Puerto Rico start-ups looking to finance their operations will have the chance to vie for three cash prizes totaling $80,000 to be awarded during this year’s eighth annual edition of the “EnterPRize” business plan competition, sponsor Grupo Guayacán announced Tuesday.
Aside from bestowing awards of $25,000, $15,000 and $10,000 in cash to the top three winners, for the first time since its establishment, the EnterPRize competition will grant two special awards in the categories of “transactional technology” and “women entrepreneurs,” sponsored by Evertec and Doral Bank, respectively.
“The support of the private sector is a clear signal that it’s in everyone’s interest to support Puerto Rican entrepreneurs. The trust received from institutions as recognized as Evertec and Doral promotes the growth of the competition,” said Roberto Pérez-de-Frías, executive director of Grupo Guayacán.
The logistics of the competition is as follows: a panel of judges will select 15 finalists that will move on to polish their business plans through advanced workshops and with the help from seasoned professionals from different fields. That list will be whittled down to five finalists who will then move on to participate in advanced oral presentation and financing research workshops.
The deadline for submitting proposals through the www.enterprizepr.com website is Sept. 27. The winners will be announced in late November.
“The local entrepreneurs will find in EnterPRize the structure they need to confirm the viability of their business plans and the motivation to make their entrepreneurial dreams come true,” Pérez-de-Frías said. “The competition has become the ideal way for third parties to motivate an entrepreneurial vocation among Puerto Ricans.”
Private sector chips in
For the first time since the competition began, nonprofit Guayacán has garnered the support of two local businesses that will finance two special awards to be granted this year.
Evertec will award $25,000 to the best entry in the area of transactional technology, as well as will help develop, implement and market the winning project in the countries in which it does business. Meanwhile, Doral will concede a special $5,000 prize to the best business plan submitted to EnterPRize by an enterprising woman.
“With this award, Evertec shows its commitment to innovation by supporting the development of new technologies and encouraging the introduction of new solutions, while recognizing the value and creativity of Puerto Rico’s emerging entrepreneurs,” said Manuel Morales-Lema, senior vice president and processing product manager for Evertec.
Meanwhile, Lucienne Gigante, senior vice president of marketing, public relations and community for Doral Bank, said the institution’s commitment is to be “a facilitator of tangible tools for women entrepreneurs and future female entrepreneurs that contribute to their professional development.”
Guayacán officials explained that the awards are not mutually exclusive. In other words, if the first prize is bestowed upon a woman, she will take home the $25,000 from Enterprize and the $5,000 from Doral.
So far, the EnterPRize competition has received and analyzed more than 2,000 business ideas, Guayacán officials said Tuesday. All of the competition’s awards are granted on a reimbursement basis, so winners must show proof that they are following through with their plans prior to getting the money.