FirstBank, Center for Puerto Rico partner to help young entrepreneurs
With the aim of promoting entrepreneurship among young people between the ages of 18-35 by helping them acquire the skills necessary to develop or strengthen an enterprise, FirstBank has granted a donation of $15,000 to the Entrepreneurial Training Program for Young Adults of the Center for Puerto Rico.
The Center is the operational arm of the Sila M. Calderón Foundation. Since its launching in 2015, the Entrepreneurial Training Program has provided specialized technical training and graduated 146 young adults.
The program has three main components: instruction, technical support, and entrepreneurial activities. The young businesspersons participate in 16 sessions of entrepreneurial training throughout a period of six months (a total of 256 hours), covering 20 topics such as business financing, planning, organizational structure, sales, budget, accounting, marketing, and ethics.
During this period, participants develop or strengthen a business project in the areas of agriculture, craft jewelry, food services, and elderly care services, among others.
“We are a banking institution with a history of commitment to the welfare of the communities we serve. For the past 10 years, we have supported the Center for Puerto Rico in its various entrepreneurial development projects,” said Catherine Ríos, community compliance and reinvestment officer at FirstBank.
“This time we have provided an opportunity for 44 young entrepreneurs to acquire the knowledge and skills required to bring their business projects to life, as well as creating jobs. We also offer a workshop on business financing to help launch or strengthen their business initiative,” she said.
“With this program, we provide the knowledge and resources needed to define and plan a viable business. Each participant receives individual guidance and assistance according to their needs, so that they may put their acquired knowledge into practice. This year, we have 44 candidates graduating in August,” said Evelyn Nieves-García, director of program and services at the Center for Puerto Rico.
Businesses that were developed during the trainings include psychological and naturopathic service centers, as well as training services for women and teachers. There were also businesses related to costume jewelry, traditional games, pet supplies, creams and soaps.
“Thirty-nine percent of the participants are in the initial business concept state, and 59% have strengthened their existing business. Entrepreneurial Training Programs at the Center are designed to develop and strengthen small businesses in order to create jobs and contribute to Puerto Rico’s economic development,” Nieves said.
According to a study by the Estudios Técnicos analysis firm, as of September 2018, the contribution of local businesses to the Gross Domestic Product was 53%; these enterprises constitute 96% of businesses and 83% of employment on the island.