• The San Juan Daily Star

Economic Development Bank looks to turn PUA recipients into entrepreneurs

Economic Development Bank for Puerto Rico President Luis Alemañy González

By John McPhaul

Economic Development Bank for Puerto Rico (BDE by its Spanish initials) President Luis Alemañy González intends to turn those who were beneficiaries of the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program into entrepreneurs.

Alemañy Gomzález said in a press release that the BDE has different options for the granting of loans or lines of credit, either for micro, small or midsize businesses.

The offers will be directed to residents who received -- for a maximum of 39 weeks -- the benefits for individuals who were not eligible to receive regular unemployment compensation and who were able and available to work, but were unemployed or partially employed due to the impact of COVID-19.

The federal PUA program was created through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act of 2020.

“This is a great opportunity for many of these beneficiaries to make their entrepreneurial dream come true,” Alemañy Gomzález noted.

He said the pandemic so far has generated more than 882,329 claims for unemployment and 527,362 claims for PUA in Puerto Rico, which translates into more than $7 billion in unemployment and $2 billion in PUA disbursements.

“With the expiration of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefit, we have more than 72,000 people who received the PUA who are expected to resume their working lives,” the BDE chief said. “So we encourage them to become entrepreneurs.”

Alemañy González also revealed in recent days that almost a sixth of the island’s workers are self-employed.

Given that reality, the BDE offers revolving credit lines of up to $1 million and a financing product aimed at the micro-entrepreneur, for natural or legal persons interested in developing self-employment in companies with five employees or less, with maximum amounts of up to $25,000.

“At the BDE we want to help them achieve this,” Alemañy González said. “For this we have a dynamic team of officers who will lead [them] by the hand to guide [them] about our financial products …”

He added that the BDE has also formed a strategic alliance with the Certified Public Accountants Association of Puerto Rico “to offer them mentoring and assistance.”

Information about the BDE, its products and services, and other financial information can be accessed at

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