SourceLink is delighted to join the Puerto Rico Science, Technology & Research Trust and the entire Puerto Rican entrepreneurial community in launching Colmena66 during Global Entrepreneurship Week.
Research from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation tells us that while older companies may be shedding them, companies that are less than 5 years old are generating net new jobs. It is important that we focus our efforts, locally, nationally and globally, on creating these new companies and helping them succeed.
At SourceLink, that’s what we do. We work with communities on the ground and all over the globe to make entrepreneurship easier by creating connected, active environments where entrepreneurship can thrive.
Building a better entrepreneurial ecosystem is a process that starts with identifying both the entrepreneurs and the resources that serve them. Connecting this vibrant network together through a central hub not only makes the community visible and accessible, it allows communities to collect information about what is happening in entrepreneurship. It allows communities to measure their entrepreneurial efforts.
That information often identifies gaps in the resource system. What is missing? Are people having trouble accessing capital? Can they easily understand the licensing and permitting process? Is basic startup advice available? Does the entrepreneur know that resources exist to support them?
From left, Maria Meyers, founder of SourceLink; Denisse Rodriguez, leader of Colmena66; and Lucy Crespo, CEO of Puerto Rico Science, Technology and Research Trust. Photo by José Madera.
Connecting Puerto Rican Entrepreneurs with On-the-Ground Resources
In Puerto Rico, we’re making resources visible, fortifying those connections and measuring the ecosystem through Colmena66, a program of the Puerto Rico Science, Technology and Research Trust. This specialized network offers entrepreneurs, merchants and organizations tools and referral services, free of charge, to help them start and grow their businesses.
The services in this referral network include:
- Easy access and connection to a network of specialized service providers with broad range expertise through a hotline and The Resource Navigator®, an online resource mapping and search tool.
- Quick link to information and a centralized calendar to help entrepreneurs start and grow businesses through SiteConnex℠, a central hub and community builder.
- A way to track clients, their requests and find gaps in services with Biz-Trakker®, SourceLink’s proprietary client relationship management system built for entrepreneurial developers.
Identifying the gaps in Puerto Rico’s entrepreneurial ecosystem can help propel its entrepreneurs and economy forward, opportunities for deeper engagement in the entrepreneurial community and collaborations across industry, education, government, nonprofits and entrepreneurs to build the infrastructure needed to create new economies.
Already, Colmena66 represents a wonderful collaboration across Puerto Rico to build an easily accessible network of resources for entrepreneurs. Almost 70 partners are involved across the commonwealth. It will be a central hub for entrepreneurial connections and we are looking forward to watching how these partnerships develop.
Connecting Puerto Rico to Best Practices in Entrepreneurial Development
We have had the privilege to work with more than 30 communities in the United States and beyond that utilize their partnerships in interesting ways. We’re excited to connect Puerto Rico to the research, development and best practices in entrepreneurial ecosystem building.
As just a small handful of examples:
NetWork Kansas built a system called e-communities that trains rural regions in entrepreneurial thinking. A partnership with the state allows each certified community access to funds that can be invested in their locally chosen businesses, bringing millions of dollars to rural Kansas.
With the help of KCSourceLink, a partnership between the city of Kansas City, Missouri; a microloan fund; the small business and technology development center and women’s business center created a program for the urban core that helped train, fund and start 15 business in the last year brining 83 new jobs to the city.
IASourceLink created 42 new companies in one week through creative partnerships across the state during Global Entrepreneurship week in 2015.
SourceLink has helped with solutions and consulting as our SourceLink communities define goals and achieve them. Puerto Rico is taking the steps to build a stronger and better connected environment for developing entrepreneurs through Colmena66. We are looking forward to working with Colmena66 to meet its goals for entrepreneurship and ignite the excitement that comes from a well-connected entrepreneurial community.