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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Proposed program would offer seed money to young entrepreneurs in Río Piedras

Rep. José Hernández Concepción

By The Star Staff

With the aim of encouraging young people to establish their own businesses in the urban district of Río Piedras, District 3 (San Juan) Rep. José “Cheito” Hernández Concepción has proposed a seed capital program for new businesses known as “Bet on Río Piedras.”

“The traditional urban area of Río Piedras is experiencing a new resurgence with the initiatives of our mayor Miguel Romero,” the New Progressive Party lawmaker said. “To support this effort, we have outlined a new support program for young people who wish to develop their own businesses, which we have called ‘Bet on Río Piedras,’ a platform that allows the disbursement of seed capital for young people between 18 and 35 years old who establish their businesses in this important area of San Juan.”

The proposed new program will offer up to $10,000, or 30 percent of the investment in equipment and materials, through seed capital, similar to the SME (Small & Midsize Enterprises) Development program. The requirements, in addition to the regular ones in the aforementioned program, also include that the business must be established in the urban area.

The new program also provides technical assistance.

“In the coming days we will be discussing the matter with the secretary of the Department of Economic Development and Commerce [DDEC by its Spanish acronym], Manuel Cidre,” Hernández Concepción said. “But the new program will be similar to the ‘Women’s Business Briefcase,’ a program created over the past four years that offers, among other things, business training seminars, access to development tools, individualized support and the opportunity to interact with other entrepreneurs, exchanging ideas and concepts for improvement. It is a hybrid program between the Briefcase and SME Development.”

Through the Women’s Business Briefcase Portal, DDEC offers the tools to guide, facilitate and give direction so that interested people can create their own businesses, or expand and grow their existing businesses, with a vision to export their goods and services competitively to the global market.

In the heart of the San Juan metro area, Río Piedras was the seat of the Municipality of Río Piedras until 1951, when it was incorporated into the Municipality of San Juan. Río Piedras, sometimes known as the “University City,” has a long and rich relationship with the island’s primary teaching center, the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus. For many years, Río Piedras was one of the most active places in the capital and the economic engine of the metro area.

Hernández Concepción is the author of House Resolution 449, which creates a sales and use tax-free zone in the traditional urban area of Río Piedras. The measure was approved in the House of Representatives and is under evaluation by the Senate.

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