Puerto Rico Family Department holds event to support microentrepreneurs
The Puerto Rico Family Department recently held an event dubbed “Meeting of Microentrepreneurs” through the Family Socioeconomic Development Administration (ADSEF in Spanish). It was aimed at improving the quality of life and achieving economic self-sufficiency for families living under poverty levels on the island.
At the event, more than 100 microentrepreneurs were trained, and economic subsidies were awarded to new entrepreneurs through the Economic and Social Development Opportunities Program (PODES in Spanish), which provides participants up to $5,000 for the purchase of equipment and materials to establish their microenterprise.
In 2021 and 2022, a total of 122 entrepreneurs established or expanded their microenterprises with the support of the PODES program. In addition, some 29 microentrepreneurs have started the process to form part of the program so far this year.
“This project is a unique opportunity for people who want to start their own business and turn their dreams into reality,” said acting Family Department Secretary Ciení Rodríguez Troche.
“Programs like PODES allow our families to start their path to economic self-sufficiency, while at the same time, strengthening our economy,” Rodríguez said. “It is another mechanism to promote work values as a vital element to achieve a better quality of life in our society.”
Puerto Rico Governor’s Office Director Caridad Pierluisi said Gov. Pedro Pierluisi’s commitment is to continue to promote initiatives that contribute to the well-being of microenterprises on the island.
“This program is 100% a state program, so the governor makes sure we have these funds each year for each one of you,” Caridad Pierluisi said. “We offer training in your area of interest, equipment to do your job and $5,000 in incentives. We make a commitment to grow together and support them for an additional two years.”
Furthermore, she added that there are other benefits they could be eligible for, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit, which allows those who qualify to receive up to $6,707, and the Child Tax Credit, which provides an up to $1,500 credit per child.
ADSEF Administrator Alberto Fradera-Vázquez noted that “through the PODES program, large projects are continuously developed, which after a process of mentoring and guidance in which we provide all the services, resources and opportunities, we help them develop their potential to the maximum of their capabilities.”
“The goal is to provide individuals with the opportunity to undertake, achieve social mobility and support them so they can be independent, achieving success in their project,” Fradera said.
The program is subsidized with $200,000 in state funds.
During the training event held in Guaynabo, officials delivered financial aid to Jorge Ramírez Santiago, who started a company focused on cleaning services and patio design, as well as to Yaritza Ríos Pérez, who is dedicated to the sale of plus-size clothing.
In addition, Gilda Maldonado Torres, a businesswoman who runs a coffee station for events, also received financial assistance.
And Melmary Aguilar Ríos, who works on harvesting and processing, and Pablo García Maldonado, who sells meals and “pinchos,” or skewered meat, also received financial assistance for their projects. García is also a participant in the Family Department’s Independent Living Program.