Gov. Luis Fortuño announced Monday the government has granted $103 million in loans through programs run by the Economic Development Bank, under the “Because You Can” initiative that caters to small- and mid-sized businesses and pursues job creation and economic activity.
In a news conference held at the Guaynabo headquarters of C7 Global, a local company that has been able to expand in part through government loans, Fortuño offered details of funding already granted through the program to students, ex-convicts and health professionals, federal contractors, and artists, among others.
“We’re here to highlight success stories that illustrate the ingenuity and courage of thousands of Puerto Ricans who work to drive their businesses forward,” he said. “To realize their dreams, they have found an ally in the EDB, which has bet on self-employment and entrepreneurship as tools to generate jobs and economic activity.”
C7 Global, founded in 2007 by Eduardo Ramírez and Enrique Peral to distribute a few lines of paper products, received a $900,000 credit line from the EDB that allowed the company to expand the business to more than 100 products and hire 20 new employees. C7 Global delivers goods to more than 2,000 local points of sale, managing inventory through its 30,000 square-foot warehouse in Guaynabo.
“We have awarded $103 million to small and medium businesses, and the EDB has set a goal of reaching $190 million. This is possible thanks to the EDB’s approach, which seeks out non-traditional, emerging entrepreneurs and especially women entrepreneurs,” said Fortuño.
“The EDB is more flexible in the design of credit programs and risk management, in addition to assuming greater risks than private banks,” he said.
Specifically, the loans highlighted during the activity included: $112,000 granted to Nimsy Ruiz González, for her dental practice; $126,700 to Luz Ríos Lebrón, for a clinical lab in Cayey; $174,150 to Yazmín Deynes, for her medical practice; $310,000 to Noliar Inc, a company that makes vests, bags, tent accessories and gas masks; $300,000 to Kandor Manufacturing Inc., which makes military uniforms, among other clothing items; and $20,000 to Running Films Production.
The approvals also include loan funding to three former convicts, Yamil Pérez, Daniel Chamorro and Andrés Merced, who each received $2,500 to open their own businesses, and “put their talents at Puerto Rico’s disposal,” he said.