Over the past decade, and especially since the 2017 hurricane season, Puerto Rico’s population has experienced a significant decrease as their inhabitants move to mainland U.S. for better opportunities.
How is Hispanic Federation Helping?
We are channeling our efforts with both private and public sectors to create jobs, rebuild the economy, and promote sustainable business growth throughout the island.
Who Are We Helping?
PopTiendas Small Business Initiative Project (Island-wide)
To address the needs of small businesses, HF launched a major initiative with the Coca-Cola Company and Prudential Financial Inc., to provide “PopTiendas,” custom-built, self-sufficient pop-up stores made from shipping containers, to 40 eligible business owners and nonprofits on the island. Priority is given to entrepreneurs who lost their businesses as a result of Hurricane María.
Connecting Paths (Morovis and Adjuntas)
With Hispanic Federation support, Connecting Paths is implementing a multi-phased project that will provide community assessments and teach resilience, empowerment, and economic development skills. Connecting Paths aims to enhance the economic self-sufficiency of mountain communities by providing 45 women and men with training in sewing, horticultural work, and business skills to launch their own micro-enterprises. Connecting Paths also integrates workshops on personal resiliency and finance to further the empowerment of rural inhabitants.
Surcos-Centros Sor Isolina Ferrer (CSIF)
(San Juan and Ponce)
A second grant awarded to CSIF is helping to develop a fashion-centric “economic solidarity center” that will employ and train 30 seamstresses in partnership with fashion designer collective Retazo. Participants will also receive self-management and financial literacy workshops
Programa de Educación Comunal de Entrega y Servicio - PECES (Humacao)
Long dedicated to supporting local vendors, PECES is revitalizing the local economy by identifying the needs of small business and providing them with technical assistance, legal services, replacement equipment, and other needed resources. PECES also hired local contractors to rebuild homes and provide basic construction training to youth. Thirty small businesses received direct support to reopen.
Incubadora Microempresas Bieke, Inc. (Vieques)
The municipalities of Vieques and Culebra, off the east coast of Puerto Rico, are small islands connected to the main island via a limited and unreliable ferry service. To this day, they continue to receive all their power by diesel generators. With Hispanic Federation (HF) funding, Bieke is supporting microenterprises and spur economic recovery. These efforts have already catalyzed the reopening of five businesses and creation of 10 jobs, including a resilient wireless communications tower system that can be collapsed and then re-expanded to protect against a storm or hurricane. By the end of the grant project, Bieke expects to have reopened or established 15 local businesses.
Instituto de Ciencias para la Conservación de Puerto Rico – InCiCo (Island-wide)
InCiCo is using HF funds to coordinate the deployment of community kitchens and support people who prepare food from their homes to earn income. InCiCo is also tapping HF grant funds to train community members in the construction of mosquito nets through its “Las Tres Mosquiteras” initiative, with nets prioritized for individuals who have health issues or other vulnerabilities. The long-term goal for these projects is to transition them into local cooperative models.
Grupo Guayacan (Island-wide)
Grupo Guayacán, a leader in small business support, was able to use HF funding to provide select small businesses with a combination of executive education, mentorship, and coaching training. Ten businesses will also receive small grants to be used for property repairs, new equipment, marketing or sales efforts, or other general support.
Asociación Recreativa y Educativa Comunal del Barrio Mariana (ARECMA) / Proyecto Apoyo Mutuo Mariana (Humacao)
With the support of HF, ARECMA will build a 2,000-person natural amphitheater that will serve as an economic driver for the community. The amphitheater will create a gathering space for arts and culture that will also benefit vendors and small businesses, as well as provide residents with skills-building opportunities in sound recording, mixing and engineering, event production, scenery building, and lighting design. ARECMA is a community-based, non-profit committed to ensuring the well-being and integral development of the neighborhood and its people using a participatory model based on community self-management, cooperation and solidarity, and individual and collective social responsibility.
Boys and Girls Club (Loíza)
Understanding that many young people in Puerto Rico are feeling uncertain about their future on the island, HF supports the Project Makers Experience, an effort of the Boys and Girls Club in Loíza to create a long-term disaster recovery and sustainability venture that will promote youth entrepreneurship and aim to break the cycle of poverty.