FirstBank Puerto Rico, in partnership with INprende, commits to strengthen and scale the 1Éxito program, engaging the first cohort of 70 entrepreneurs with 30 new participants from all 78 municipalities of Puerto Rico, for a total of 100 representatives from small businesses. The scaled educational and training program will provide more robust and in-depth courses, including risk analysis, business continuity, and disaster recovery, as well as brand development and marketing strategies, and will offer additional resources and expert support from successful entrepreneurs and bank officers.
The original cohort will be exposed to intensive workshops on finance and marketing, during a weekend-boot camp where a collaborative environment will be constantly promoted to share ideas and experiences. At the end of the boot camp, there will be a final challenge where the entrepreneurs will present a marketing plan, demonstrating acquired knowledge. The program will offer various incentives for their efforts, including money prizes and commercial bank accounts with one year of fees waved.
The new participants will attend a four-day workshop guided by business experts which will focus on small business growth and optimization. This capacitation program will conclude with a graduation ceremony where five participants will be selected to receive additional individual advisory services.
FirstBank Puerto Rico and INprende will market the program in partnership with GFR Media.
Phase 1: Weekend Boot Camp for First Cohort of Entrepreneurs
Phase 1, Day 1: Intensive six-hour workshop on Finance
Phase 1, Day 2: Intensive four-hour workshop on Marketing, Speed Networking Lunch, and Final challenge
Phase 2: Four-day Capacitation for Newcomers
Phase 2, Days 1-4: Eight-hour day capacitation program with specific tools – “Kit PYME” – on business optimization
Phase 2, Day 4: Results presentation and Graduation Ceremony
Small businesses and entrepreneurs in Puerto Rico have long faced significant obstacles in developing their ideas and successfully growing their business operations. Specifically, they have are met with poor access capital, severe competition from large corporations, and the lack of business training and technical support.
Moreover, the Island is in an increasingly precarious fiscal condition, with no access to public debt markets and the largest outstanding debt in its history. These conditions and more have made local small businesses and entrepreneurs even more vulnerable.
This systemic issue was exacerbated in September of 2018, when the Caribbean region was hit by hurricanes Irma and María. The storms caused massive physical destruction and loss of life, and led to widespread and persistent power outages, lack of potable water, and disruptions to telecommunications and travel, severely impacting the economic activity, particularly for small businesses.
In response to these challenges, FirstBank Puerto Rico and INprende launched 1Éxito, a program that sponsors small businesses and entrepreneurs in urban centers of Puerto Rico, providing them with financial education, technical training, and mentorship. The program comprises innovative courses and one-on-one mentorship in various financial topics. 1Éxito was launched in 2018, with an initial cohort of 70 entrepreneurs from 10 municipalities. Through the program’s support, small business owners and entrepreneurs are equipped with the necessary resources to develop their ideas and grow their business operations.