• The San Juan Daily Star

DDEC, UPR-Mayagüez sign collaborative agreement for business innovation

By The Star Staff

The Department of Economic Development and Commerce (DDEC by its Spanish acronym) and the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez Campus (RUM), recently signed a collaborative agreement that would grant subsidies to create new businesses under the program Puerto Rico Innova (PRI).

This initiative seeks to empower local entrepreneurs to forge an entrepreneurial vision that allows them to generate innovative ideas in the promotion of business projects with high potential for expansion and development, Economic Development and Commerce Secretary Manuel Cidre and RUM Chancellor Agustín Rullán Toro said Tuesday.

“Part of our vision for a sustainable and robust economic development involves innovation as a spearhead to promote the productivity and competitiveness of our local companies and boost their globalization,” Cidre said. “To do this, we have joined forces with UPR-Mayagüez to develop this initiative and, in this way, continue to encourage more local entrepreneurs to identify and develop the skills and competencies necessary to take their company to the next level.”

Rullán stated that RUM has a solid ecosystem of innovation and entrepreneurship that has been forged and strengthened over decades, thanks to the work of the Center for Business and Economic Development (CNDE by its Spanish initials), which from the Faculty of Business Administration has been a forerunner, has nurtured that effort and has contributed to business projects and the training of members of the community, the western region and the island.

“This collaborative agreement with DDEC, through the PR Innova program, consolidates this feat and allows continuing the path of training more entrepreneurs through the Business Center platforms and its expert resources with experience in promoting business, innovation and technology, in a way that results in the economic development of Puerto Rico,” the RUM chancellor said.

Puerto Rico Innova will be implemented in several stages. The first stage will begin with the call (through Oct. 17) to all those people who have an innovative business idea, be it a new business or existing companies with a new idea that they wish to develop. Interested persons must complete a participation form and go through a selection process in which the best business proposals will be chosen and then evaluated under the criteria of viability, commercialization, technical and financial capacity. Likewise, business ideas must have an innovative component, either in their processes or in the creation of new products or services. The call will also be available to those entrepreneurs who, due to the passage of Hurricane Maria or due to the COVID-19 pandemic, closed their businesses and who meet the aforementioned criteria.

In the second phase of the program, a panel selection process will be opened where the 40 best projects that have completed their business plan will be chosen. Those entrepreneurs will have access to specialized and individual strategic advice and will have a mentor/specialist who will assist them in the technical areas of business development.

The finalists who qualify under the requirements of the DDEC Program to Strengthen Innovative SMEs will have the opportunity to request an incentive of up to $100,000 or request a seed capital of $5,000 through a matching of funds, among other incentives available from DDEC.

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