank in Hato Rey and will feature a keynote by Robert “Bob” Dávila, former GGI executive director and strategic and mergers & acquisition advisor, on “Designing Startups: An Intro to Starting and Building Your High Growth Business.”
During the kick-off event, start-ups will have the opportunity to learn more about the EnterPRize application process, the structure of the competition, and hear from each of the Special Track Sponsors.
Participants will also get a taste of the type of high quality educational content, which has characterized EnterPRize since its launch in 2005.
The competition’s top three ventures will receive $50,000 in prizes by GGI: $25,000, $15,000, and $10,000, respectively. Additionally, participants are eligible to compete for an additional $54,000 in Special Track Prizes in a series of specialty focus areas:
- Agriculture: $12,000 sponsored by Puerto Rico Farm Credit, Puerto Rico Coffee Roasters, and Caribbean Produce Exchange. As a new feature this year, Puerto Rico Farm Credit will offer an additional $4,000 prize to the most innovative agriculture venture;
- Social Enterprise: $10,000 sponsored by Fundación Banco Popular;
- Customer Experience: $5,000.00 sponsored by Liberty Puerto Rico;
- Innovation: $5,000 sponsored by Ferraiuoli LLC;
- Sustainability: $5,000 sponsored by Fundación Aireko;
- Environmental Conservation: $5,000 sponsored by FirstBank;
- Woman Entrepreneur in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Math (STEAM): $5,000 sponsored by Oriental Bank;
- Student Entrepreneur: a direct pass to the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards sponsored by Entrepreneur’s Organization Puerto Rico Chapter; and,
- Access Latina: a direct pass to participate in the next Access Latina Cohort.
This year, EnterPRize adds new sponsors to its lineup, including: Liberty Puerto Rico, an Enrique Adsuar Founding Partner of the Guayacán Endowment Fund, and the Entrepreneur’s Organization Puerto Rico Chapter.
“We’re honored to be sponsors of the EnterPRize business building competition to promote and help develop new businesses and entrepreneurs in Puerto Rico,” said Naji Khoury, president of Liberty Puerto Rico.
“We have focused our award on innovation in the area of outstanding customer service because we believe the customer’s experience is one of the most important elements in any business mix, regardless of the industry,” he said.
“We would like to turn our commercial society’s mindset to one where the customer is at the center of everything we do,” Khoury added.
EnterPRize is GGI’s longest-standing entrepreneurial development offering, and continues to evolve by strengthening its educational curriculum and seeking new partnerships for Special Track Prizes.
This year’s competition will feature 10 educational workshops beginning with new in-depth sessions on Customer Discovery and Business Model Canvas delivered through a partnership with the Georgia Institute of Technology and adapted from GGI’s I-Corps Puerto Rico program.
Additionally, participants will have access to workshops on financials for start-ups, legal structure and intellectual property protection, tax incentives for emerging businesses, marketing, and sales, among other topics.
The educational curriculum is complemented with a series of coaching sessions where start-ups will have the opportunity to pitch their ventures to a group of experienced entrepreneurs, investors, service providers, and instructors who will provide feedback and recommendations.
The competition’s finalists will also benefit from additional workshops and coaching from veteran angel investors Troy Knauss and Susan Preston, trustee and chair, respectively, of the Angel Resource Institute (ARI).
GGI’s partnership with ARI will allow start-ups to receive specialized support to prepare for raising capital from investors to scale and grow their ventures.
“At Guayacán, we’re proud to launch this year’s EnterPRize competition with a renewed educational curriculum and a new group of partners that will allow us to support innovative local start-ups that can grow from Puerto Rico to serve global markets,” said Laura Cantero, GGI’s executive director.
“We’re thankful to our core group of corporate sponsors who continue to place their trust in EnterPRize as a platform for driving innovation and accelerating entrepreneurial development,” said Cantero.
The competition will focus on its selection process on the following criteria: highly innovative idea and business model, significant market potential, and strong team. EnterPRize’s eligibility requirements are the following:
- Be an original project of the team;
- Be based in Puerto Rico;
- Not have received institutional investment before entering the competition;
- Have less than $500,000 in revenues and $100,000 in liabilities since inception;
- Be in operations for less than five years; and,
- Have a team with at least two members.