Grupo Guayacán awards $293K in seed capital to 14 startups in Puerto Rico
Grupo Guayacán closed 2022 by setting a record awarding $293,500 in seed capital to a group of Puerto Rico startups that took part in the annual EnterPRize Business Competition.
This is the largest amount of seed capital funds awarded in the competition’s history, the entity stated.
The top 3 prizes were granted to the companies TALE+, Materia Madura, and Di Amalfi PR, respectively. These companies collectively garnered 60% of the prizes.
The first place, with a $25,000 prize, went to TALE+, a platform focused on offering speech-language pathology services. This company also received the Health Innovation prize of $20,000 (sponsored by MCS Foundation), the Social Innovation prize of $5,000 (sponsored by Luis Alberto Ferré Rangel and Sarah Bird), and an in-kind prize from the Jefas y Jevas platform.
The second place, with a $15,000 prize, went to Materia Madura, a company that develops sustainable materials using waste to design functional products. Moreover, Materia Madura received the Uno con Puerto Rico: Environmental Conservation prize of $20,000 (sponsored by FirstBank), the Woman Entrepreneur prize of $22,500 (sponsored by Aerostar Airport Holdings, Familia Díaz Rivera, Oriental Bank, and TOTE), and the Tu Estrella Vive prize of $5,000 (sponsored by Heineken), tying with the record amount of seed capital won in 2020 by company Evocare.
Materia Madura also received an in-kind membership from Asociación Hecho en Puerto Rico.
Third place, with a $10,000 prize, went to Di Amalfi PR to help boost their business selling fresh pasta and other Italian products. This company also received the Investors’ Choice Award of $10,000 and the Agrifood Entrepreneur prize of $20,000 (sponsored by Puerto Rico Farm Credit and Walmart).
These three companies were also awarded advertising space valued at more than $245,000, sponsored by bMedia Group. The Department of Economic Development and Commerce, one of the program sponsors, announced a matching of funds. Its contribution was equal to half the total amount of the main prizes, yielding a greater impact on the winners and reinforcing its relationship with Guayacán, which began in 2005, Guayacán said.
“We’re closing a memorable year for Guayacán with this awards ceremony. Despite the challenges, we had the greatest number of active programs in our entire history, gathering more than 200 enterprises in different development stages,” said Laura Cantero, executive director of Grupo Guayacán.
“We focused on strengthening and expanding the support we offer to give them a better chance of success in their growth journey. Entrepreneurs have become a cornerstone of the island’s economic activity, and Guayacán reaffirms its mission to support them as it has done for the last 26 years,” she added.
During the awards ceremony, five additional companies received special prizes of $20,000 each: the multidisciplinary mental health clinic Reset Wellness earned the Sustainability award from Popular Inc. and StartUp Popular; Higuaca Adventours obtained the Visitor’s Economy award from the Puerto Rico Tourism Company; the organization Olga Iglesias Project, which supports classical vocal artists through its program, captured the Arts & Culture award from Flamboyán Arts Fund and Fundación Ángel Ramos; Guariké received the Innovation & Technology prize to help boost their agro-technological services with the sponsorship of Assurant, Ferraiuoli LLC, and Liberty PR; and Watric Energy Resources was selected by EO Puerto Rico as Student Entrepreneur so it may continue developing new alternative water resources and an automated irrigation system for indoor plants.
Student Karlos Miranda, who leads Watric, was also selected to represent Puerto Rico in the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards (GSEA) in April 2023.
Meanwhile, Allec, a company that developed a centralized inventory management platform, received the FinTech: Defining the future of payments prize for $10,000 (sponsored by Visa). It is the first time this prize is presented in the competition. The educational enterprise Psicoalternativas won Guayacán’s Sembrando Futuro prize of $5,000, while Fundación Génesis obtained the EnterPRize Alumni Give Back award of $1,000, sponsored by TerraFirma, which was the first-place winner in last year’s competition.
Mampostea’o, a former Guayacán participant and graphic design service provider, offered an in-kind brand redesign award to the company Parques Imaginarios. The Local Community Impact in-kind prize at co.co.haus and the co.lab went to Afro Inspira, and the Creciendo en Finca Explora in-kind prize from the Puerto Rico Techno-Economic Corridor (PRTEC) was given to la microFinca.
The award ceremony was held during the organization’s end-of-year event, where the 12 graduating companies from the 2022 Guayacán Venture Accelerator (GVA) program also received recognition: Freshmart, Fusion Consulting Group, Gopanza, Habitat for Humanity of Puerto Rico, Microjuris, MINDS Grupo Publicitario, Prime Air Corp, Pura Energía, Rebexa Group, SONS, Teatro Breve, and VIRISA.