The Puerto Rico Economic Development Bank announced Wednesday it has spurred the creation of 217 new businesses since January 2013, through $22.3 million in approved financing. The new operations have generated 1,668 direct jobs on the island, the agency said.
“Our administration has a definite north; economic development of the island through entrepreneurship,” said EDB President Joey Cancel-Planas. “Each of these 217 new businesses that have started operations with the bank’s financial support, is an achievement for Puerto Rico.”
“From the smallest to the largest business, all are important, because each represents at least one less person in the unemployment line,” he said.
The most recent opening was A.SPACE Labs, a digital manufacturing lab located within the Interamerican University’s Bayamón campus, which launched operations last Friday. Through a $75,000 financing from the EDB, the new space “not only represents the birth of a new company, it will be a space for other ideas can be transformed into small and medium businesses,” he said.
Rafael Aponte-García, owner of the new space and trademark and intellectual property attorney, said the EDB’s support was “essential for a great idea to materialize. Today, thanks to funding from the EDB, we’re actively helping other entrepreneurs shape their ideas and specify their concepts.”
According to financial industry data, 40 percent of the EDB’s originations are loans of less than $1 million. The data contrasts to private banking statistics, which indicate that only 20 percent of loans are below $1 million.
“These numbers are irrefutable evidence that the EDB is the real financing alternative for small and medium businesses. We’re the only bank in Puerto Rico that is committed to the talent and creativity of our entrepreneurs, taking risks that traditional banking does not assume,” Cancel-Planas said.
So far this Fiscal 2015 — through Mar. 20 — the EDB had approved 147 financing applications worth $102.9 million.