In his first presentation as the new head of Puerto Rico Trade and Export, Ricardo Llerandi on Thursday outlined the agency’s plans to “promote, encourage and facilitate the development of the local business class.”
“The strategies outlined in the new work plan aim to promote more opportunities for the development of more local businesses to create jobs and to compete locally and abroad,” said Llerandi during a presentation at the “Minority Enterprise Development Week 2017” event in San Juan.
“To achieve this, we have identified various initiatives, existing and newly created, which will be strengthening and encouraging to develop their full potential and thus significantly contribute to our economy,” said Llerandi to those attending the event organized by the Puerto Rico Products Association.
The agency’s plans include developing a program for innovative small- and mid-sized entrepreises to encourage companies with high impact and export potential in strategic sectors such as: advanced manufacturing, aerospace & aviation, life sciences, environmental sciences, energy and technology.
The agency will also develop a program called “Business Briefcase for Women,” which will provide all necessary tools for the development of their own business.
Similarly, Trade and Export will promote a support program called “Senior Entrepreneurship,” through which elderly people will learn how to maximize their experience, skills and talents to become entrepreneurs.
The agency will also craft initiatives to develop exportable voluntary chains, creative industries, young entrepreneurs, as well as programs to strengthen the export of products and services, among others.
Llerandi said Trade and Export will be hopping on the competitive advantages offered by the U.S. Small Business Administration’s HUBZone Program, which seeks to promote economic development and job growth in economically disadvantaged areas through access to federal procurement opportunities. Currently, Puerto Rico has 55 towns that are 100 HUBZone-certified.
“One of the programmatic commitments of this administration is to increase purchases by the federal government from local businesses,” Llerandi said.
“To achieve this goal, we will soon announce the orientation process to help entrepreneurs who want to be certified under the HUBZone program, so that they have the opportunity to benefit from its incentives,” he said.