Puerto Rico ICON Institute fosters mentoring to boost entrepreneurship
Since its foundation in 2021, the Puerto Rico ICON Institute boosts entrepreneurship and economic development in Puerto Rico through initiatives that propel education, availability of seed money, mentorship and networking for local and foreign entrepreneurs who want to develop their businesses in the island.
“Our organization focusses on mentorship as a tool for economic development and to create businesses and capital. Studies show that mentorship is a key element to reduce unemployment, increase economic growth, and create a greater return of investment for companies or investors that invest in this type of efforts,” said Richard Santana, co-founder of Puerto Rico ICON Institute.
“We’re trying to nurture a culture of entrepreneurship with participation of investors, universities, government, and private sector, even more due to the uncertain environment that we are in,” he said.
The Puerto Rico ICON Institute will focus its efforts by providing the necessary resources for the development and growth of start-ups. The entity will offer business workshops, assistance to identify public and private financing alternatives, and/or seed money, advice for the development of social responsibility programs and insertion on different markets, among.
Looking ahead, the nonprofit plans to create a center in the San Juan metro area, close to educational institutions and accessible for students, where entrepreneurs can receive mentorship and business intelligence to establish their companies and achieve their business goals.
“Having mentorship as the core of the Institute we can achieve the formula that establishes mentorship + entrepreneurship = economic development, translating that into an impulse for the economy, local investment, and recovery,” Santana, who is known for his event production experience and more than 25 years working with the nonprofit sector, as well as a real estate broker.
He is joined by co-founders Karla Barreras, entrepreneur of the wind and waves industry as co-owner of a water sports center in the Caribbean, and Happy Walters, a sports agent, Hollywood movie producer, investor, and executive director of several firms.
“Puerto Rico has an educated and competitive human capital which equipped with adequate resources can turn the country into a destination for the creation of first-class businesses,” said Barreras.