Antonio J. Ramos, founder of Parknet, a technology company focused on controlled entry systems, was selected as winner of the local edition of the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards (GSEA) during a ceremony late last week.
GSEA is offered by the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO), and is one of the main global competitions for student entrepreneurs who actively run a business.
As winner of the local edition, Ramos will get the opportunity to compete in the global finals, which will be held in Frankfurt, Germany in April.
He will also receive a series of prizes sponsored by local partners and collaborators, including: $20,000 in advertising from Tactical Media Group; $10,000 in in-kind legal services from Ferraiuoli, LLC; $2,000 in branding consulting by Cobián Media; a branding kit by FASTSIGNS; a helicopter trip by Ecolift; and team uniforms by RondaPro.
The local GSEA competition is the first initiative stemming from a collaboration agreement signed by EO’s Puerto Rico Chapter (EO-PR) and Grupo Guayacán, Inc. (GGI).
The event, which was held at Fundación Banco Popular, brought together a group of representatives from multiple organizations that support the local entrepreneurial ecosystem, as well as other stakeholders from the local business community.
During the activity, two finalists, both students at the University of Puerto Rico’s Mayagüez Campus, had the opportunity to present their ventures to the audience and a jury that included Wally González from The Hertell Group, Esteban Colón from Badillo Saatchi & Saatchi, Teresa Caballero from FASTSIGNS, Jorge González from Tactical Media Group, Christian González from Wovenware, and Maricarmen Vargas, Founder of E-Sports and 2015 GSEA Puerto Rico winner.
Over the course of the last several weeks, EO-PR and GGI led a process to identify high potential young entrepreneurs currently studying in Puerto Rico. Participants had the opportunity to sharpen their presentation skills through a series of pitching and coaching sessions with EO members.
Through a competitive process, judges selected the two finalists that presented at the finals last week.
The local competition is the first initiative launched as part of the new partnership between EO-PR and GGI to maximize their impact on the local entrepreneurial ecosystem.
“We celebrate this new partnership with Guayacán, as well as this first collaboration. GSEA offers local student entrepreneurs a unique opportunity to compete and network with peers from around the world,” said Eugenio Torres, founding member of EO-PR and director of GSEA Puerto Rico.
The agreement, signed Feb. 15, will allow both organizations to launch a collaboration that will include sharing of resources, connections to EO’s global network, and the opportunity to increase impact on local entrepreneurs, both those that participate in GGI’s program, and those that are part of EO-PR’s membership.
“Collaborating with Guayacán, an organization with a demonstrated commitment to Puerto Rico’s entrepreneurial development, is an honor for EO Puerto Rico. We see Guayacán as an important partner as we continue to develop a series of new entrepreneurial initiatives,” said Carlos R. Cobián, founder of EO Puerto Rico.
EO is recognized for its wide network of entrepreneurs and expert resources around the world. The organization focuses on the advancement and development of entrepreneurs and business owners, both from a professional, and personal perspective.
As part of the agreement, EO-PR will provide GGI with access to a network of mentors, and instructors for GGI’s cornerstone programs, including EnterPRize, the Guayacán Venture Accelerator, and I-Corps Puerto Rico. EO-PR will also designate a Board Member to serve as liaison between both organizations.
For its part, GGI will provide EO-PR with new opportunities to engage with local entrepreneurial initiatives, as well as a chance to directly impact a new generation of entrepreneurs through initiatives such as GSEA.
“At Guayacán, we are committed to supporting new efforts to accelerate the development of our local entrepreneurial ecosystem,” said Laura Cantero, GGI’s executive director.
“We look forward to this new collaboration with EO that will allow us to increase our impact and link EO’s global network with local opportunities,” she said. This global vision is a key element to an ecosystem where scalable businesses can thrive and grow, resulting in significant economic impact for Puerto Rico.”