Empowering Small Business in Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico has had its share of big businesses on the Island. Sometimes those businesses have washed millions of dollars through the economy for tax breaks, while providing only a handful of jobs to the people of Puerto Rico.

Resident Commissioner Jenniffer Gonzalez Colon has a different vision for Puerto Rico’s economic recovery.

According to El Nuevo Dia, Gonzalez Colon plans to work with the US Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Chamber of Commerce to help small businesses in Puerto Rico get the information they need about how to gain SBA funding, how to apply for government contracts, and how to become certified under the HUBZones program.

In many cases, Puerto Rican entrepreneurs are eligible for federal support of various kinds, but are not aware of these opportunities or do not know how to participate in them. The Small Business Association already offers a variety of workshops and resources. The new workshops will take place in Bayamón, Fajardo, Barranquitas, Moca, Ponce, Arecibo, Camuy, Manatí, Naguabo, Utuado and San Sebastián.

“The economy of Puerto Rico will be driven by the private sector and small businesses,” said Gonzalez Colon.

A 2016 survey of small businesses in Puerto Rico reported that 80% of private sector workers in the territory currently work in small businesses. In that survey, 19% of respondents said they wanted training on how to work with government contracts. Two other topics for training were also mentioned: internet sales and exports each were mentioned by 15% of respondents. 14% wanted more information about complying with government regulations and an equal number needed to know more about managing cash flow.

In Alaska and Hawaii, the two most recent territories to become states, statehood was quickly followed by greatly increased business investment from the 50 states. Puerto Rico can expect the same, and strong small businesses will be in a position to benefit.

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