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Housing Dept. signs agreements granting $7.1M to 3 small business incubators

Puerto Rico Housing Secretary William Rodríguez signed three subrecipient agreements granting $7.1 million from the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG-DR) Program funds to be distributed to three entities through the Small Business Incubators and Accelerators Program (SBIA).

The grant recipients are the Boys and Girls Club of Puerto Rico, the University of Puerto Rico’s Mayagüez Campus, and the Sila Maria Calderón Foundation. The funds will be used to implement programs that contribute to the development of up-and-coming businesses on the island, Rodríguez said.

“This program has the goal of considerably increasing the success rates of the business community, a sector that definitely needs all of the help available to continue contributing to the economic development and growth of Puerto Rico,” said Rodríguez.

“Our priority has been providing the funds to those in greatest need, and through this program we achieve promoting an important sector and developing new entrepreneurs in the long run,” he added.

Former Gov. Sila M. Calderón, president of the Sila M. Calderón Foundation, expressed gratitude over having her foundation selected for the grant.

“This subsidy will allow us to elevate the level of offerings and capacities for emerging businesses, with objectives directed towards formation of businessmen and businesswomen in educational aspects and the practice of their business leadership, with the goal of making their businesses successful and sustainable,” said Calderón.

She added that the agreement would serve so that business owners are able to boost the creation and retention of employees, inject capital into the island, promote the consumption of local products, and potentially export local products.

Bárbara Rivera-Batista, executive director of the Puerto Rico Boys and Girls Club’s Vimenti Center, said the entity is “extremely grateful for the opportunity to continue amplifying our impact and commitment to eradicate poverty in Puerto Rico.”

She added that they “believe in the potential of the communities with social and economic disadvantages,” and that they recognize that “amplifying the opportunities for development and enhancement of business will be beneficial, not only for the business owners and their families, but it will also allow the creation of new jobs and support the economic development of our communities and our island.”

Meanwhile, the Chancellor of the UPR’s Mayagüez Campus, Agustín Rullán, said the college recognizes the importance of promoting innovation and creativity to contribute to the island’s economic development.

“We’re committed to supporting and strengthening a culture of entrepreneurship that favors the development of projects,” said Rullán.

“This grant strengthens our dynamic entrepreneurial ecosystem and it provides additional tools to increase its reach,” he added.

The director of the University’s Investigation and Development Center, Manuel Jiménez, said that the university feels privileged to be chosen for this program.

“This is the result of an advanced trajectory in topics of entrepreneurship and innovation from our campus,” he said.

The SBIA program has a $85 million budget and has received 114 applications. It supports the creation of organizational programs that provide services to small, up and coming businesses with grants of up to $2.5 million. The entities eligible to apply are nonprofit organizations, public higher learning institutions, municipal governments, community development organizations, or government agencies.

Author Details
Author Details
Daniela Valdés is a bilingual journalist and senior at Sacred Heart University in Santurce. She will graduate in June 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in general communications. Her bylines include ROOSTERGNN Global News Network and Merodea. She also has collaborated with STV Noticias, the only digital newscast in Puerto Rico that is completely produced by university students.
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