San Juan unveils Capital Entrepreneurship Program to boost urban business activity
San Juan Mayor Miguel Romero unveiled details of the newly created Capital Entrepreneurship Program, through which the municipality seek to help create and expand local business in Río Piedras, Santurce, Condado and Old San Juan through incentives.
The initiative will establish agreements with private businesses to support existing merchants and incentivize new entrepreneurs, he said during a news conference.
“San Juan has a privileged location, full of big opportunities for our entrepreneurs. It’s our duty to develop that potential and be a facilitator for business initiatives. The Capital Entrepreneurship Program will provide support in diverse areas to make every commercial idea possible in the program,” he said.
The Capital Entrepreneurship Program will also have as a goal to include efforts with the private sector to strengthen San Juan’s economic development, which is why the municipality signed the first agreement with the Centro para Emprendedores, a private organization with nine years of experience that will foment the development and growth of businesses on the island.
Nerma Albertorio, who founded and directs the nonprofit, is experienced in the development of new businesses, as well as significant knowledge of the sector.
With the municipality’s support, the Centro para Emprendedores will establish an incubator where they will develop new commercial initiatives, as well as a place where merchants will be able to receive orientation to digitalize and expand their businesses.
The center will be established in Arzuaga Street, which will be known as the Centro para Empresarios in Río Piedras, located in the former Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority locale.
“So far, we have created more than 100 new businesses in the Centro para Emprendedores and we have given support to more than 600 existent businesses. We arrive to Río Piedras with a trained work team and committed to the development of the area, that works in collaboration and harmony with the community,” Albetorio said.
The commercial incubator will train staff, promote existent incentives, and facilitate the permit process, as well as other benefits, she said.
Meanwhile, the municipality will contribute with the labor to set up the the space, while the Centro para Emprendedores will provide the materials.
The program will offer training workshops for entrepreneurs in on several topics, promote technology and innovation in small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as promote investment opportunities for new and growing businesses.
The mayor explained that to encourage local investment, the municipality will offer several incentives that may include exemptions of municipal licenses, as well as applicable real estate taxes. The city will provide other incentives for job retention and creation, construction taxes and investment credits that apply to diverse zones in San Juan and main urban areas.
“We’re in a unique time, where supporting local investment, betting for the innovative capacity and our citizen’s creativity is imperative. San Juan is available to offer support in diverse areas to everyone who picks the capital as their headquarters. We want to promote the Capital City as an accessible and safe place with a healthy environment for commerce,” Romero said.
By locating the program in Río Piedras, the mayor seeks to reactivate the area’s commercial activity, which has been in steady decline for years.
“We know that with each crisis, opportunities arise, and this is the time to get the ball rolling on the opportunities the pandemic brought,” Romero said. “Because of COVID-19, many businesses have had to diversify their offers and invest in technology to survive. Other initiatives have been developed because of the pandemic, which evidences that there’s still a lot of space for entrepreneurship,” Romero said.