President Bill Clinton, Secretary Hillary Clinton Visit Project in Punto Santiago
President Bill Clinton, Secretary Hillary Clinton, and members of the Clinton Foundation visited Punta Santiago in Puerto Rico last week, where they toured small businesses who have benefited from the Bottom Up Destination Recovery Initiative.
The delegation visited small businesses Olas Restaurant, Kreamey, Water Sports & Ecotours at Humacao Natural Reserve, and Kolore.
Secretary Hillary Clinton even tried her hand at making churros at Kreamy.
“This visit and the support from Foundation for Puerto Rico has brought a lot of benefits," said Lourdes Roman, owner of Kreamy, a local ice-cream shop.
"They have been concerned about small businesses in places where they have a hard time to make themselves heard and make sure that there is awareness that Punta Santiago is here to receive them with open arms."
After the visit President Bill Clinton tweeted, "Hillary & I spent yesterday visiting with Puerto Ricans who are rebuilding their communities, from innovative farmers, to small-business owners, to ecologists restoring habitats. It's encouraging. We all should redouble our efforts to help the people of Puerto Rico."
Within weeks of Hurricane Maria, FPR set out to support small and medium-sized businesses so they could reopen and/or continue operations. FPR has supported more than 200 businesses in 11 municipalities with an investment of half a million dollars.
Led by FPR, The Bottom Up Destination Recovery Initiative aims to support communities in their long-term sustainable recovery through collaborative efforts with local community leaders.
As part of the initiative, it is critical that community members take a front row seat in the revitalization planning and implementation. In the case of Punta Santiago, FPR joined forces P.E.C.E.S., a local non-profit founded in 1985 that provides prevention services, education and entrepreneurial training in the island's southeastern region.
“Foundation for Puerto Rico is committed to the social and economic development of our communities through multisectoral collaborations. Through the Bottom Up Destination Recovery Initiative, our goal is to help communities recover quicker and develop resilience for their long-term economic growth by creating, in alliance with key stakeholders, a Community Destination Development Plan to cultivate economic opportunities focused on the visitor economy and help increase both local and international tourism,” emphasized Annie Mayol, president and COO of Foundation for Puerto Rico.
“The objective is to co-design the entire process with our partners and the community,” added Mayol.
FPR committed to expand the Bottom Up Destination Recovery Initiative in partnership with local non-profits Centro para Emprendedores, Grupo Guayacán, Kiva and Fundación Banco Popular, among others. The initiative is expanding to impact 24 communities in 12 towns during the next years. Its goal is to support 300 additional small businesses and create 72 new businesses and 1,116 jobs.