The Latino Center for Economic Development (LEDC) announced that it opened a new office in Mayagüez, making it the only community development financial institution on the island’s west side.
The office will work to strengthen and expand Puerto Rico’s business ecosystem and build resilience among local businesses, providing access to capital, officials said.
“In LEDC we’re excited and proud to be part of the ecosystem that supports small businesses in Puerto Rico,” said Marla Bilonick, executive director of LEDC.
“The people of Puerto Rico have proven to be strong and resilient, and again, and the small business community is equally powerful,” she said.
“We look forward to working with entrepreneurs to help them stabilize and grow their businesses. We seek also create economic opportunities for them, their families and the people they employ,” Bilonick said.
The expansion of the organization comes at a time when an estimated 8,000 small businesses closed in Puerto Rico during the year after Hurricane María struck in September 2017. To date, 25% of small businesses on the island are still recovering, and figures collected show that lack of access to capital and business resilience support have contributed to the slow recovery.
Through this new office, LEDC will offer loans between $500 and $250,000 to connect entrepreneurs with low or moderate capital, generate business resilience and expand the small business community.
LEDC believes starting a business is one of the few strategies to generate income and wealth, and hopes to support some of the most neglected Latino businesses in the nation.