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Colmena66 to host virtual Boricua Emprende Entrepreneur Fest

Colmena66 — a program of the Puerto Rico Science, Technology & Research Trust — is putting out an open call to register for the third annual Boricua Entrepreneur Fest (BE Fest), an entrepreneurship education event that “builds, connects and celebrates the island’s business ecosystem.”

The BE Fest is an annual event designed for small and medium-sized enterprises to connect with the help they need to launch, grow, change lives, create jobs, and strengthen the local economy.

This event is for all audiences: entrepreneurs in all stages of business development; of all industries and sizes; the diaspora; the academic community; mentors; the public sector; financial institutions; investors; and business support organizations.

Just like in 2020, this year the BE Fest will be held virtually on Nov. 11, from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Registration is free.

The BE Fest stands out for providing a robust digital experience that fosters business relations. There will be networking sessions where every participant is matched with other entrepreneurs, and they may turn on their cameras to get to know each other and exchange ideas and contact information. Likewise, attendees may join group mentoring sessions with experts from a range of diverse backgrounds.

“Without a doubt, the Boricua Entrepreneur Fest serves as a gateway to all the business support available in Puerto Rico and is one of the ways in which Colmena66 facilitates entrepreneurship, by connecting and fomenting the business community,” said Denisse Rodríguez-Colón, executive director of Colmena66.

“We’re eager to celebrate it on Colmena66’s 5th anniversary and, in addition, during the Global Entrepreneurship Week, which we also celebrate in Puerto Rico along dozens of affiliated organizations,” she said.

Participants will be able to interact with other business owners and industry leaders, receive training through educational labs where experienced entrepreneurs will hold in-depth discussions on how to start and grow a business. Some of these topics include access to capital, technical assistance, grants for innovative enterprises, business accelerators, training, product development, marketing, legal affairs, regulation compliance, and much more.

The full agenda featuring these topics and the event’s schedule is now up and available to download.  

A space called “Expo: El Panal” will feature more than 60 booths of entrepreneurship support organizations within the Colmena66 network ready to offer free counseling. These include incubators, accelerators, co-working spaces, technical assistance services, access to capital, mentorship, and academic and government resources. As with the networking session, there will be the option to turn on the camera for a more personal and interactive experience.

“Colmena 66 is one of our pillar programs for entrepreneurship. The BE Fest Virtual is designed to help both the new strain and established entrepreneurs amplify and execute their business visions,” Science Trust CEO Lucy Crespo said.

“This, to promote a prosperous and equitable economy, in keeping with our mission to invest and develop the necessary capacities to advance the economy of Puerto Rico and the well-being of its citizens with companies based on science, technology and its industrial base,” she said.

After hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017, the 2020 earthquakes, and now during the COVID-19 pandemic, many Puerto Ricans have been motivated to launch their own businesses, but they don’t know how to begin or how to boost their existing companies.

The BE Fest was inspired by the Entrepreneurship Week in New Orleans, which responds to the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina and explores how entrepreneurship is a vital tool to reactivate a community’s economy, especially after a natural disaster. The first edition made its successful debut in 2019 and last year it was held virtually due to the pandemic.

“Puerto Rico has built a robust, active and collaborative entrepreneurial support business ecosystem,” said Carlos Jiménez, Co-Founder of Yees!.

“We’ve prepared a menu of activities at all entrepreneur stages so that they can benefit from the excellent resources that will be exhibiting during Global Entrepreneurship Week. The table is served, and we hope that more than 10,000 entrepreneurs will benefit from this week in Puerto Rico,” he said.

During the Global Entrepreneurship Week, the local referral network attached to the Science Trust will offer free business training during this virtual event with seminars, mentoring and connections with resources to launch, finance and grow companies.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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