(San Juan, P.R.) – In order to significantly increase the success rate in the business community in Puerto Rico, the Department of Housing (PRDOH) launched the Small Business Incubators and Accelerators (SBIA) Program.

Due to the emergency created by the COVID-19 threat, the program is receiving applications through www.cdbg-dr.pr.gov (https://www.cdbg-dr.pr.gov/) or at 1 (833)-234-2324.

“The safety and wellbeing of the people is, without a doubt, our priority at this time. The rebuilding of the Island cannot be put on hold. For this reason, and in accordance with Executive Order 2020-023, issued by Governor Wanda Vázquez-Garced, our staff will review applications remotely,” explained PRDOH Secretary Luis Fernández-Trinchet.

It was reported that the SBIA Program assists organizations that can operate or develop incubators or accelerators for small businesses. These entities may be nonprofits or community development organizations, higher education public institutions, and administrative agencies or departments of the Government of Puerto Rico.

Through these organizations, the program intends to provide technical assistance, assistance for operational costs, and assistance for construction-related architecture, engineering, and design services to rehabilitate incubators and accelerators.

The initiative—which is part of the Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery Program (CDBG-DR)—will also support the growth and success of new companies and businesses in their first stages of operation.

“As a response to the unemployment situation after the storm, Puerto Rico recognizes that a combination of ideas, talent, capital, and a culture of openness and collaboration are vital for promoting an innovative business development ecosystem that will boost long-term recovery,” said the secretary.

The Secretary further stated that “the strong correlation between entrepreneurial spirit and its ability to promote economic innovation, job creation, productivity, and wealth accumulation within communities is an unmet need. These funds are there to address these gaps in our Island’s socioeconomic development.”

SBIA Program applicants may benefit through one of two options.

On the one hand, the program includes technical assistance for developing businesses related to the incubation or acceleration of new and small businesses and associated activities.

The technical assistance that will be provided by the program covers basic business concepts, ventures, commercialization, financial management, business etiquette, compliance with regulations, marketing, presentation skills, business planning, disclosure plans and strategies, cooperative or nonprofit development, and business development.

On the other hand, technical assistance is provided in connection with the construction option. This alternative entails renovating or building a space for an incubator or accelerator and the associated programs that will take place at said facilities. This option will be developed once the emergency ends.

Some examples include shared resources or offices, affordable workspaces and physical resources to make the space functional for developing and operating small businesses, research or manufacturing spaces, computer assisted design (CAD) facilities, industrial kitchens, aquatic or agricultural technology research and development (R&D) spaces, chemical or biotechnology laboratories, and green and renewable energy technology R&D spaces.