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Guayacán, Liberty Foundation support, award seed capital to 100 startups

Grupo Guayacán and Liberty Foundation are launching a new entrepreneurial training program — “Conectando tu Negocio al Éxito” (“Connecting your Business to Success”) — with an inaugural class of 100 emerging businesses from throughout Puerto Rico,

The start of the program marks a “historic milestone for both organizations and takes their collaboration, which started in 2016, to the next level by benefitting more than 160 entrepreneurs in a single program,” the organizations said.

Liberty Foundation, Liberty Puerto Rico’s social responsibility arm, contributed $500,000 to the creation of the program. This is the highest amount received by Guayacán to design an educational curriculum tailored for early-stage entrepreneurs, it confirmed.

“Conectando tu Negocio al Éxito” offers mentoring and access to capital to emerging businesses and nonprofit organizations throughout the island. This initiative seeks to promote entrepreneurial growth and innovation to boost Puerto Rico’s socioeconomic development.

These businesses and organizations operate in 41 municipalities — 74% are led by women, and 87% are already generating income, while the rest are about to launch their products and services into the market.

The participants represent a variety of industries, and include alumni from other local entrepreneurial development programs, such as I-Corps Puerto Rico, EnterPRize, Centro para Emprendedores, Pre18, and Parallel18.

The educational program began in-person June 21 with an orientation and a Business Model Canvas workshop. The initiative will continue in hybrid format and will run until November with 10 workshops which will be replicated and offered at four locations in the island: San Juan, Bayamón, Mayagüez, and Ponce.

Along with the educational workshops, entrepreneurs will receive mentoring, technical assistance, and a cash grant of $500 for each participating business. Additionally, all 100 participating businesses will have the chance to compete for one of three seed capital prizes, which total $100,000.

“We are grateful for Liberty Foundation’s support to create ‘Conectando tu Negocio al Éxito.’  This collaboration allows us to expand our offering, supporting high potential entrepreneurial projects by providing the boost they need to grow,” said Laura Cantero, Grupo Guayacán’s executive director.

“In addition to offering a strong educational curriculum and the opportunity to compete for seed capital, receiving mentorship from Liberty’s team of experts will be extremely valuable for the participants as they implement their growth plans,” she said. 

“This program is a clear example of the corporate sector’s crucial role in supporting the growth of Puerto Rican businesses. This talented group of entrepreneurs is proof that it is possible to succeed even during the most challenging times, and we are very proud to be able to support them,” said Cantero.

The $500,000 contribution to Grupo Guayacán is part of a comprehensive initiative by Liberty Foundation to support projects that promote the island’s socioeconomic development with a total investment of $1 million recently granted by the nonprofit as part of the relaunching of the company’s brand.

“The growth potential these 100 businesses have confirms that entrepreneurs in Puerto Rico are innovating and taking risks to take their businesses to the next level. The entrepreneurial education the program provides will help them strengthen their operations and make their goals a reality, benefitting their customers and the economic activity on the island as a whole,” said Yadira Valdivia, Liberty Foundation executive director.

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

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