Looking to boost growing local businesses, the Fundación Mochileando 100×35, sister organization to Puerto Rico’s most far-reaching travel blog, Mochileando, launched the “Despega tus sueños” (“Let your dreams soar”) initiative, to award $5,000 to two budding entrepreneurs.
Wilson Santiago, travel blogger and president of the nonprofit organization, explained that this program is relevant right now, when the vast majority of establishments have seen a significant decrease in sales and income as a result of the lockdown in place as per Gov. Wanda Vázquez’s executive order.
The order in effect — for now — until Mar. 30 mandates the shutdown of non-essential businesses and a 24/7 curfew for all local residents and tourists, to contain the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19.
“Mochileando is a tool that, in addition to making the travel market more accessible to local travelers, it also supports economic development in Puerto Rico, we support locals,” he said.
“This program was born from the search for alternatives to promote locals. We want those who are starting their business, or have a business idea, to have access to this opportunity,” said Santiago.
“Mochileando is an example of what happens when others believe in your dreams. We’re giving back to Puerto Rico a little bit of everything it has given us,” said Santiago.
The application platform opened today, Mar. 25, and will be open through April 30. The winners, to be selected by a jury, will be announced in June. To participate, those interested should click on the link and couple the application with a video lasting four minutes or less explaining their business idea or dream.
The Fundación Mochileando 100×35 emerged after Hurricane María hit the island in 2017 to provide assistance to the most affected and remote communities.
Two years after its creation, the organization has channeled and delivered $2.2 million in aid to 45,000 people. It is made up of a group of volunteers from different areas, including doctors, nurses, lawyers, scientists, engineers, among other professionals.