The secretary of the Department of Economic Development and Commerce (DDEC by its Spanish acronym), Manuel A. Laboy, announced the public agency's support to seven companies in the food and textiles production sector, whose investments total $3.1 million and more than 700 jobs.
"Our commitment is incentivizing the development of different economic sectors, including local business owners. Therefore, the DDEC supports the expansion of these companies through the Puerto Rico Incentives Code, granting them incentives to acquire machinery and equipment, as well as to create jobs," the secretary said in a missive.
"Puerto Rico has a chain of entrepreneurial talent, which throughout time have reinvented with plans to continue expanding their growth and joining new markets, This is why for the past three years we have developed and implemented different projects with the goal of offering better tools to boost local entrepreneurism," he added.
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The local companies to be recently supported by the DDED in the food sector are: Productos Chebo’s, Amasar LLC, Farm City, and Productos La Finca. The private investment of these companies is close to $890,400. Meanwhile, the investment of other companies in the textile manufacturing sector include Kandor, Puerto Rico Apparel Manufacturing, and Pentaq Manufacturing, whose overall investment is roughly $2,210,800.
Productos Chebo’s, Inc., will operate from the municipality of San Sebastián and will be dedicated to the manufacture of cold meats, pork cuts, and other derivative products.
"For more than 20 years we have dedicated ourselves to the creation of artisan sausages and we have seen how the product has been welcomed and liked by the people who visit our Manhattan Café Restaurant, in the town of San Sebastián. So, we decided to build a manufacturing plant for cold meats, pasteles, fried foods, sofrito, among others, in order to take our products to the entire population through supermarkets and department stores. This way, you will be able to taste our excellent products, which we understand is the best in all of Puerto Rico. We will be creating 40 direct and indirect jobs that will be helping our local economy. We take this opportunity to thank the [DDEC] and its secretary for the support provided to fulfill this great dream of reaching the table of so many households," said Productos Chebo's owner César Fuentes.
In the past few years, multiple Puerto Rican business owners have undertaken in different sectors, but applying innovation, either in the manufacturing processes of their products or even in the product they offer. This is the case of Amasar, which uses pana (breadfruit) as its main ingredient for making all-purpose flours.
"After almost four years running the AMASAR LLC agribusiness, where we produce gluten-free breadfruit superfruit flours (All-Purpose Breadfruit mix 24 oz, as well as Breadfruit Pancakes and Waffles Mix 8.5 oz.), we are preparing to offer you, the consumer, even more healthy and nutritious options. Soon, we will launch new products for different palates and special diets. Today our products transcend our borders thanks to various e-commerce platforms. In our business plan, we plan to formally export our products to the United States. We appreciate the support of the DDEC and especially our consumers for their support of local and innovative products such as our bread flour," said Marisol Villalobos Rivera, owner of Amasar.
Expects to create 50 jobs within the next months
Moreover, Laboy affirmed that manufacturing has been a top priority in the Department's economic development agenda.
"During the past months we have seen how Puerto Rican companies adjusted their operations to produce personal protective equipment, given the shortage that arose after the spread of COVID-19. It is important that this sector, which also manufactures clothing for state government agencies such as the U.S. Department of Defense, among others, continues to expand its operations.," he stated.
José M. Rodríguez, president of Kandor Manufacturing, said that the "high cost" of manufacturing and the shortage of labor force in the textile sector of the U.S. mainland open new opportunities for Puerto Rico. Thanks to its expansion process in automated equipment, among other investments, the company's workforce has increased by 30 percent for a total 340 employees.
Available for self-employed individuals and entities
"We remain committed to providing the necessary investment tools so that our local entrepreneurs can make their business plans viable. I invite you to consume the products and/or use the services that are produced on the island. Thus, we invest in our people and make sure that the money from these activities stays in Puerto Rico.," Laboy added.
For more information on available incentives, visit www.ddec.pr.gov/codigo-de-incentivos/.