The Cooperative Development and Investment Fund (FIDECOOP, in Spanish) announced the availability of $40.5 million in funds for the strategic financing of companies organized under the cooperative model, the entity confirmed.
This fund is the product of the contributions by credit unions and a co-investment agreement with the government established since 2002. FIDECOOP also provides support and technical assistance in the development and strengthening of co-ops, in alliance with other entities of the cooperative movement.
“The economic reality we’re facing, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, has launched many people who seek to be self-sustaining into entrepreneurship,” said José Julián Ramírez-Ruiz, executive director of FIDECOOP.
“Co-op companies promote the development of collective initiatives and it’s undoubtedly the business tool for this, and our mission at FIDECOOP is to facilitate their establishment and development,” he said.
Before gaining access to the funds, co-op entrepreneurs must demonstrate knowledge and commitment to this philosophy and its values, Ramírez-Ruiz said.
“With the advice of FIDECOOP, emerging cooperatives will carry out feasibility analysis, business plans, operational processes, and the incorporation procedures required in Puerto Rico for this business model,” he said.
At present, FIDECOOP provides 15 financing tools to 11 different types of co-ops, in: education service providers; the agricultural sector; the needle industry; youth ventures in the food industry; retail; and electrical services and health, among others.
Interested entrepreneurs may find more information on the FIDECOOP website.