Women-led companies dominate Grupo Guayacán’s EnterPRize business competition
Women entrepreneurs headed this year’s list of winners of Grupo Guayacán’s 2020 edition of the EnterPRizebusiness competition, with health technology start-up Evocare as the big winner, nabbing several awards, including first place in the competition and earning $70,000 in prizes.
This is the largest sum of seed capital obtained by a single winner in the competition’s 15-year history, Grupo Guacayán officials said.
During the virtual event, the organization confirmed it awarded more than $207,000 in seed capital and $264,000 in in-kind prizes to the winning participants.
“We came to EnterPRize to learn how to structure our business without focusing on winning prizes. We were eager to provide a service that, despite being so necessary, was not currently available on any digital platform. This is a game-changer for us”, said Valeria Trinidad, co-founder of Evocare.
The platform allows users to identify and coordinate at home professional healthcare for the elderly or those with debilitating illnesses. Evocare won first place ($25,000), plus two special awards for health innovation (sponsored by MCS Foundation) and social impact (sponsored by Causa Local, ConPRmetidos, Grupo Ferré Rangel and Popular Inc.), totaling an additional $45,000.
The company also received two special in-kind advertising and media awards sponsored by bMedia Group ($135,000) and Latin Media House ($20,000).
Sirena Patterns won second place, receiving $15,000 in seed capital. The company provides an internet platform for the sale of sewing patterns and develops virtual educational content.
The third place award of $10,000 went to Agropek, a local agricultural business that promotes a healthy lifestyle through harvesting methods with an exceptional quality standard.
Agropek also won the special Agribusiness and Food award (sponsored by Puerto Rico Farm Credit and Walmart Puerto Rico) for an additional $30,000 in seed capital. Sirena Patterns and Agropek will also receive free billboard space sponsored by bMedia Group.
“We came to EnterPRize showcasing our project as an agricultural company aiming to save the world. But we learned to put our feet on the ground, define our market, and set clear goals; now, we visualize ourselves like farmers and entrepreneurs,” said Cindy Cruz, Agropek co-founder.
“The knowledge that we acquired is as valuable or more valuable than the prize money,” she said.
Other winners on the list are:
- Cultural and artistic content platform ACircTV, which wonthe Arts and Culture award for $20,000 (sponsored by the Flamboyán Fund for the Arts and the Ángel Ramos Foundation).
- Amasar, a breadfruit products company, which was honored with the Angel Investors award, receiving $11,000 in seed capital.
- Isleñas — a shoe design and manufacturing company — winner of the “Woman Entrepreneur” award for $23,750 (sponsored by Aerostar Airport Holdings, Díaz Rivera Family, Oriental, Titín Foundation, and TOTE).
- Insu Health Design, a medical device that preserves insulin, won the innovation and technology award of $30,000 (sponsored by Assurant, Ferraiuoli LLC, FirstBank, and Liberty Puerto Rico).
- Lee Conmigo, a nonprofit organization which promotes reading among children, received the special award Sembrando Futuro from Grupo Guayacán for $5,000, recognizing not only its progress through competition but the value of its work for Puerto Rico’s children.
- Immersive Learning, a company that develops educational resources in science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics, received the $3,000 prize for “Student Entrepreneurs,” sponsored by the Puerto Rico Chapter of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization. As part of the award, the company’s founder, Alejandro Aponte, will receive a special pass to represent Puerto Rico in the 2021 Global Student Entrepreneur Awards competition.
“2020 was an unprecedented year, but we never stopped moving forward, and neither did our entrepreneurs. We celebrate their courage and resilience in choosing to accept the challenge of participating in our programs this year” said Laura Cantero, executive director of Grupo Guayacán.
“It was a privilege to support them along the way, and we are excited to see them move on to the next level, contributing to Puerto Rico’s economic development,” she said. “We’re also grateful for our broad network of sponsors, donors, instructors, and collaborators who did not hesitate to stick by us during the most difficult times.”
The executive noted that most of this year’s winners are start-ups founded or co-founded by women and “exhibit a high degree of social impact for Puerto Rico’s communities.”