In Puerto Rico, Program Attracts Young Entrepreneurs, Sees Results
EXCERPT: NBC NEWS
A program that has attracted young entrepreneurs to Puerto Rico is seeing solid growth and is generating solid revenues and jobs.
Parallel 18, an accelerator program founded in 2015, offers $40,000 in funding, along with mentoring, consulting, and introduction to investors, to small companies who are looking to scale up and have not been in operation for more than three years. In exchange, the entrepreneurs live and work in Puerto Rico, and collaborate with local universities and mentor students. Parallel 18 takes its name from where the island is located on a map.
So far, the companies participating in the program have generated $14 million in sales, more than half of that on the island, and new jobs.
The island continues to grapple with a crushing debt of $70 billion and a decade of economic stagnation, but Parallel 18 executive director Sebastián Vidal says that entrepreneurship can be pivotal to Puerto Rico’s growth.
One of the companies participating in the program is CleanCult, a “green” non-toxic manufacturer of laundry detergent pacs. Based in California, the small company was looking for opportunities to operate in a less costly area when they applied to the Parallel 18 program.