Startups Are the Future of Puerto Rico: How New Business is Rebuilding the Island
Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico’s electrical infrastructure and left an island of people without food, water, and in some cases, shelter, in September of 2017.
But, a spirit of strength and a concerted effort to rebuild has revived this colonial territory, and many business experts believe that Puerto Rico could soon become a technological playground.
In the wake of devastation, Puerto Rico is quickly becoming the island of the future, with its favorable tax laws making it easier for startups to get their businesses off the ground.
Some of the technologies beginning to prosper in Puerto Rico today include renewable energy, cryptocurrencies and smart cities.
Innovation Pumps Cash into the Local Economy
Startups have always been known as the innovators of the world because they can take risks that many of the bigger companies aren’t willing or able to take.
New startups launching in Puerto Rico are able to directly address many of the issues that have arisen on the island since the hurricane, leaving them with the golden opportunity to earn cash, while helping the U.S. territory produce innovative solutions to the problems they still face.
Pre-Accelerator Programs Offer Obvious Advantages
Pre18, a program with the intention of rebuilding Puerto Rico, is granting more than $20,000 in training and support for new businesses, leading to direct benefits for up-and-coming entrepreneurs who want to make a difference on the island.
The ultimate goal behind the Pre18 program is to keep opportunities available to the talented entrepreneurs, who would otherwise leave the island for greener pastures.
It’s providing entrepreneurs with the incentive to stick around and boost the local economy, so they can make incredible innovations that will turn Puerto Rico into the island of the future.
“The startup scene in Puerto Rico is rapidly growing and attracting regional attention. There are already a dozen accelerators and incubators on the Island,” explained Edwin Miranda, CEO and Founder of KOI IXS, a Puerto Rican performance marketing agency.
Miranda’s agency played an integral role in the United for Puerto Rico campaign that raised over $40 million in donations to help individuals and businesses in need of assistance after the hurricane.
As a direct result of the hurricane, many Puerto Rican people flooded into the mainland of the United States. In fact, over 200,000 Puerto Ricans migrated to Florida alone, seeking relief from the dangers on the island.
Fortunately, with new businesses popping up in Puerto Rico, it’s giving rise to opportunities for people on the island to make a difference. In addition, the business growth is presenting the locals with more opportunity, so they don’t have to leave their island home.
The Biggest Upcoming Technologies in Puerto Rico
Because of the advantageous tax laws, Puerto Rico has quickly become a crypto tax haven for cryptocurrency companies, and all signs point to this trend continuing.
Some of the crypto companies that have taken up residence here include Block V, Videocoin and BlockOne.
Another technology that has found favor in Puerto Rico over the past year is renewable energy. When the hurricane hit Puerto Rico, the aftermath left many Puerto Ricans without power. In fact, 11,000 Puerto Ricans still have no electricity in 2018.
This, however, has opened the door of opportunity for startups in the renewable energy field. In fact, even some of the bigger companies like Tesla took an interest in the island, and have already provided power to more than 662 locations.
Florida Representative, Darren Soto, said that Puerto Rico could eventually become an experimental workshop when it comes to wind and solar energy, which could also help rebuild the island’s electrical infrastructure.
Although the efforts to rebuild in the aftermath of the hurricane are far from over, the people and businesses of Puerto Rico have proven to be resilient. And it’s that resiliency that is launching Puerto Rico’s startup community into the future.