SMALL BUSINESS SUPPORT

The Small Business Support Program was created after hurricane María to support existing business owners remain open, retain employees and optimize their business through immediate business assistance and relief. Likewise, this project seeks to promote the local economy in areas with a high impact to the island tourism. In order to implement and strengthen this initiative, we joined forces with Centro para Emprendedores and the Puerto Rico TechnoEconomic Corridor (PRTECH) to support and provide different types of assistance during the interventions.

Traditionally, post-disaster recovery models have a stronger focus on infrastructure, restoration and other elements of household recovery than on economic resilience, including business continuity through technical assistance. Therefore, and given the popularity of the program, we're designing the next phase, called Small Business Support & Development Program. In addition to the cash grant and technical assistance, this phase emphasizes on fostering resilience against future catastrophic events by educating micro entrepreneurs and small businesses on disaster preparedness, response plans, and use and installation of basic equipment included in a Business Resiliency Kit. This way, we integrate parts of immediate relief efforts with a recovery approach, which is one way to ensure the economic development of our communities.

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Lessons Learned: Small Business Cash Grant Program

A year after Hurricane María, we presented the lessons learned from our Small Business Support Program and policy recommendations to support businesses after major disasters.

Though FEMA estimates 40-60% of businesses close within a year of a disaster, our data shows that 89% of businesses that participated in our program are still open today, two years after the storm.

Learn more about how we are continuing to support the backbone of Puerto Rico’s economy, small businesses through our Bottom Up Destination Recovery Initiative.

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