In Puerto Rico, most of the programs for the development of new businesses reside in the metropolitan area. Through our business development programs, such as Emprende 360° and Destino Empresarial, at Foundation for Puerto Rico (FPR) we seek to decentralize these initiatives and expand the opportunities and knowledge of entrepreneurs around the island. In celebration of Global Entrepreneurship Week, we spoke with Natalia Bonderenko, Executive Director of INprende, about the importance of entrepreneurial training for the birth of new business ideas and the benefit of providing these tools to communities.
Through INprende, an organization dedicated to providing free business education in Puerto Rico and other Latin American countries, countless entrepreneurs have had the opportunity to validate their business idea and develop it.
The organization offers academic foundations and theoretical concepts of entrepreneurship, combined with its own methodology that allows entrepreneurs to implement what they have learned in a useful and practical way. Using strategic alliances, INprende is able to reach different sectors in the island. Together with FPR, they are able to cover several regions in Puerto Rico for businesses in the Visitor’s Economy.
In the business industry, there are two definitions for entrepreneurship: the emerging and the new. The emerging entrepreneur is the one who is doing some type of management to develop his business; while the new entrepreneur is the one who manages to develop his business and has been in operation for more than three months. In Puerto Rico, there is a high rate of emerging entrepreneurship.
Through our entrepreneurial programs, Destino Empresarial and Emprende 360°, INprende collaborates with FPR to close the gap between the emerging and the new entrepreneurship to stimulate economic development, providing entrepreneurial education.
A training program provides consistency to the entrepreneur, gives them the opportunity to understand and re-evaluate the viability of their business idea and works as a risk mitigation. “At the end of the program, the entrepreneur has come out of the uncertainty and into a risk scenario, as they have a hint of opportunity,” says Bonderenko. On the other hand, the program also offers them company against a lonely process. “When the entrepreneur insists in spite of the adversity, the business is born”.
Before Emprende 360°, the entrepreneur used to turn to the business sector entities, separately, in different phases of the process to create their business. However, these entities managed to unite their business training programs to help the entrepreneur evolve their idea, without duplicating efforts. “It was transcendental at the ecosystem level to see how the programs of different organizations complement each other.
These initiatives occur in different regions of the island, generating a decentralization of business education in the metropolitan area. In this way, we offer accessibility to the tools to create new businesses in their regions. “Who better than the locals […] to develop these businesses,” asks Bonderenko, since they are key to the economic growth of their communities.
Despite the pandemic, technological advances have helped several entrepreneurs continue in the process. With the right strategies, according to Bonderenko, the business can find an innovative way to continue adding value to others. “The consumer is now willing to try new things to meet needs,” concludes the executive director, who says the pandemic has introduced new ways of doing business.