In 2013, the Echar Pa'lante Collective Impact Initiative (EPL), sponsored by Banco Popular de Puerto Rico, committed to accelerate the development of Puerto Rico's next generation of entrepreneurs by scaling and expanding the impact of its individual programs Island-wide; reinforcing them with new complementary programs; and establishing an integrated and cohesive system to accompany young entrepreneurs in their journey from intermediate school to university so that at least 8,000 students are impacted of which 1,650 will gain access to afterschool programs and mentoring opportunities. Professional development and skills-based trainings are expected to impact 400 teachers, 100 mentors, and 200 parents.
The Commitment to Action will help integrate all EPL Youth programs into a master cohesive system that will accompany kids though their journey from seventh grade to the university and result in a larger impact than the individual EPL programs on their own. An EPL Youth Entrepreneurship Team will coordinate efforts and composed of representatives of the CTA partners, as well as a group of senior educators serving as advisors. EPL allies already include leading local educators in entrepreneurship, the leaders of the education committees of Puerto Rico's main professional organizations and key members of Puerto Rico's entrepreneurial ecosystem. Also, EPL will add experts in curriculum development from both public and private institutions to reinforce the team. Noteworthy, the main sources of expertise, capacity and resources will be provided by the volunteer mentors/collaborators that will be brought onboard by the professional organizations through their member services departments.
The system will include a series of experiences that will provide young entrepreneurs the opportunity to exhibit and sell their products in a variety of events, and at participating retailers, such as annual conventions of the main professional organizations (ie. Made in Puerto Rico Fair, Made in Puerto Rico Convention, Puerto Rico Manufacturers Association Convention, Chamber of Commerce Convention, Centro Unido de Detallistas Convention and SHRM Convention).
Individual Programs to be Scaled and Expanded:
The School Communities Pilot with Entrepreneurship component will be expanded from the current 11 to 23 and 41 intermediate level schools in August 2013 and January 2014 respectively, in a build-block approach. The program serves 10 to 15 students per semester per school through entrepreneurship workshops, resulting in 1 to 2 new micro-businesses per semester per school. The scale-up should result in an increase from 30 new micro-businesses in 2012-2013 to a minimum of 80 micro-enterprises during 2014. To be able to serve the larger number of youth, workshops will be provided in two regional locations with the support of the University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez, the Interamerican University System and the Puerto Rico Techno Economic Corridor.
Puerto Rico Manufacturer's Association (PRMA) Yo Soy un Futuro Empresario Extracurricular school program will be re-established in all PRMA regions and expanded from 130 kids in 2012-2013 to 300+ kids in 2013-2014, and 1300 in 2014-2015 with the support of the PRMA regional chapters. The expansion will be supported by a PRMA members mentors program.
Alianza para la Eduación en Economía y Finanzas Personales Vocational Teachers Entrepreneurship 'train-the-trainer' module to be offered to all Technical and Vocational Teachers Island-wide (program developed in coordination with the Department of Education). The module prepares vocational teachers to develop entrepreneurship skills embedded in the vocational curriculum.
New Complementary Programs to be added:
-Made in Puerto Rico Jr. Chapters will be established in the original schools of the School Communities Pilot.
-PRMA Yo Soy un Futuro Empresario Advanced program for returning young entrepreneurs
-Chamber of Commerce Entrepreneurship Workshop for Youth with Special Needs (High School and University level)
-Young Entrepreneurship EXPO (a la Science Fair; Marketplace format) sponsored and developed by an alliance of universities composed of: the University of Puerto Rico, Interamerican University, University of the Sacred Heart, Sistema Universitario Ana G. Méndez and EDP University.
-Young Entrepreneur Parents Module
-AARP Mentor Volunteer Program
-Tech Based Entrepreneurship Educational Videos developed by Microsoft, University of the Sacred Heart and BPPR.
Integrated and Cohesive System to be Established:
Annual Calendar of Opportunities to exhibit and sell for Young Entrepreneurs 7-16 at:
-Made in Puerto Rico Annual Fair (December)
-Made in Puerto Rico Annual Convention (April)
-Puerto Rico Manufacturers Association Annual Convention (May)
-Puerto Rico Chamber of Commerce Annual Convention (June)
-Centro Unido de Detallistas Annual Convention (August)
-SHRM Annual Convention (September)
-Participating companies, such as Banco Popular de Puerto Rico and Walmart, will host events at selected dates throughout the year
All efforts will be coordinated by the EPL Youth Entrepreneurship Team with the support of the Department of Education of Puerto Rico.
This CTA's first year will begin in August 2013 with the establishment of the Puerto Rico EPL/CGI Team.
The preliminary implementation plan is as follows:
OND 2013: Development of Detailed CTA Execution Plan for 2013-2014 by the EPL/CGI Team
- Start Development of Awareness and Educational Campaign via Mass and Alternative Media
- Launch volunteer mentor program pilot (50 start-up volunteers)
- Start Hecho en Puerto Rico Jr. Clubs Pilot at 5 selected intermediate level schools
- Start of 500 vocational teachers/mentor/parents entrepreneurship training program
- Start of ongoing Young Entrepreneurs Development and Exhibition program
- Start Yo Soy un Futuro Empresario program at all PRMA regions
JFM 2014: Conduct Young Entrepreneurs EXPO pilot
- Start University Student Entrepreneurs pilot (currently at pre-pilot stage)
- Start Tech-based Young Entrepreneurs program (currently at pre-pilot stage)
AMJ 2014: Launch Entrepreneurship Teacher's and Mentors Recognition program
JAS 2014: Expand University Student Entrepreneurs program Island-wide
- Expand volunteer mentors program Island-wide
OND 2014: Deploy train-the-trainer teacher's program through Department of Education
JFM 2015: Expand Young Entrepreneurs EXPO
AMJ 2015: Launch Parent's Recognition program
Puerto Rico's entrepreneurial sector is underdeveloped to the point of curtailing significantly the Island's potential economic growth. According to Dr. Mario Marazzi from the Statistics Institute, Puerto Rico has the lowest number of enterprises per capita compared to all U.S. states and territories, and one of the lowest entrepreneurial ratios in the world.
There are very few educational and/or government programs supporting the development of entrepreneurship in Puerto Rico. Furthermore, former Secretary of Education Dr. César Rey reports that the educational system lacks teachers trained in entrepreneurial education and has limited programs to develop an entrepreneurial mindset and the skillset needed among the Island's youth. Puerto Rico needs to accelerate the development of an entrepreneurial culture, as a fundamental component of the Island's economic growth strategy. To this end, Puerto Rico must transform its educational system with the support of the private sector by embedding into every curricular, co-curricular, and extra-curricular program K-16 (university level) the development of entrepreneurial competency and skills.
The Echar Pa'lante Collective Impact Initiative (EPL) was launched in Puerto Rico in August 2011 with the mission of fostering a change in attitude among the people of Puerto Rico to increase self-reliance and productivity. Over 250 organizations and individuals from private, non-profit, and public sectors have committed to participate in EPL. EPL is an action-driven initiative with two main initial objectives: 1) accelerate the development of a Global Entrepreneurial Culture in Puerto Rico; and 2) reduce intermediate grade student school desertion. Within the eight main EPL strategies is the development of a critical mass of Next Generation entrepreneurs via intermediate and high school-aligned programs. The EPL Youth Entrepreneurship vision is for 'every kid in Puerto Rico to experience a business start-up at the intermediate grade school level, as a means to uncover and explore their inner potential.'
Puerto Rico's Youth Entrepreneurship Commitment is seeking support in identifying entrepreneurship and creativity/innovation education programs for teachers, mentors, coaches, parents and 6-16 youth that could be implemented in the Island. The Commitment also needs funding to train a critical mass of intermediate and high school teachers in entrepreneurship and the development of creativity/innovation skills.