Titín Foundation unveils initiative to support economy in southern Puerto Rico
Titín Foundation, in collaboration with the US Economic Development Administration (EDA) announced the launch of “Apostemos por el Sur,” an effort to convey the creation of the first economic district in southern Puerto Rico.
The pilot program for the island’s first Economic Development District will cover the towns of Juana Díaz, Ponce, Peñuelas, Guayanilla, Yauco and Guánica — all affected by the earthquakes that began last year.
The area had been experiencing considerable economic deterioration, which was exacerbated by the devastation of Hurricanes Irma and María and more recently by earthquakes.
This initiative seeks the strengthening and economic diversification of these municipalities through alliances between the public and private sectors, organizers said.
“Our foundation has worked closely with a group of outstanding professionals in education, economic development, nonprofit organizations, health, creative industries, tourism, who in the past months have launched the organization of assets in the area, conducted interviews, collecting data with relevant information to develop the economic plan that the region needs,” said Hazel Colón, programs director at Titín Foundation.
The Foundation believes the District’s — which is the first with federal designation in Puerto Rico — fundamental benefits will be to create and train a workforce to revitalize the area. The EDA encourages entrepreneurs to build new businesses and attract industries to invest, the nonprofit said.
“Helping the economic development of southern Puerto Rico means supporting the well-being and development of all Puerto Ricans through citizen involvement,” Colón added.
Puerto Rico’s southern region was chosen for the implementation of this program because it has the criteria for its economic development, as established by the EDA. These requirements include that their unemployment rate is higher than the national average and that their per capita income is lower than the national average.
“Having the designation of an economic development district in Puerto Rico opens the door to multiple opportunities for planning and economic development at the regional level on the island,” said Juan Bauzá, the EDA’s Economic Development Representative for Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.
“This initiative establishes the potential to create more than one economic development district on the Island and insert the element of continuity to the federal investment efforts in these designated areas,” he said.