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DDEC Puerto Rico Innova Program scouts for innovative business ideas

The Department of Economic Development and Commerce (DDEC, in Spanish) announced an open call for the Puerto Rico Innova initiative, coordinated under the agency’s Trade and Export Program, which seeks to promote the development of innovation applied to business projects with high expansion potential. 

This new edition will be led by the DDEC, in conjunction with the University of Puerto Rico’s Mayagüez campus (UPR-RUM)

“Puerto Rico is innovative, but to compete with the rest of the world, it is necessary to apply this capacity by thinking outside the box in the business field,” DDEC Secretary Manuel Cidre said. “With this objective in mind, and in conjunction with the UPR Mayagüez campus, we launched this open call to continue training those people who have an innovative business idea so that they can give themselves the opportunity to validate it.”

Cidre further noted that the Puerto Rico Innova initiative has spurred more than 200 business ideas in its past three editions.

For his part, UPR-RUM Dean Agustín Rullán Toro said: “The Mayagüez campus has a solid ecosystem of innovation and entrepreneurship that has been strengthened for decades, thanks to the work of our Center for Business and Economic Development [CNDE, in Spanish], ascribed under the Business Administration School.”

“From the Center, in collaboration with various institutional initiatives, multiple business and training projects have been forged for members of our community in the western region and the rest of the island,” Rullán added.

“This collaborative agreement with the DDEC, through the Puerto Rico Innova program, consolidates that achievement and allows the training route to continue for more entrepreneurs, through the CNDE platforms and its resources with experience in the promotion of business, innovation and technology, so that it results in Puerto Rico’s economic development,” he said.

In the first phase of the project, 100 entrepreneurs will be selected for the in-person business training program that will be offered in Ponce and Mayagüez, where participants will develop the skills needed to increase their chances of success.

The companies will have the opportunity to analyze and develop their idea, product or service, study the target market and its consumers, as well as draft their business plan and identify possible sales and distribution channels.

They will also receive guidance on promotion, advertising, permitting and legal aspects, as well as information on financing and commercial viability. The trainings will begin the first week of March and will be free of charge.

In the second phase of the program, a selection process will be opened through a panel that will choose the best 30 projects that have completed their business plan. These entrepreneurs will have access to specialized and individual strategic advice and will be assisted by a specialist mentor who will advise them in the technical areas of business development.

Qualifying finalists will be able to participate in a Demo Day in which they will have the opportunity to present their business ideas to potential investors. The winners of the Demo Day will receive seed capital for the development of their business idea. The first-place winner will receive $20,000, the second-place winner will receive $15,000 and the third-place winner will be awarded with $10,000.

Those interested must complete a participation form and go through a selection process in which the best business proposals will be chosen. These will be evaluated under the criteria of feasibility, commercialization, technical and financial capacity.

The open call will run through Feb. 24. For more information, email programaprinnova@ddec.pr.gov.

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

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