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Grupo Guayacán celebrates end-of-year event with nearly $450K in prizes

Grupo Guayacán Inc. (GGI) held its 2018 end-of-year event last night to recognize the winners of its business competition, EnterPRize, as well as the companies graduating from the 10th edition of the Guayacán Venture Accelerator (GVA).

The ceremony was held at the Puerto Rico Museum of Art and included more than 350 attendees from the local entrepreneurial ecosystem, sponsors and corporate partners, and other GGI collaborators.

The 13th edition of the EnterPRize Competition included a group of 30 semi-finalist companies from which 19 finalists were selected to compete for more than $150,000 in seed capital prizes awarded by GGI and a large group of corporate sponsors, in addition to in-kind prizes valued at more than $250,000.

The winners of the three top prizes awarded by Grupo Guayacán were CINCO, True Leaf Farm and Zomio, who received the prizes of $25,000, $15,000 and $10,000, respectively. CINCO, a quality management software for the life sciences industry, also won the Investors’ Choice Prize ($22,000) selected and sponsored by a group of local and international investors who participated in the past Guayacán Demo Day, for a total of $47,000 in seed capital.

True Leaf Farm, winner of GGI’s second prize ($15,000), is a farm producing 26 varieties of microgreens for local restaurants and other customers in the food market. True Leaf Farm also won the Food and Agribusiness Prize ($12,000) sponsored by Puerto Rico Farm Credit, Puerto Rico Coffee Roasters and Caribbean Produce Exchange.

Zomio, winner of the third-place prize ($10,000), also received the Innovation Prize ($5,000) sponsored by Ferraiuoli LLC, for a total of $15,000 in seed capital. Zomio creates new intelligent technologies focused on security. Its first product, ARK, is a device that detects the presence of a child, adult or pet inside a vehicle and generates an alert if it is left unattended. Guayacán’s three top prize winners will also receive billboard space valued at over $240,000, sponsored by BMedia.

Nine other start-up teams also won cash and in-kind prizes granted by the competition’s sponsors. The skincare and wellness line, Lattuga Organics, won the new Bio Economy Award ($10,000) sponsored by Titín Foundation and The Bio Economy Group, and the Social Enterprise Award ($10,000), another of the main awards of the night, sponsored by Banco Popular, for a total of $20,000 in prizes.

Additionally, OnApp, a technological tool created for mental health professionals, received two of the evening’s new awards: Health Innovation ($10,000) sponsored by the MCS Foundation, as well as the Disruption Award ($2,500) from Integro Success Unlimited. GuardDV, a mobile application to improve the safety of victims of domestic violence, received Customer Experience Prize ($10,000), sponsored by Liberty Puerto Rico and a distinction in the Technology category which includes a programming course valued at $6,000 from Codetrotters.

The winners also included: Alba Enid winner of the Woman Entrepreneur Award ($5,000) sponsored for the first time by Friends of Puerto Rico; Agro Empresa Black Belt winner of the Environmental Conservation Award ($5,000) from FirstBank; Understhand winner of the Student Entrepreneur Award ($2,500) sponsored by Entrepreneur’s Organization (EO) Puerto Rico Chapter which also grants the opportunity to compete in EO’s Global Student Entrepreneur Awards (GSEA) in Macau, China.

Local Guest in the Sharing Economy category that includes a space in Piloto Café valued at $3,000, sponsored by Piloto 151, and Spoon Food Tours in Tourism and Hospitality category sponsored for the first time by Kingbird Innovation Center at Universidad del Este, which includes six months of office space and mentoring valued at $3,000.

Lastly, Grupo VESAN received the special Resiliency Prize for $2,500, sponsored by the Massachusetts United for Puerto Rico fund, organized in collaboration with The Boston Foundation, The Latino Legacy Fund and leaders of the Puerto Rican community in the city of Boston.

The fund was created at the end of September 2017 to support the recovery efforts in Puerto Rico after the passage of Hurricane María.

During the event, GGI announced a new collaboration with Heineken, which included a special sponsorship for the event and a surprise award of $5,000 to True Leaf Farm as part of its most recent campaign, Vive tu Estrella, to highlight and support entrepreneurship in Puerto Rico. The surprise prize brings the total seed capital earned by True Leaf Farm to $32,000.

In addition to the award, it was announced that Heineken will donate $1 to Guayacán entrepreneurs for each visit to their new creative space Warehouse 1873, located in the Hato Rey area. The newly opened space will be open during weekends for the month of December.

The ceremony also included the graduation of the 2018 class of the GVA, a program that celebrates its tenth edition this year. The graduated companies were: Able Sales, AZ Engineering Group and Conspro Corp. (both fellows of the Puerto Rico Builders Association), EDP University, IT Group, La Ceba, Levain Artisan Breads (Foundation for Puerto Rico fellow), Nazareno Services (MCS Foundation fellow), Piloto 151, South Caribbean Financial Services and Synerlution.

Another surprise during the event was the participation of the Hispanic Federation, which awarded a $4,000 grant to each of the 11 GVA graduates, totaling $44,000. The funding was granted as part of the Federation’s economic recovery efforts in Puerto Rico.

The GVA graduation also celebrated the fourth consecutive year of the Pay-it-Forward scholarship program created and sponsored by Jorge López of Fuller Group (GVA 2014).

“The entrepreneurs, and the achievements we celebrate tonight, speak for themselves. At Grupo Guayacán, we are immensely grateful to the group of collaborators and sponsors who make our work possible, particularly those who have decided to join our efforts this year,” said Laura Cantero, executive director of Grupo Guayacán.

“There is no better way to wrap up this year than to celebrate the incredible accomplishments of this group of brave entrepreneurs, who have shown unwavering commitment to their businesses and to Puerto Rico,” she said. “We are convinced that local businesses will be the drivers of Puerto Rico’s economic recovery and honored to be able to support them every day,”

In addition to the growing group of sponsors and collaborators, GGI’s programs are sponsored by the Puerto Rico Industrial Company.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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