Agro Tropical, Inc., a Puerto Rican start-up that produces sustainable high quality agricultural products, including vegetables and high performance seeds, emerged as the winner of the 11th edition of the “EnterPRize” business competition hosted by Grupo Guayacán Inc.
During a ceremony held Tuesday night, another three start-ups — STEAM, CROSSTECH and Estancia Verde Luz — also received seed cash prizes to move their ventures forward.
“Guayacán’s ultimate objective is to improve entrepreneurial capacity in Puerto Rico. Since 2005, EnterPRize has been an important launching pad for many local companies,” said Laura Cantero, executive director of CGI. “We’re proud to partner with our sponsors in order to recognize top entrepreneurial talent and award the seed capital these ventures need to begin scaling their businesses.”
Agro Tropical nabbed three of the night’s prizes, totaling $30,000: the Agriculture Award ($15,000) sponsored by Caribbean Produce, Puerto Rico Coffee Roasters, and Puerto Rico Farm Credit; the Social Enterprise Award ($10,000) sponsored by Fundación Banco Popular; and the Innovation Award ($5,000) sponsored by Ferraiuoli LLC.
“Through its I-Corps Puerto Rico and EnterPRize programs, Grupo Guayacán has helped my business reach the necessary traction to become engaged in Puerto Rico’s entrepreneurial ecosystem with a global mindset,” said Duamed Colón, president of Agro Tropical.
Agro Tropical’s win is consistent with the growing participation of innovative agribusinesses in the competition, a trend that has increased significantly during the last few editions of EnterPRize.
“I feel a huge sense of satisfaction and pride, knowing the great progress we’ve made sponsoring the agriculture prize for three consecutive years,” said Ricardo Fernández, President of Puerto Rico Farm Credit and three-time sponsor of the prize. “This award has served as a tool to develop a vibrant ecosystem for agriculture entrepreneurs.”
Agro Tropical is an innovative agri-business that shows Puerto Rico can develop cutting edge technological projects in agriculture, he said
Another of the winning start-ups was CROSSTECH with its product, The Green Barrier, an eco-friendly alternative to concrete barriers used for safety on roads and highways. This team received both the Environmental Conservation Award, sponsored by FirstBank, and the Sustainability Award, sponsored by Fundación Aireko. This edition of EnterPRize also included a number of new prizes, such as Innovation, sponsored by Ferraiuoli LLC, and Social Enterprise, sponsored by Fundación Banco Popular.
Since 2005, the EnterPRize competition has impacted more than 1,800 start-ups and granted upwards of $800,000 in seed capital.