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Citi, Puerto Rico Community Foundation join to boost microenterprises

Puerto Rico Community Foundation President Nelson I. Colón-Tarrats Puerto Rico Community Foundation President Nelson I. Colón-Tarrats

The Citi Foundation and the Puerto Rico Community Foundation recently came together to launch the first “Citi Small Business Award” to recognize microfinance institutions, as well as small businesses and entrepreneurs that drive economic development island communities.

The award (known as PREMIC) cycle, to be overseen by the Puerto Rico Community Foundation, will be held for the first time in Puerto Rico, which is joining more than 35 countries that currently bestow the distinction.

The award was created in 2004 as a project of the United Nations, with whom Citi Foundation joined and later institutionalized in several countries to recognize the efforts of entrepreneurs throughout the world.

In Puerto Rico, the effort seeks to recognize the passion and drive of small businesses to generate economic activity in communities, as well as the important role microfinancing institutions and business incubators play in promoting the creation of these businesses.

“The island, now more than ever, needs to strengthen the microenterprise sector, as this is a very important sector in boosting community economic development,” said Nelson I. Colón-Tarrats ,  Puerto Rico Community Foundation president.

The award focuses on three categories: the “Microfinance Institution of the Year Award” with $10,000 in cash; the “Microenterprise of the Year Award” with $5,000, and the “Microenterprise of the Year Award” with $10,000 in aggregate to be split into six awards: two $3,500 winners, two $1,000 winners, and two $500 winners.

“The Community Foundation has been working closely with community economic development for more than 15 years, so when Citi offered us be part of PREMIC, we accept immediately. We believe in the power of the community to stimulate economic development,” he said,

PREMIC seeks to raise awareness about the important role of microenterprises play to propel Puerto Rico’s social and economic empowerment and at the same time, stimulate the creativity and innovation of the microenterprise sector.

“Citi recognizes that all viable and sustainable economic ecosystems depend on a strong and healthy microenterprise sector,” said Guillermo Gómez, Citi Country Officer for Puerto Rico. “With the arrival of PREMIC to Puerto Rico we affirm our commitment to the people by helping to strengthen and recognize this sector and thus boosting Puerto Rico’s economic development. Entrepreneurs and business incubators create jobs, opportunity and security in the market.”

An advisory committee comprised of community and business leaders who are experienced in the field of microenterprsies and community economic development will develop the Citi Award for Puerto Rico. The nominations process is already underway. Interested parties must request an application that must then be submitted via email to premic@fcpr.org on or before Aug. 31.

Author Details
Business reporter with 25 years of experience writing for weekly and daily newspapers, as well as trade publications in Puerto Rico. My list of former employers includes Caribbean Business, The San Juan Star, and the Puerto Rico Daily Sun, among others. My areas of expertise include telecommunications, technology, retail, agriculture, tourism, banking and most other areas of the economy.

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