The Colmena66 team, with its director Denisse Rodríguez on the extreme left. (GFR Average)
Colmena66, a program of the Trust for Science, Technology and Research, reported that in 2019 it served 2,330 entrepreneurs and business owners, 133% more than the previous year.
This is one of the metrics that the program dedicated to connecting and guiding entrepreneurs and business for free included in its most recent annual impact report, recently released.
In 2019 Colmena66 also made at least 7,303 referrals to support organizations and programs in its network of 240 members.
In addition to documenting its interventions, Colmena66 feeds its annual report with a survey administered to impacted entrepreneurs and merchants. This survey showed that 51% of the entrepreneurs who received assistance identify themselves as women, 49% as men. While 30% of those who contacted the program to start or grow businesses were 25 to 34 years old and 41% had at least a college baccalaureate degree.
“Our vision as ecosystem builders is to cultivate a local business ecosystem that is inclusive, equitable, diverse and accessible to all, regardless of their demographic or socioeconomic origin”, stated Denisse Rodríguez Colón, executive director of Colmena66, when communicating the results.
The most represented industries were: retail sales, creative industries and professional services.
The survey also pointed out that 23% of the participants already had their own business and were looking to grow it, while 18% want to start a business without leaving their current job. Meanwhile, 15% are employed full time with the intention of starting a business to leave their current job and 62% are in the idea or concept development stage.
Regarding the motivations to undertake, 31% indicated that they have many ideas, 22% that they do so out of financial necessity, 18% to solve a problem and 13% inspired by their expertise in an area or industry.
Meanwhile, the top five reasons entrepreneurs and business owners sought help were: mentorship, business plan assistance, loans, start-up assistance, and grants.
“Colmena66 has been our key program in the construction of the business ecosystem of Puerto Rico, fulfilling the Trust's commitment to our entrepreneurs who are the creators of change that drive innovation and economic activity,” said Lucy Crespo. , Chief Executive Officer of the Trust.
Regarding the projects carried out in 2019, the Boricua Emprende Fest stood out: a full day dedicated to educating and celebrating entrepreneurship, where 1,157 people participated and 72 speakers offered 32 training sessions and talks.
In November, Colmena66 managed to get the federal Small Business Administration (SBA) to make a stop on its SBIR / STTR Road Tour in Puerto Rico to promote the use of these federal grant programs for innovative technologies, which are known as the seed fund for innovation.
Fifteen federal agencies participated in that tour.
Colmena66 also belongs to a network in the United States of more than 55 organizations of ecosystem builders: SourceLink, an organization that helps communities identify, connect, empower and measure their business ecosystems. In just three years, Colmena66 has consistently ranked among the top 5 affiliates in key performance indicators with factors such as: hours of advice and strength in its network of resources, it was reported