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80% of P.R. Universia pollsters favor entrepreneurship

José Miguel Justel

José Miguel Justel

Puerto Rico’s economic crisis, layoffs and company closures appear to have sparked an entrepreneurial spirit among young people, who, according to a recent poll by Universia and Trabajando.com, confirmed an interest in starting a business.

According to the survey 80 percent of more than 350 respondents in Puerto Rico said they would be willing to start a business, of which 54 percent said they would aspire to have presence both physically and on the Internet, and 33 percent would do so only on the web. About 74 percent of them said they would use digital media and new technologies to promote their company.

While past surveys reflected greater interest by college students to work for large companies (57 percent), the most recent poll showed the shift to web-based entrepreneurship.

The ease of starting a business on the web and the good results that giants like Facebook and Google have had, attract young people to consider this option for their future career.

According to the poll, which included 7,319 young people in 10 Latin American countries, 92 percent would create their own businesses.

For years, economists have banked on the creation of small and medium enterprises to tackle the economic crisis that Puerto Rico has been facing since 2006. Slowly and with the support of entrepreneurship and start-up development initiatives, society “has begun to look to the entrepreneurship as a viable option,” José Miguel Justel, CEO of Universia Puerto Rico, said.

He highlighted the role of higher education institutions in the evolution toward a new corporate culture.

“Local universities are beginning to see these interests and the need to promote entrepreneurship and take responsibility for transforming traditional powers of Schools of Business Administration into teaching business and entrepreneurship,” Justel said.

“Other have already integrated entrepreneurship courses into their curricula. This has been encouraged through Universia for 15 years to support the development and innovation of universities,” he said.

According to the survey, there is still a strong attachment to having a physical presence, since 54 percent of all respondents considered it necessary to create a company that is online, but it also that has a location from where to offer services and products. However, the advantages provided by the web drive 33 percent to prefer to create a strictly digital company.

In terms of the types of companies participating college students prefer, 20 percent of Puerto Ricans would open a business selling clothing and accessories. Training and leisure stand at 14 percent and 12 percent, respectively. Financial services companies (8 percent), music (5 percent) and insurance (4 percent) reflected lower interest among respondents.

However, 37 percent marked the “other” option, including initiatives that could be related to the creation of mobile applications, business services, software development, health services and restaurants, among many others.

Finally, respondents confirmed the importance of brand recognition, saying that social networks (33 percent), banners on websites (21 percent) or e-mail marketing (20 percent), reign supreme for becoming a household name. Only 16 percent would use traditional media to attract customers, the survey showed.

Author Details
Author Details
Business reporter with 29 years of experience writing for weekly and daily newspapers, as well as trade publications in Puerto Rico. My list of former employers includes Caribbean Business, The San Juan Star, and the Puerto Rico Daily Sun, among others. My areas of expertise include telecommunications, technology, retail, agriculture, tourism, banking and most other segments of Puerto Rico’s economy.

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