Evertec is looking for the next technological application that will turn the financial world on its head. The next PayPal or Square. And to make it a reality for a Puerto Rican entrepreneur, the company is willing to put its money — and its corporate muscle — to work.
To find that blockbuster solution, Evertec is partnering with Grupo Guayacán, offering $25,000 in cash to the best entry in the area of transactional technology submitted during this year’s EnterPrize business plan competition. The processing company is also willing to help the winning project develop, implement and market the solution in the countries in which it does business.
“We believe this is a great opportunity to develop new young entrepreneurs, which is why we want to get the word out there and see a high level of participation in Grupo Guayacán’s EnterPrize competition,” said Manuel Morales-Lema, senior vice president and processing product manager for Evertec, in an interview with News is my Business.
“We want to see just how many entrepreneurial people there are in Puerto Rico that want to develop something related to financial applications,” he said.
Late last month, Guayacán announced the 8th edition of the EnterPRize business plan competition, which has received and analyzed more than 2,000 business ideas since its inception. This year’s round of proposals must be submitted by Sept. 27.
“EnterPrize has the vehicle in place to identify ideas, but they haven’t necessarily found too many in the area of transactional technology. We figured this was a great fit, by sponsoring and motivating someone in technology, we may just find the person that puts something groundbreaking out there,” Morales said.
Seed funding is key, but…
For Morales, who in 1999 walked into Popular Inc. CEO Richard Carrión’s office with the prototype for what is known today as TicketPop, the money is a good incentive, but having a support system is just as important.
“I mean, in 1999, we were four kids who walked into Carrión’s office with an idea that he liked and bought. His backing resulted in the 2002 launching of TicketPop,” he said. “We had no idea that thing we created in our office one day would become what it is today.”
And while seed funding is important, he said having the ability to work with an established company such as Evertec, which has operations in 16 countries throughout the region, can make breaking into the market that much easier.
“Beyond getting the $25,000, the winner will have the opportunity to have the island’s largest transactional technology company listen to their idea, open its ecosystem to them and help them commercialize the idea,” Morales said. “That’s an option we’re offering, it’s not mandatory.”
To spread the word about its partnership with Guayacán, Morales is heading a series of orientation sessions focusing on technology and the need for innovative solutions, including a meeting this week in Mayagüez.