UPR-Mayagüez AREA-E entrepreneurial project opens call for 2nd cohort
The University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez’s (UPR-RUM) Entrepreneurial Area project, known as ÁREA-E, the first incubator and accelerator in the island’s public university system, opened its call for the second cohort of the program.
Entrepreneurs have until June 15, 2022, to apply for admission to the program that seeks to promote the development of small businesses in Puerto Rico.
AREA-E offers training, mentoring with experts, technical assistance, and networking activities to create support networks in the business ecosystem. The program is aimed at existing small or medium business owners who are looking to grow or expand.
AREA-E was established with funding from a $2.4 million grant from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development under CDBG-DR Small Business Incubator and Accelerator Program in collaboration with the UPR-RUM’s Center for Business and Economic Development.
“We aspire to positively impact the country’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, by training people who have that entrepreneurial spark and desire to take their idea to another level,” said Moraima De Hoyos-Ruperto, director of the UPR-RUM’s Center for Business and Economic Development of the College of Business Administration.
“It is a unique opportunity, since for 15 weeks, companies will receive training by specialist practitioners in different relevant subjects, depending on the stage of development of the business and the industry in which they are dedicated,” said De Hoyos-Ruperto.
“They will also have individualized mentoring through a body of volunteers and AREA-E’s own specialized staff and will have the opportunity to make connections with other members of the business ecosystem,” said De Hoyos.
The initiative marked its first anniversary in March during which it has already benefited 34 participating companies in its first cohort — 17 in incubation and 17 in acceleration.
The entrepreneurs come from 18 towns in Puerto Rico and their ages range from 15 to 60 years.
“The advantage for entrepreneurs is that they can obtain these guidelines for free and in the field of incubation, topics are covered, such as advice on business, administrative and other business functions; business model and its validation, and marketing scenarios, among others,” said De Hoyos.
“Regarding acceleration, we provide guidance on how to obtain more clients, strategies to obtain financing and to develop talent, among others, in addition, we follow up with advisors per year,” said De Hoyos, adding that the free program is open to entrepreneurs from all 78 towns of the island.