The Guayacán Venture Accelerator will select 10 local companies next month to participate in advanced executive education and feedback from local and international investors to support their expansion within and outside of Puerto Rico. The GVA program is run by Grupo Guayacán Inc., a nonprofit Puerto Rican venture capital fund manager.
The GVA, the only program of its kind in the Caribbean, features professors from top business schools in the world, as well as other high-caliber professionals who share their time and expertise with local entrepreneurs looking to take their businesses further.
Details of this year’s edition of the GVA program were presented this week to more than 20 companies that, along with any others interested, have until June 30 to submit their applications through the http://www.guayacan.org/gva website.
Several companies that participated in prior editions also took part in the event, offering testimony of the impact the program had on their sales and expansion plans.
“Our company started in 2010 with three employees and the goal of capturing a local $30 million market. Today our perspective, work team and goals have a scope that we never dreamed of — 32 employees, $12 million in sales and the potential to conquer a $330 million market,” said José Álvarez, founder and CEO of Surgical Solutions, who also confirmed that his company is now representing the products of a European firm in 28 countries in Latin America.
This year the program will offer eight modules of practical training in an intensive format taught by high-caliber resources such as: John Mullins, London Business School professor; Tom Kosnik, Stanford professor; Peter Bessey, CEO of Scotiabank Puerto Rico; John May, Chairman Emeritus of the Angel Capital Association; Randy Thomson, president of Venture Capital Alberta; Roberto Dávila, president of DHD Services; and Fernando Rovira, partner of the Ferraiouli, LLC firm.
These modules will be offered from August to December during alternate weekends. In addition to the educational component, the program offers a ninth module designed to offer participating companies the opportunity to present their expansion plans and capital requirements to local and international investors.
The “Demo Day” expects to attract investors from various countries and regions including the U.S., Canada and Latin America.
“The GVA’s mission is beginning to be validated by one of the best metrics of a growing entrepreneurial ecosystem — the commitment of capital by investors,” said Grupo Guayacán Executive Director Roberto Pérez.
The GVA is designed for growing companies with proven business models, a stable customer list and an executive team capable of effectively executing the strategies learned through the modules, almost parallel to the program. Their selection will be based on the scalability of their business model, expertise and depth of its management team and evidence of sustained growth, Guayacán said.
Some of the companies that have been part of the program are Rock Solid, INVID, Surgical Solutions, Princess, CEGSoft and Los Cidrines.