Gov’t agencies to promote entrepreneurship after end of jobless benefits
The heads of the Puerto Rico Economic Development Bank and the Labor Department signed a collaborative agreement to provide funding and grants from the Small Business Financing-CDBG-DR program to new and existing entrepreneurs who received unemployment and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefits.
People who qualify for the microentrepreneur financing program may receive up to $25,000 for a five-year term, at an annual interest rate that could fluctuate between 4% and 8%.
“We’re executing initiatives to boost economic development and job creation. This agreement between the Labor Department of and the EDB establishes financing as a viable option for the thousands of citizens who were economically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic so that they can develop their own businesses,” said EDB President Luis Alemañy.
“Through this collaborative agreement, we can offer financing to residents who meet flexible borrowing requirements that private banking doesn’t offer,” he said.
“We want to present ourselves as an option to ensure that these participants become entrepreneurs,” he said.
Program participants will be exempt from paying commitment and handling fees, although legal entities will be charged $100 for loan processing. Additionally, people ages 21-29 can apply for up to $10,000 to establish a business under the Youth Business Program loan with a fixed 3% annual interest rate.
Some of the requirements to participate in the initiative include a business plan, an annual projection of income and expenses, financial statements, certificate of incorporation, and in the case of a legal entity, the lease of a location or letter of intent, as well as a credit check.
Labor Secretary Carlos Santiago said “we know that many people who received unemployment benefits and the PUA need additional help to start their business. This agreement facilitates the assistance that people require to take the next step in their business careers.”
The collaborative agreement was finalized when unemployment benefits for thousands of citizens who were displaced by the pandemic expired and responding to the need for these workers to be reintegrated into the workforce, the officials said.