Parallel18, the global business accelerator that has been operating since 2015 as part of the Puerto Rico Science, Technology and Research Trust, released a study confirming that the 60 companies participating of the first two editions of its program generated more than $13.9 million in sales.
Of the sales reported by the first two generations of P18 that participated between April 2016 and April 2017, more than half were generated in Puerto Rico, and created 168 new employment opportunities on the island, according to the study revealed Thursday.
The report further shows that 30 percent of the companies covered are from Puerto Rico, and another 30 percent established operations on the island after being selected to participate in the accelerator program.
The results revealed are part of P18’s first economic impact study, which covers the first two program periods or generations (G1 and G2) and portrays positive results for the local business ecosystem, the nonprofit said.
P18 works in collaboration with the Puerto Rico Industrial Development Company and the Department of Economic Development and Commerce to attract and create high impact startups that range from Puerto Rico to global communities.
The report, developed by P18, was based on interviews and surveys with G1 and G2 participants of the program, which are selected after an open call to the public by a committee that rigorously evaluates emerging businesses in various areas.
Among the program’s offerings there are grants of up to $40,000, mentoring and individual consulting that the companies receive on important topics such as export, business contacts including investors, access to a professional and committed work team that help the companies achieve their business goals, and other additional services offered to the companies once they complete their program in the accelerator.
“It is a formidable task to bring various sectors and attract new talent to the accelerator,” Sebastián Vidal, executive director of P18, said. “The numbers and the data in the study demonstrate that while we are in search of high quality startups, they also look for us and that is a great satisfaction for the P18 team.”
“We extend our gratitude to all the colleagues and members of the business community, investors, the academy and collaborators who share with us their enthusiasm and provide us with the knowledge to strengthen and continue to foster a corporate culture in Puerto Rico to turn it into an important innovation hub,” he said.
Retention, global thinking as pillars of P18
One of the most important goals at P18 continues to be the retention of the Puerto Rican talent; including the prepared entrepreneurs who have returned to the country to continue their businesses here, thus promoting the local economy, while looking to export their services and products to new markets.
New entrepreneurs find it attractive to do business in Puerto Rico because of the low cost of living on the Island compared to other cities in the United States, and because it is a compact market they are able to reach more clients and get to know the players at a faster pace. In addition, proximity to markets and potential investors in the United States is another reason internationals entrepreneurs decide to do business in Puerto Rico, the nonprofit said.
Another of the pillars that promotes P18 is the diversity of ideas and global practices that nurture the program and the entrepreneurs involved in it to be able to compete in the global market.
This allows them to share the same space, have camaraderie between participants and create relationships as well as nourish themselves with professional and life experiences, and in many occasions, helps them to make better decisions.
“The results of the first economic impact report plus the philosophy behind Parallel18 make this program a powerful accelerator for local and international startups,” executives said.
The results of the study are released as a bill waiting for Gov. Ricardo Rosselló’s signature would change the executive composition of the agency — which has largely remained at the margin of politics since its inception — threatens the future of the Puerto Rico Science, Technology and Research Trust and its components.