Loíza Glocal Bootcamp creates 30 jobs, $100K in economic activity
Eleven businesses and entrepreneurs from Loíza and nearby towns were able to create or maintain 30 jobs, export products and generate more than $100,000 of combined economic activity through commercial and collaboration agreements, after participating in the Loíza Glocal Bootcamp, developed by nonprofit Vitrina Solidaria with the support of the Puerto Rico Community Foundation.
The estimated economic benefit of the nine companies that participated is preliminary and has additional growth potential in the coming months because several are in the pre-production phase and others are analyzing the impact of their projects, said Raquel Skerrett-Escalera, executive director of Vitrina Solidaria.
In total, five new direct and 14 indirect jobs were created, and another 11 were retained.
“We’re very happy because the entrepreneurs have worked hard in the past months. They took on a great challenge, gained confidence and were able to believe in their projects and business ideas. We feel a deep admiration for what they’ve achieved, and we’ll continue supporting them providing advice and support,” she said.
Some of the success stories include Ciri Esco Nutritional Hidroponic, which developed prototypes of hydroponic products and secured sales agreements representing more than $83,000 with Supermercados Selectos and Mr. Special, in Loíza, and FamCoop in Río Grande. It also began supplying seven Kairos food trucks with its production. Entrepreneurs Sixdaira and Carlos Cirino doubled their plant production to 8,000 pounds a week and employed 15 people.
Other businesses that participated and thrived under the program are: Enamora tu cabello; Ruta del Sabor; AJ Virutas y Heno; The Sweetest; Enchanted Girls Spa Party; Cubuy Fresh Mushroom; Escalera Sport Fitness; and Deli’s Bake Always.
Entrepreneur Maridelis Romero anticipated that in the coming months she will leave her current job to dedicate herself full time to Deli’s Bake Always — her own business.
The Loíza Glocal Bootcamp was a seven-week program that included more than 40 hours of free training, practical sessions and support on matters such as entrepreneurship, environment and community. Eight companies that are in more advanced stages were provided with a marketing kit with professional photos and videos worth a combined $9,600, organizers said.
“Loíza Glocal Bootcamp joins the racial equality and community recovery initiatives that the Community Foundation develops in Loíza to contribute to the integral well-being of children, youth and families,” Foundation President Nelson Colón-Tarrats said.
“This program, in particular, activated the local economy by creating and sustaining new businesses and jobs, promoting equity, social justice, and community prosperity. It increased the community capital of the participants and the community,” he said.
“In addition, it inserted acceleration and marketing possibilities in their business landscape, as well as export opportunities, which we can see through Enamora tu cabello, which already has a client to export its product to in Arkansas. Their stories reveal the potential for development in Loíza’s economy,” Colón-Tarrats said.