Titín Foundation, in conjunction with the federal agency of the Economic Development Administration (EDA), announced the launch of the “Let's Bet on the South” campaign, an effort to publicize the creation of an economic district in the south of Puerto Rico.
The pilot plan for the island's first Economic Development district will cover the municipalities of Juana Díaz, Ponce, Peñuelas, Guayanilla, Yauco, and Guánica, all affected by the earthquakes that began last year. This initiative seeks the strengthening and economic diversification of these municipalities through alliances between the public and private sectors.
The area had been experiencing considerable economic deterioration, which was exacerbated by the ravages of Hurricane Maria and, more recently, by the seismic activity.
“Our foundation has worked hand in hand with a group of outstanding professionals in education, economic development, non-profit organizations, health, creative industries, tourism, who in the past months have launched the organization of assets in the area, conducted interviews, collecting data with relevant information to develop the economic plan that the region needs," said Hazel Colón, director of programs at Titín Foundation.
For Titín Foundation, bringing and training a workforce to revitalize the area is one of the fundamental benefits of this district, which is the first federally designated in Puerto Rico. The EDA encourages entrepreneurs to build new businesses and attract industries to invest.
"Helping the economic development of southern Puerto Rico means supporting the well-being and development of all Puerto Ricans through citizen participation," Colón added.
The southern region was chosen for the implementation of this pilot project, as it has the criteria for its economic development, as established by the EDA. These requirements include that their unemployment rate is higher than the national average and that their per capita income is lower than the national average.
For Juan Bauzá, representative of the Federal Department of Commerce for the Economic Development of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, “having the designation of an economic development district in Puerto Rico opens the door to multiple opportunities for planning and economic development at the regional level on the island."
He added that "the initiative establishes the potential to create more than one economic development district on the island and insert the element of continuity to federal investment efforts in these designated areas."
To learn more about this effort, visit: eddpr.org. Citizen participation is instrumental in laying the foundations for the implementation of the Southern Economic District.