3 local startups win Puerto Rico Innovation Challenge
The Puerto Rico Innovation Challenge, implemented by Creative Startups and that involved 32 local companies and eight non-governmental organizations, announced that three local startups: La Jibara Pizzeria Creativa, Higuaca Adventours, and West Five Collective, won the competition.
The selected companies were chosen for their innovative and disruptive ideas, their impact on their local communities and their viability as a global brand, organizers said.
The Innovation Challenge accelerator was created in 2007 in New Mexico and has contributed to the growth of more than 400 companies globally, as a response to the need to equip entrepreneurs with the mindset and tools for their growth and the economic development of their projects.
The project was supported by the US Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration through the Economic Recovery Support Function and in collaboration with Puerto Rican entities ConPRmetidos, Bluetide, Wovenware, Titin Foundation and Novaces, Puerto Rico chapter.
“We’re excited to welcome them to our network of alumni, mentors and partners. Puerto Rico is undoubtedly a hotbed of culture and creativity,” said Alice Loy, CEO of Creative Startups.
“We look forward to continuing to elevate visionaries dedicated to the blue economy and creativity and create lasting and sustainable resources,” said Loy.
Around 87% of the participants said they have received good help to build their business and grow into new markets.
“Our mission is to leave travelers with an unparalleled and atypical experience of the island of Puerto Rico, venturing through the undiscovered neighborhoods of the most fascinating cities for an authentic experience,” said Ashley Somoza of Higuaca Adventours.
Higuaca offers individualized experiences and cultural immersion, including transportation, educational workshops, some meals, and the rental of basic equipment.
The Challenge was divided into two cohorts meeting twice a week and ended in the “Creative Startups Puerto Rico Deep Dive & Pitch Night” event, where all the companies and NGOs made their final presentations, and the judges selected the three winners.
They were 78% of respondents who said they had greater access to local enterprise resources and networks and 84% who feel more confident now to present their business to new opportunities.
“EDA’s priority is to provide support through integrated economic development strategies, empowering in an inclusive way new entrepreneurs, self-employment and non-profit organizations by promoting different tools,” said Juan Bauzá, Representative in Puerto Rico of the EDA.
“This series of sessions of a collective of ideas represents an important financial and resource investment in the development of professional training to empower entities to be more effective,” said Bauzá.