(Credit: José R. Madera)
Colmena66, a new specialized network that offers entrepreneurs, merchants and organizations tools and referral services, free of charge, was unveiled Wednesday to help participants start and grow their businesses in Puerto Rico.
The specialized directory includes resources or service providers by area, a calendar of events of interest for entrepreneurs and immediate support to meet entrepreneurial/ business needs. Colmena66 is the result of a program developed and promoted by the Puerto Rico Science, Technology and Research Trust, executives said.
The services included in this referral network offers:
- Easy access and connection to a network of specialized service providers with broad range expertise through a hotline and Resource Navigator, an online search tool.
- Quick link to appropriate resources that will assist in starting or growing a business venture.
- A central calendar of events from the local entrepreneurial ecosystem that enable users to identify training opportunities and related topics.
The Colmena66 launch announcement was released just prior to the Global Entrepreneur Week celebration, which takes place Nov. 14-20.
“Communities all across the world are fast realizing the value and economic benefit of making entrepreneurship easier,” said María Meyers, founder of SourceLink, a resource business network that spans in more than 30 communities in the United States and beyond.
“With SouceLink’s solutions, Puerto Rico is making sure business-building resources are visible and accessible to its entrepreneurs and that small businesses are connected with the help they need to start, grow, change lives, create jobs and strengthen the local economy,” she said.
Colmena66 stems from the need to help entrepreneurs find the best resources at the right time, the service’s Manager, Denisse M. Rodríguez, said.
“We achieve this by referring entrepreneurs to the resource providers that will help them start of grow their business, and by monitoring the results,” she said.
‘We want to continue strengthening and developing the network so more people can benefit from it, especially now that there’s great enthusiasm toward entrepreneurship. This kind of network has proven to be very effective in the United States and elsewhere in the world, and we are very pleased to implement it locally,” Rodríguez added.
Among the resources that collaborate with Colmena66 are: Nonprofit organizations, government agencies and academic institutions.
There is a wide range of services entrepreneurs can look up to for their businesses by using the network, which includes: Marketing, financial planning, sales, access to capital, technology, product development, education and training, government contracts, and operations, among others.
“Colmena66 is perfectly aligned with our mission to invest, facilitate and build capacity to continuously advance Puerto Rico’s economy and its citizens’ well-being, through innovation-driven enterprises, science, and technology and its industrial base,” Science Trust CEO Lucy Crespo said.
“This way we help entrepreneurs develop their business concept and grow,” said Crespo.
The network available in Spanish, allows users to gather more knowledge about services provided by each of the organizations involved, as well as collect important information and data (statistics) of each organization’s growth.
Another advantage proposed by this new program is that it identifies the needs of today’s entrepreneurs and identifies which ones are not being properly addressed by the entrepreneurial ecosystem, which may result in the development of new programs and collaboration opportunities, program executives said.