Doral Bank unveiled details Wednesday of the second edition of its “Mujeres d Éxito,” institutional program that aims to bolster Puerto Rican women’s professional and economic development. The bank will be investing $1 million in several initiatives within the community program, namely “Despegue Empresarial,” “Fondo Doral,” “Internado Doral” and “Ruta Mujeres d Éxito.”
“In Puerto Rico, one of every three families is led by a woman. As women’s professional participation increases, so does her accountability in the financial decision-making process. Therefore, it is evident that if we support women in the entrepreneurial sense, we will also support Puerto Rico’s economy and job creation,” said Jesús Méndez, vice president of Doral’s Puerto Rico operations.
“For that reason, delivering on our promise of making the difference in our communities, this year we increase the assignments given through the program’s initiatives,” he added.
“Mujeres d Éxito” launched in 2011 and has had a positive impact on more than 500 women through capital and mentorship, bank officials said. The bank’s program has also propelled the creation of more than 50 jobs, all in women-led businesses.
One such case is that of María de Jesús-Rodríguez, who through Despegue Empresarial was able to expand her hydroponic produce business under the “VerdeEs” brand, and is now distributing her products to public school lunchrooms.
Through “Despegue Empresarial,” which has benefitted 10 businesses led by women and has created more than 30 jobs, Doral will distribute up to $50,000 to 20 small, women-led businesses this year. The program will also assign $30,000 in loans through the Puerto Rico Community Foundation to benefit 15 additional businesses.
This program’s application deadline is June 24, at 5 p.m. The application is found online and should be delivered to Doral’s Roosevelt Avenue headquarters.
Doral also partners with the Community Foundation to develop microloans through Fondo Doral, which last year helped create 14 new businesses and 28 jobs in a variety of industries such as tourism, art, education, food service and finance. One of those organizations, nonprofit Incubadora Microempresa Bieke, is in Vieques, where the unemployment rate is significant.
“Women are drivers of economic development. It is a fact evidenced in multiple studies, and one we believe to be true at [the Puerto Rico Community Foundation]. Collaborating with Doral for the second year in a row by administering Fondo Doral, part of the program Mujeres d Éxito, fills us with satisfaction,” the nonprofit organization’s President, Nelson I. Colón-Tarrats, said.
“This collaboration lets us be part of the strengthening of the nonprofit sector to provide the capital needed to promote self-employment. We are convinced that if we strengthen the entrepreneurial capacity of women, we will also strengthen the economic activity of their communities,” he added.
This year, Fondo Doral will also benefit new nonprofits, the Communities Business Financing Corporation and the United Retailers for Camuy Community Development, and renew support to others already benefiting, namely the Trujillo Alto Economic Development Corporation, the Ceiba Economic Development Corporation, the Promotion and Human Development Office, as well as the Vieques nonprofit. Doral’s total investment will be $100,000.
Internships and roadshow
Through its “Internado Doral” initiative, the bank will extend its internship program, working with partner universities to give students a chance to gain hands-on experience. Last year, the bank offered about 12 students a chance to learn the ropes, working with Sacred Heart University, University of Puerto Rico in Río Piedras and Bayamón, Universidad del Turabo, and the Polytechnic University to pick the interns.
The next internship session begins in August, along with the school semester. As part of this initiative Doral also sponsors “Style a Student,” to prepare senior year students for their first job through leaderships and work ethics workshops.
Meanwhile, Doral returns with an expanded “Ruta Mujeres d Éxito,” which will make stops in four new locations: Mayagüez, Ponce, Río Grande and Puerto Nuevo. The bank will offer free workshops every Saturday in June.