• The San Juan Daily Star

Local SBA, Friends of PR form alliance to boost entrepreneurship

Josué E. Rivera, director of the Puerto Rico & U.S. Virgin Islands District of the U.S. Small Business Administration

By The Star Staff

The U.S. Small Business Administration Puerto Rico & U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) District Office has signed a Strategic Alliance Memorandum (SAM) with Friends of Puerto Rico, a non-profit organization that supports the economic development of the people of Puerto Rico through entrepreneurial initiatives and education, which creates opportunities for women.

The SAM was signed by District Director Josué E. Rivera and Friends of Puerto Rico President Angelique Sina, according to a statement Monday.

The SBA Puerto Rico & USVI District aids, counsels, assists and protects the interests of small business by providing financial, contractual and business development assistance to entrepreneurs and advocates, strengthening the small business community in the district. Similarly, Friends of Puerto Rico works within its network of partners to create economic opportunities for the people of Puerto Rico, specifically entrepreneurship development programs focused on women and youth.

“The SBA Puerto Rico District is eager to promote economic empowerment, increase certifications focused on Women-Owned Small Businesses (WOSBs), assist small firms increase their federal contracting opportunities to enhance revenue capabilities and collaborate with our other resource partners,” Rivera said. “This new strategic alliance will grow our capabilities to reach more small business owners and entrepreneurs, especially as Friends of Puerto Rico recently won the federal award for the operations of one of the island’s two new Women’s Business Centers, powered by SBA, at the University of Puerto Rico in Bayamón.”

Sina, the Friends of Puerto Rico president, added: “According to the United States Census Bureau, there are at least 40,000 small businesses in Puerto Rico. This opportunity to collaborate with the SBA means a great step and an opportunity to support them and continue walking toward the recovery of Puerto Rico.”.

The scope of the strategic alliance will include inviting Friends of Puerto Rico’s clients to SBA-sponsored trainings and events; providing current information about SBA’s events, programs and services, including referrals to SBA’s resource partners: SBDC, SCORE and WBC; and sharing information, websites and social media links to empower and encourage entrepreneurship and growth of small businesses on the island.

Already, the SBA Puerto Rico & USVI District is slated to make monthly presentations to the membership of Friends of Puerto Rico on issues such as access to capital and federal contracting programs and opportunities.

The SAM between SBA Puerto Rico & USVI District Office and Friends of Puerto Rico will be in place for an initial period of two years. It will reinforce an already dynamic relationship with the ultimate benefit of boosting support for small businesses and entrepreneurship in Puerto Rico, the officials said.

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