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Foundation for Puerto Rico, SBA open call for ‘Pulso’ cohort

Foundation for Puerto Rico announced the launch of the second call for applications for the Pulso training and mentoring program, which will run through July 15.

The program, which emerged after a $1 million grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration as part of the Community Navigators Pilot Program, had an “excellent” reception from the public at the launch of its first cohort, receiving more than 250 applications to join the program and actively impacting 50 businesses in the northern region of Puerto Rico, officials said.

The grant is part of a $100 million initiative to provide funding to nonprofit organizations, state and local governments, universities, and other entities to work with the SBA to support specific sectors of the business community and assist during the economic recovery process.

“Although the flexibilization of safety and health measures across the United States and Puerto Rico, small business owners are still facing the challenges presented by the pandemic and the economic recovery process,” said Josué E. Rivera, SBA district director for Puerto Rico and the USVI.

“So, it’s vital that we continue to support as many small businesses as possible. With this program, we’re taking an affirmative step in the economic recovery and development of participant businesses, decentralizing assistance, and impacting the northern region of the country,” he said.

Through this grant, Foundation for Puerto Rico will continue to provide training services, technical assistance, and access to resources to underserved small businesses in the northern region of the island, particularly the municipalities of Arecibo, Barceloneta, Camuy, Dorado, Florida, Hatillo, Manatí, Toa Alta, Vega Alta, and Vega Baja.

Participating businesses will benefit from a progressive curriculum, where experts from Colmena66, Centro para Emprendedores, INprende, Brands of Americas and Latino Economic Development Center will provide technical assistance and coaching at each stage.

The Community Navigators Pilot Program will help small businesses receive support and access to financial assistance programs that can help them recover, grow, and respond to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Over the course of the first cohort of the program launched in February 2022, we were able to witness the great interest our small businesses have in growing and learning how to cope with the challenges of the modern world,” said Anneliz Oliver, Foundation for Puerto Rico’s Program Manager.

“As Community Navigators, we’re committed to continuing these efforts in this second cohort by implementing a business development model in which, as businesses move forward, entrepreneurs work on different elements to optimize their businesses and access capital with the guidance of leaders within the entrepreneurial ecosystem,” she said.

The first call for Pulso was launched in February 2022. The program will last two years and will benefit nearly 150 businesses in the selected municipalities through three separate calls for proposals.

The program is composed of five stages or steps, starting with the creation of a radiography of each business, followed by guidance in the implementation of innovation strategies, creation of a business plan with marketing strategy, implementation of digital commerce, and training in credit, finance, and accounting. In addition, entrepreneurs will receive individualized assistance to apply for financing through products designed based on their realities.

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

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