While the number of people relocating from Puerto Rico to the 50 states continues to increase, the New York Times reports that there are also entrepreneurs heading back to Puerto Rico from the mainland. The Times story says that these brave new businesspeople are fighting against a “colonial mind-set” which relies on the local government and mainland corporations for jobs.
All over the world, young people are developing a new attitude toward jobs. Instead of expecting to be taken care of by a company or a government, young entrepreneurs expect to make their own jobs. This new attitude is on the rise in Puerto Rico, as well. According to the Times, most of the people taking advantage of Governor Rossello’s incentives for Island entrepreneurs are under 35.
Federal programs supporting small businesses are growing in Puerto Rico. And some dedicated small business owners see the success of their own companies as part of a movement.
A few years ago, attempts at improving Puerto Rico’s economy tended to come in the form of government announcements of new industries — fashion, aerospace, and the like — followed by… nothing. The government tried to force Walmart to pay extra taxes. Now, agriculture is looking up and local farmers are selling to Walmart. Food trucks and other micro businesses are competing with multinational fast food chains for tourist dollars, and finding local support.
Startup incubators like Parallel18 are actively working to encourage startup culture in Puerto Rico. San Juan isn’t yet joining Los Angeles, Denver, Austin, and Kansas City on official lists of top startup cities, but the change is beginning.
Puerto Rico is still in financial difficulty, and we don’t expect things to turn around fully until Puerto Rico achieves statehood. The millions of Puerto Ricans who have left the Island for the benefits of statehood… which are available to all U.S. citizens when they move to a state… are not flocking back to Puerto Rico. When Puerto Rico becomes the 51st state, we might see that. We also might see bright entrepreneurs from other states taking advantage of the fresh beginnings in the new state, and investors jumping at the chance to get in on the ground floor of an entrepreneurial boom.
It won’t be the first time a territory with financial problems became a prosperous state.It's exciting to see the entrepreneurial spirit taking hold in Puerto Rico. Click To Tweet
Tell your Congressional representatives that you want to see Puerto Rico become the 51st state.