16 Puerto Rico entrepreneurs turn business idea into reality
Sixteen aspiring entrepreneurs recently completed the Foundation for Puerto Rico’s Emprende 360° business education program to turn their business ideas into reality.
After a 12-month process with leading organizations in the entrepreneurial ecosystem, the cohort developed 11 business ideas for the Coamo and Ponce region and was awarded $2,000 in seed capital to jump-start each business.
The Emprende 360° program began in December 2019 with the goal of decentralizing entrepreneurship education in the metropolitan area and developing new business ideas, using the visitor economy as a guide.
Together with INprende, Centro para Emprendedores, Grupo Guayacán and Causa Local, Foundation for Puerto Rico developed a sequential curriculum that integrates the methodologies of each entity, thus creating an innovative formula for the successful development of these business ideas and their owners, the nonprofit explained.
Participants learned about the different aspects of entrepreneurship through eight stages with established goals and objectives.
“The program’s impact area coincided casually with the communities that were shaken by the earthquakes, which in turn greatly affected the entrepreneurial ecosystem of the southern municipalities,” said Alma Frontera, director of economic development programs at Foundatio for Puerto Rico.
“Emprende 360°, without a doubt, was an incentive for these entrepreneurs who, despite the earthquakes and the pandemic, remained focused and today see the results of their work,” she said.
To close the program, the entrepreneurs participated in a virtual Demo Day, where they presented their concepts to a group of panelists composed by Luis Alvarado, president of the Southern Chamber of Commerce; Denisse Rodriguez, executive director of Colmena66; Rafael Ortíz, general director of Moonsail Capital; Abner Roque, Change Management Lead of Grupo Navi; and Tanairí Miranda, owner and president of BARRAS.
This initiative allowed the entrepreneurs to expand their contact network in the business ecosystem and receive feedback from this panel of experts and mentors, the nonprofit said.
“My mother saw the ad on Instagram and, as always, supporting me in everything, she encouraged me to apply, said I had nothing to lose. In addition to providing us with electronic equipment for future operations, the program not only provided me support along the way, but also gave me a lot of motivation during the process”, said José Cintrón-Bartolomei, who through the program has established La Bomba, a restaurant that combines service, creativity and entertainment to provide a holistic Ponce-style cultural experience.
The new business ideas are:
- Boricuestre, an agroecological farm focused on well-being and emotional health;
- D’Terraza, dedicated to the production of handmade pies for the gastronomy industry;
- Ruperto’s Design, an online clothing store with custom-made pieces, mostly aimed at plus-sized women;
- PR Soar Puerto Rico Summit for outdoor, adventure and recreation, an outdoor recreational program where visitors can learn and experience workshops and/or skills activities such as camping, hiking, climbing and more;
- Boriculture, an online business dedicated to the sale of authentic Puerto Rican products, from groceries to arts and crafts;
- Rejoice Natural Beauty, dedicated to the development of skincare products with natural ingredients;
- Phoenix Game Club, a global virtual platform for gamers, designed with a methodology that guarantees rankings to players according to their performance, with opportunities to compete worldwide;
- Sain Dessert, dedicated to making guilt-free desserts with vegan and keto alternatives;
- Thermal Villas, RV park and mobile hostelry located near the Coamo thermal baths that will have elements of glamping and ecotourism; and,
- Living Wellness Lab, a place that will provide training and wellness services in harmony with nature.