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Popular, Guayacán award $80K in equity-free seed capital to 3 emerging co’s

Three Puerto Rican companies were awarded a total of $80,000 in equity-free seed capital for their “outstanding effort” during the Scale Up 2023 Demo Day, where a panel of Banco Popular executives evaluated the participants and provided feedback.

A panel of judges consisting of Banco Popular executives – experts in finance, marketing and investment – selected the $50,000 main prize winner, Flexio, a technology and logistics company specializing in delivery services founded by Orban Mendoza-Valiente and Adrián Figueroa.

Flexio offers integrated logistics and delivery solutions for businesses (business-to-business services) and end consumers (business-to-consumer businesses). The company utilizes advanced technology and a network of drivers to offer flexible solutions for diverse business needs.

As it wrapped up its second edition, the Scale Up 2023 Program – a collaboration between Grupo Guayacán and Popular – reaffirmed its commitment to aiding small and medium-sized businesses in reaching their next growth stage by awarding special awards to select startups.

Isla Caribe, founded by Melina Aguilar to provide educational tours in Ponce and other historic areas across Puerto Rico, received a $20,000 acknowledgment in equity-free seed capital to boost its operations.

The other recipient was Insu Health Design, established by Doris Candelario and Mason Lucich, which received $10,000 to help develop Insu Portable, a smart mini refrigerator that allows patients to refrigerate and store their insulin without electricity.

In addition to the main prize and the two special acknowledgments, Popular will offer personalized support to all companies that met the program’s requirements, including investment and financing guidance or other advice tailored to each company’s needs.

“It’s important for Popular to keep backing programs that ensure the sustainability of small and medium-sized businesses that contribute to Puerto Rico’s economic and social development,” said Beatriz Polhamus, first vice president of Popular’s Social Commitment Division and executive director of Fundación Banco Popular.

“In this second edition, we can reassure that our entrepreneurial ecosystem is full of promising talent, and that if we provide the right tools, our entrepreneurs can maximize their potential to the fullest,” she added.

The second Scale Up edition included 29 companies that benefited from personalized coaching for entrepreneurs who graduated from Guayacán’s EnterPRize competition, as well as those from StartUp Popular and other companies associated with Popular.

This support helped them to identify challenges, understand the market better and set data-driven goals, the companies stated.

It also enabled them to develop business proposals for potential collaborators and investors.

“The partnership between Guayacán and Popular has allowed us to support a diverse group of entrepreneurs whose companies are already up and running but require additional tools to boost their growth,” said Laura Cantero, executive director of Grupo Guayacán.

“We thank Popular for their ongoing commitment to supporting local entrepreneurs who, with proper mentoring, could take their businesses to the next level. Together, we have continued to strengthen the island’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and established a foundation so that future generations of entrepreneurs will know where to seek support,” she stated.

The Scale Up program also received financial backing through a grant from the Nonprofit Organizations Assistance Program under the Puerto Rico Fiscal Agency and Financial Advisory Authority’s (AAFAF, in Spanish) Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Fund.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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