By Caribbean Business on March 11, 2021
SAN JUAN – Since the pandemic began, small businesses have been seriously affected by health-safety restrictions, but the local and federal government has provided incentives and grants under different programs as well with the intention of continuing to keep businesses open and retain jobs. However, the number of programs often creates confusion and there is a call to present them in a single event. That is precisely what the Small Business & Technology Development Center (SBTDC), a cooperative agreement between Inter-American University and the Small Business Administration (SBA), will do in the virtual forum, entitled “Impulso en grande al pequeño” (which can be roughly translated as Big Boost to the Small), that it will hold March 18, from 8:45 a.m. to 1 p.m.
“We have coordinated with leading agency leaders to present to entrepreneurs all incentives live in this virtual forum. Among the programs to be presented will be the Business Interruption Grant, CDBG-DR grants for the business and agricultural sector, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) of SBA, and business benefit programs under the American Rescue Plan and the Economic Aid Act,” said Ricardo Martínez, executive director of the Puerto Rico SBTDC.
SBA District Director Josué E. Rivera, Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González, Economic Development Secretary Manuel Cidre, CDBG-DR Undersecretary Maretzie Díaz and Undersecretary of Finance Ángel Pantojas will participate in the forum.
The SBTDC, which debuted its new slogan by the same name as the forum, has been proactive during this pandemic, making sure that businesses have access to the incentives and programs available. Last fiscal year, more than 18,000 entrepreneurs participated in the webinars it offered, and over 5,000 entrepreneurs accessed more than $100 million in capital to keep their businesses operating and retain their employees through the different financing programs including the SBA’s PPP and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL).
“Small businesses are essential in every society as they generate most jobs. As an educational entity, it is our responsibility to provide guidance about all aid by facilitating the processes so that they benefit the most. Since 1997, at Inter-American University we offer the people of Puerto Rico the services offered by the SBTDCs, with centers in most of our campuses in cooperative agreement with the SBA,” said Manuel J. Fernós Esq., Inter-American University’s president.
The forum is geared toward small business owners and self-employed individuals who have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. It will abound on how to qualify for specific incentives, deadlines and parameters, depending on the industry.
“The U.S. Small Business Administration continues to administer vital economic aid programs to assist our small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. As of this week, the SBA has guaranteed almost $500 million in Paycheck Protection Program loans in 2021 alone. I urge all Puerto Rico small business owners, sole proprietors and independent contractors to register to attend this Town Hall meeting hosted by the PR SBTDC to learn about programs and services that can help you recover,” SBA District Director Josué E. Rivera said.
To register, go to http://bit.ly/Incentivosparaempresarios.
The forum will be streamed via Facebook Live.
The Puerto Rico SBTDC has business advisors who can guide people in the process of applying for incentives free of charge. To obtain SBTDC services, call 787-625-1515 or visit www.prsbtdc.org.