Small Business & Technology Development Center to Hold Local, Federal Business Incentives Forum March 18

By  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

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

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SBTDC launches initiative to help local businesses faces new challenges

Seeking to strengthen local businesses by providing them free entrepreneurial education and personalized assistance, for the new challenges they face due to COVID-19, the Small Business and Technology Development Center (SBTDC) recently launched the Business Relief Assistance Program.

This initiative will focus on providing business owners with the assistance and the support needed for access to capital, occupational health and safety standards, website development, virtual stores, contingency plans, cyber security, and intellectual property needed for their business continuity.

Since 1997, SBTDC has been driving local entrepreneurs to grow, innovate and export, through a cooperative agreement with the Inter-American University of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

“Many business owners needs mentorship. Some have reinvented by offering new services. Also, there are others that increased their sales during this pandemic,” said CPA Ricardo Martínez, executive director of Puerto Rico SBTDC.

“But although we noticed that some of our clients are now more resilient to face and survive difficult situations, there are still many requests to help them with access to capital and for individualized counseling,” he said. “Among those requests are also those to create or improve their webpage, or to integrate a virtual store.”

The SBTDC recently added new business consultants, through a CARES Grant, to expand the scope of the services they provide to entrepreneurs, the nonprofit announced.

These new resources will complement the business advisory services that are usually offered by SBTDC business consultants, it said.

The Puerto Rico Small Business & Technology Development Center is a partnership program with the U.S. Small Business Administration, administered by the InterAmerican University of Puerto Rico.

“Accelerated digital transformation has required great effort from entrepreneurs who have tremendous challenges to achieve their continuity and in turn retain jobs. We’re confident that these new SBTDC services will strengthen the local entrepreneur,” said Manuel J. Fernós, president of the InterAmerican University of Puerto Rico.

“We make these service centers located in most of our campuses available to the business community,” he said.

The SBTDC has been proactive in helping businesses since the pandemic began. In March, it opened a virtual business center, which continues to offer services from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Some 13,000 clients have received individualized assessment, 100% virtual workshops and have managed to access more than $51 million in capital for their businesses through the services offered by the SBTDC, the nonprofit said.

The topics of virtual seminars have been in tune with the new needs of entrepreneurs.  For example, recent conferences were on how to sell products through digital platforms, how to generate electronic billing, how to sell through Amazon, and information on restaurant apps, among others.

“I urge pandemic-affected entrepreneurs to take advantage of the new counselling programs offered by our associated SBTDC resources,” said María de los Ángeles de Jesús, interim director of the SBA’s Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands district.

“They can call the virtual business support center directly and make an appointment. These services are available completely free of charge thanks to the grant offered by the SBA,” she said.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, more than 62,000 local entrepreneurs have secured $3 billion to maintain their business, through the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loans programs.

To obtain SBTDC services, you may visit or contact the Virtual Business Support Center at (787) 625.1515.

* Editor’s Note: This post is sponsored by the Small Business and Technology Development Center (SBTDC).

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Siete empresas nativas expanden para crear 700 empleos

Las compañías de elaboración de alimentos y del sector textil invirtieron en conjunto $3.1 millones y recibieron incentivos del DDEC para su expansión

Con una inversión total de $3.1 millones, siete empresas del sector textil y la elaboración de alimentos recibieron apoyo del Departamento de Desarrollo Económico y Comercio (DDEC) para expandir y crear 700 empleos, informó el secretario del DDEC, Manuel A. Laboy Rivera.

Las empresas locales recientemente apoyadas por el DDEC en el sector de alimentos son: Productos Chebo’s, Amasar LLC, Farm City, y Productos La Finca. La inversión privada de estas empresas se aproxima a $890,400. Mientras, la inversión de otras empresas del sector de manufactura de textiles como Kandor, Puerto Rico Apparel Manufacturing y Pentaq Manufacturing, se aproxima a $2,210,800.

“Nuestro compromiso es incentivar el desarrollo de diversos sectores económicos, incluyendo al empresario local. Por esto, el DDEC apoya la expansión de estas empresas a través del Código de Incentivos de Puerto Rico, otorgándoles incentivos para la adquisición de maquinaria y equipos, así como para la creación de empleos. Puerto Rico cuenta con una cantera de talento empresarial, que a través de los tiempos se reinventan con planes de continuar su crecimiento e integración a nuevos mercados. Por esto, durante los pasados tres años hemos desarrollado e implementado diversos proyectos con el fin de ofrecer mejores herramientas para impulsar el empresarismo local”, expuso Laboy Rivera.

Productos Chebo’s, Inc. operará desde el municipio de San Sebastián y se dedicará a la manufactura de embutidos, cortes de carne de cerdo y otros productos derivados.

César Fuentes, dueño de la productora de alimentos, explicó que “hace más de 20 años nos hemos dedicado a la creación de embutidos artesanales y hemos visto como el producto ha sido acogido y del gusto de las personas que nos visitan a nuestro Restaurante Manhattan Café, en el pueblo se San Sebastián. Por lo que decidimos construir una planta manufacturera de embutidos, pasteles, frituras, sofrito entre otros, para así poder llevar nuestros productos a toda la población a través de los supermercados y tiendas por departamento. De esta manera podrán degustar de nuestros excelentes productos, el cual nosotros entendemos es el mejor de todo Puerto Rico. Estaremos creando 40 empleos directos e indirectos que estarán ayudando a nuestra economía local. Aprovechamos para dar las gracias al Departamento de Desarrollo Económico y a su secretario por el apoyo brindado para cumplir este gran sueño de llegar a la mesa de tantos hogares”.

En los pasados años múltiples empresarios puertorriqueños han emprendido en diferentes sectores, pero aplicando la innovación, ya sea en los procesos de elaboración de sus productos o incluso en el producto que ofrece. Este es el caso de Amasar, que utiliza la pana como su ingrediente principal para la confección de harinas de múltiples usos.

“Luego de casi cuatro años dirigiendo la agroempresa de AMASAR LLC, donde producimos harinas del superfruto de la pana libres de gluten, nos estamos preparando para ofrecerle al consumidor aún más opciones saludables y nutritivas. Pronto lanzaremos nuevos productos para diferentes paladares y dietas especiales”, expresó Marisol Villalobos, principal ejecutiva de Amasar. “Hoy nuestros productos trascienden nuestras fronteras gracias a diversas plataformas de e-commerce. En nuestro plan de negocios, tenemos contemplado exportar formalmente nuestros productos a los Estados Unidos. Agradecemos el apoyo del DDEC y sobre todo a nuestros consumidores por su respaldo a productos locales e innovadores como nuestras harinas de panas”.

Por otro lado, Laboy planteó que durante los pasados meses, “empresas puertorriqueñas ajustaron sus operaciones para producir equipo de protección personal, ante la escasez que se suscitó tras la propagación del Covid-19. Es importante que este sector que también confecciona prendas de vestir para agencias gubernamentales estatales como para el Departamento de Defensa de Estados Unidos, entre otros continúe ampliando sus operaciones”.

El presidente de Kandor Manufaturing, José M. Rodríguez, señaló que “el alto costo de manufactura y la escasez de fuerza laboral en el sector textil de Estados Unidos, abre nuevas oportunidades para Puerto Rico. Nuestra expansión en equipo automatizado, capacidad de corte y espacio operacional está dirigido a capitalizar estas oportunidades. Nuestra fuerza laboral ha crecido en un 30% para un total de 340 empleados. Agradecemos el apoyo del DDEC”.

Laboy Rivera agradeció la confianza de estos empresarios y aseguró “continuamos comprometidos con proveer las herramientas de inversión necesarias para que nuestros empresarios locales puedan viabilizar sus planes de negocios. Invito a que, consumamos los productos o utilicemos los servicios que se producen en la Isla. Así invertimos en nuestro pueblo y nos aseguramos de que el dinero producto de estas actividades, se quede en Puerto Rico”.

SBTDC calls on Puerto Rico’s small businesses to prepare for hurricane season

June 24, 2020

Aware that this hurricane season creates a new challenge for small businesses, which are also struggling with a global pandemic, the Puerto Rico Small Business and Technology Development Center is calling on small businesses to prepare their contingency plan for business continuity.

Ricardo Martínez, executive director of the nonprofit based at the InterAmerican University of Puerto Rico that operates via a cooperative agreement with the Small Business Administration, said contingency plans for business continuity may need adjustments considering complexities surrounding the business environment by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We urge companies to start planning how to prepare their businesses against this season. It is important that you consider worker’s safety, database systems and financial documents,” he said

“Puerto Rico has faced devastating hurricanes such as Irma and María, and recently the earthquakes in the South, for what businesses should include these other variables and possible situations,” Martinez said.

He added that it is not only important to protect employees, physical structure, database or business inventory, but it is also essential to prepare for the continued operations after the disaster.

To get the SBTDC’s free “Business Continuity Contingency Plan,” click HERE.


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Webinars scheduled to help small businesses face COVID-19 crisis

Given the challenges that small businesses face due to the emergency caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Puerto Rico Small Business and Technology Development Center (PRSBTDC), announced a series of free webinars to help entrepreneurs face this new reality.

They will be broadcast in Puerto Rico and in U.S. mainland-Hispanic communities due to the limitation of information in Spanish.

The PRSBTDC is based at the InterAmerican University of Puerto Rico and will offer the webinars jointly with the U.S. Small Business Administration, executives said.

This week, from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m., the PRSBTDC will be offering the webinars. Today’s session is entitled “Disaster Loans before COVID-19,” while Thursday’s conference will focus on e-commerce with the “Start your Online Store” webinar. Financing alternatives to deal with the COVID-19 crisis will be discussed Friday.

PRSBTDC Executive Director Ricardo Martínez said small businesses are the most vulnerable right now.

“This is why training them on these issues will help them to manage their businesses and determine future actions that are beneficial for them and for the island,” he said.

The selected topics are the result of clients’ needs and previous experiences in emergencies such as past Hurricanes Irma and María and the earthquakes, he said.

To register for any of the webinars, visit the organization’s website for more information.

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