San Juan makes $4.3M available for ‘Capital Entrepreneurship’ program
San Juan Mayor Miguel Romero announced the availability of $4.3 million in federal funds through the municipality’s “Capital Entrepreneurship” program, which in turn will benefit up to 800 of the town’s microentrepreneurs who have suffered economic losses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and who have been in operation for at least one year.
The assistance that the municipality will provide will be funded through the CDBG CARES Act (CDBG-CV) program, which will offer a financial contribution of $5,000 per applicant for direct expenses.
“We’re aware of the devastating impact that the pandemic has had on the local economy. This program provides an economic rescue to small businesses that will help to avoid the closure of businesses and therefore the unemployment of their employees,” Romero said.
“There are still many businesses that cannot operate normally, and this has dramatically reduced their income, putting hundreds of entrepreneurs who are struggling to offer their services at risk,” he added.
The purpose of the funds is to promote and maintain economic activity aimed at creating and retaining jobs, as well as improving the conditions for private investment in the community, which contributes to a better quality of life for people with low and moderate incomes, he said.
The funds may be used to cover payroll, rent or mortgage of the business, utilities (electricity/water) and communications (telephone, internet), official vehicles and other operational expenses that the municipality pre-approves.
On the other hand, the funds may not be used to pay taxes (municipal, state or federal); to buy into an existing businesses; construction, rehabilitation or physical alterations to structures, except for the installation of personal protection equipment against COVID; nor for any other activity that is ineligible under the CDBG Program Regulations or that the municipality has not pre-approved, he explained.
To apply, microentrepreneurs must present their merchant registration and municipal license.
Some of the eligibility criteria are: To be located in the municipality of San Juan; be a for-profit business and have been in operation for at least one year; have five or fewer employees and one of them is the owner; and have at least one full-time employee or owner.
Applicants must also: show low income, through an income certification; certify that the business was closed or affected during the COVID-19 emergency; demonstrate that the business constitutes the proponent’s primary income (personal and business payrolls); and have a volume of less than $100,000 evidenced by the most recent tax return.
Interested microentrepreneurs can visit the municipality’s website to apply or deliver their document in person to the municipality’s Economic Development Department in Río Piedras.