Representatives from a group of well-known local brands announced the start of the “Cuando nos apoyamos, somos más” (“When we support each other, we’re more”) initiative to support women entrepreneurs in Puerto Rico.
Through this effort, and in partnership with the Centro para Puerto Rico, $45,000 will be granted to train women who want to establish their business or to meet certain needs for small and medium women-owned businesses, including those that have been affected in the southern area due to recent earthquakes.
The announcement was made by Viviana Mercado, senior manager of corporate affairs at Walmart Puerto Rico, and Catherine Mir, trade marketing lead of Kimberly-Clark Puerto Rico, who said the brands participating in the initiative this year are: Walmart, Amigo, U by Kotex, Poise, Colgate, Protex, Carson Life, and Garnier.
Of the $45,000 that will be distributed through the “Cuando nos apoyamos, somos más” initiative, $20,000 will be allocated to training on entrepreneurship through the Centro para Puerto Rico’s Entrepreneurial Training Program for Women, and $25,000, to purchase equipment or materials that are needed by small and medium women-owned businesses to continue operating.
“At Walmart, we strongly believe in contributing to the economic development of women as a significant way to play a part in the socio-economic development and well-being of the communities we serve” said Mercado.
“This year, we’re proud again to be part of this important alliance with other prestigious brands and the Centro para Puerto Rico, whose mission includes advancing the role of women in society,” she said.
The entrepreneurs that will benefit from the “Cuando nos apoyamos, somos más” initiative are: Katherine Ciriacruz of Ocean Beads by Ginnie, who will use the grant funding to pay for operating permits and to purchase inventory; Denisse González, of Denny’s Flower & Gifts Shops, will use the funding to purchase a refrigerator to store floral arrangements until they are delivered; and, Tatiana Rosado-Meléndez, of A Mano Pelá, which produces and sells handmade pasta. She will use the money to cover the purchase of inventory and the costs of permits to formalize her business.
“We need to continue promoting solidarity among women because we know that, if we support and fight together for our common causes, our efforts can be more successful. We’re very excited to continue helping women aspire to improve themselves, providing them with opportunities to do so,” Mir said.
Meanwhile, Dennis Román-Roa, president of the Centro para Puerto Rico, welcomed the initiative and said empowering women and supporting them in their goals remains one of the organization’s pillars since it began offering services in 2009.
“In Puerto Rico, poverty has a female’s face. Those are the words of our founder and president of the Board, Sila M. Calderón. And that is the reality confirmed during the work we have done in different communities over a decade,” he said.
“Projects like the one we present today give us hope because they help women to be stronger, have resources and to provide for themselves. It is a solidarity project that must be replicated to support more entrepreneurs. This is and will always be our commitment,” Román-Roa said.
To ensure that more women achieve economic independence, the brands also invited consumers to support the “Cuando nos apoyamos, somos más” initiative by purchasing participating products in the Walmart and Amigo stores through Feb. 23.