Six Puerto Rico-based growth companies got together for the first time over the weekend as Grupo Guayacán, Inc. kicked-off the 8th edition of its Guayacán Venture Accelerator (GVA) program with a welcome meeting for its new participants, the organization announced Monday.
Through an advanced and interactive curriculum, the new GVA class will embark on an in-depth analysis of their current business model and operations to develop aggressive growth plans that allow them to scale locally and enter new markets beyond Puerto Rico.
The GVA’s 2016 class shows diversity, representing a variety of established and emerging industries and includes the following companies: Biopharma Consulting Services; Cobalto; Connect Road Assist; GEO-Engineering; New Energy; and Precision Prototype & Components.
The GVA is one of Guayacán’s cornerstone programs, and the only acceleration program in Puerto Rico targeting growth stage or mature companies that have been in operations for at least three years.
To be accepted into the program, applicants must demonstrate commitment and organizational capacity for designing and implementing growth plans including increased local market share, entry to new international markets, and the development of new products or services.
“As we prepare to celebrate Grupo Guayacán’s 20th anniversary, we are proud to kick-off this 8th edition of the Guayacán Venture Accelerator,” said Laura Cantero, Executive Director of Grupo Guayacán. “Our participants and alumni demonstrate why we work continuously to strengthen Puerto Rico’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.”
“These companies in particular have demonstrated great resilience in continuing to pursue growth opportunities and develop their businesses despite the adverse economic situation in Puerto Rico. We are committed to offer them the tools and support they need to succeed,” she said.
The program provides a rigorous curriculum of advanced executive education offered by distinguished local and international academics, professionals, investors, and executives. Over the past years, the program has demonstrated significant success with 75 percent and 63 percent of its alumni reporting increased headcount and sales revenues, respectively.
On average, GVA companies grow their sales by at least 30 percent after participating in the program, Guayacán said.
“I don’t think you can underestimate the GVA’s impact in accelerating high growth and technology based businesses in Puerto Rico. What I have seen in the past five years makes me wonder how more people don’t know about some of the exciting companies that provide real jobs and growth on the island,” said Randy Thompson, President of VA Angels and returning GVA instructor.
“Participating in the GVA and its Demo Day continues to be one of the highlights of my year,” he added.
Three executives from each company will have the opportunity to participate in a series of eight workshops comprising an intensive and practical curriculum. This session will feature a new workshop, “Effective Communications to Accelerate your Business,” delivered by GVA Alumnus Hebé Lugo of Strategic Minds.
Participants will also have exclusive access to mentoring and coaching opportunities in order to support them in the implementation of their growth plans in and outside Puerto Rico. These sessions will prepare the companies for GVA’s Demo Day, where graduating companies pitch their growth plans and capital needs to a panel of local and international investors, Guayacán confirmed.
This year also marks the second edition of the GVA’s “Pay-It-Forward” initiative. The fellowship, offered by GVA Alumnus Jorge López, CEO of Fuller Group, covers tuition for one company each year with the commitment that they will, in turn, cover a fellowship for a new company in the following year’s class.
In its first edition, Fuller Group sponsored the participation of renewable energy company Máximo Solar Industries.
“The ‘Pay-It-Forward’ initiative provided us with the opportunity to participate in the GVA, which helped us mature and acquire skills necessary for growth. We are honored to contribute equally to another fellow company so they too can have access to such valuable tools,” said Máximo Torres of Máximo Solar Industries (GVA 2015) who will sponsor 2016 participant, New Energy.
This year, Fuller Group will sponsor Connect Road Assist. The GVA will return in Fall 2017.