Private sector group to tout Puerto Rico’s advantages
Members of a newly formed nonprofit, non-partisan organization under the name Puerto Rico is the Answer has taken upon itself the task of actively help international investor prospects identify and set up attractive business ventures on the island, using fiscal autonomy as the cornerstone of the effort.
“As a Commonwealth of the United States, Puerto Rico enjoys several advantages: Same citizenship, same currency and same judicial framework,” said Gabriel Hernández, co-chairman of the organization known as PRANS.
“However, Puerto Rico has the unique advantage of fiscal autonomy. As a result, Puerto Rico can offer investors an attractive array of incentives that cover from Individual Investor exemptions to tax incentives for Manufacturing, Export Services and Insurance businesses, among others,” Hernández said during a news conference held at a hotel in San Juan Wednesday.
“Add to this a first-class financial and communication infrastructure; a talented and skilled workforce and the highest per capita economy south of the United States with a numerous middle class,” Hernández said. “The manufacturing and services sectors contribute upward of 80 percent of our GDP combined, so we are home to some of the top pharmaceutical, biotechnology and Information Technology companies in the world.”
PRANS has identified 12 sectors where Puerto Rico is competitive and should focus its efforts. The sectors include biotechnology, energy, telecommunications, agro-industry, manufacturing, tourism, engineering/construction, among others.
During the news conference, PRANS Co-Chairman Miguel Ferrer said group’s goal is to let investors from all over the world know of these attractive advantages.
“We are confident that, once potential investors see what we have to offer, they will come in droves,” he said. ”Our role will be not only to promote these advantages, but also to help prospects in the process of evaluating, decision-making and set-up.”
Each of the identified sectors will be assigned a so-called “Sector Leader” from a group of prominent local private sector executives, who will contribute their time and will recruit other members to help catalyze potential investment projects in their respective areas, Hernández said.
“Investment leads will be pre-qualified by PRANS and then assigned to the relevant sector leaders, who will mentor prospects through the process of evaluation and set up of investment ventures,” he said.
The group will work with the Department of Economic Development and Commerce of Puerto Rico, which has assigned sector liaisons to facilitate and expedite the process,” he added.
With this initiative, the private sector becomes an important contributor in the government’s agenda for Puerto Rico’s economic recovery, said Economic Development and Commerce Secretary Alberto Bacó, who was present at the news conference.
“We are supporting this effort from the private sector because there is a common goal and we are convinced that this kind of initiative will allow us to work together to achieve that goal,” said Bacó.
Meanwhile, Ferrer, said one of the strategies to generate leads is establishing a strategic alliance with “ConPRmetidos,” a millenial-led organization that works through voluntary ambassadors to engage the Puerto Rican diaspora.
“In the United States alone there are 4.9 million Puerto Ricans with emotional and physical ties to the island. Through our operating model, we will help create investment leads that will be referred to PRANS,” said Isabel Rullán, Director of ConPRmetidos.
“The project works. And it does because it relies on the integration of successful businesspeople that are willing to help foreign investors, our economy and their own business sectors. We need more businesspersons and corporations to step up to the challenges that Puerto Rico faces by helping this nonprofit self funding initiative expand its reach,” said Ferrer.
PRANS’s working model responds to its belief that there are prospects with the capital and the interest of investing it in Puerto Rico to obtain optimum performance, while the sialnd has “successful, highly qualified professionals willing to stimulate the island’s economy within their sectors.”
“It is time to put them together at the same table,” Hernández concluded.