The Department of Economic Development and Commerce, through its Youth Development Program, is sponsoring a second edition of its “Entrepreneur Challenge” that seeks to train and encourage young people between the ages of 21 and 29 to develop their companies.
“This year we again join forces with the INprende organization to launch the ‘Entrepreneur Challenge’ for the second time, which will allow other young entrepreneurs to make their business idea viable through the help of experts who, combined with the help we will provide to those selected, can set up their companies,” DDEC Secretary Manuel Laboy said.
The last edition of the program resulted in the training of 100 young entrepreneurs throughout the island, the validation of 20 business ideas and the development and launch of four companies, he said.
To participate, interested young entrepreneurs must go online and apply to be part of one of the four trainings that will take place in different locations in Puerto Rico.
This year, 125 entrepreneurs will be selected in total for this stage, 25 more than last year. For this phase, young people have until Mar. 27, 2020 to apply. After the group training, the best 10 ideas will be chosen for an intensive counseling process.
The 10 people selected after going through the advisory process will have the opportunity to present their ideas to a panel of experts who will select the four winners who will receive the economic incentives.
Youth Development Program Director Roberto Carlos Pagán said the entity is establishing partnerships with different sectors to join efforts to provide better opportunities to the younger generation, “which are an important part of the island’s workforce to get their business proposals going.”
“The winners of the last edition are the best example of what can be achieved by the mentors and the help we provide them to be part of Puerto Rico’s economic development,” he said. “Young people are the island’s present and so it’s important to guide them in the initial stage of their lives as entrepreneurs,” Pagán said.
This year the challenge will be supported with a digital platform, an islandwide workshops tour, business coaching for those selected, and a final competition for $25,000 in incentives from the DDEC’s Special Economic Development Fund.
In addition, those selected will have the opportunity to apply for micro loans and to qualify for Law 135 for incentives and financing for young entrepreneurs.