Rodrick Miller, Invest Puerto Rico CEO announced the expansion of the organization in the U.S. states of California and New York as a strategy to maximize efforts in educating about and attracting business opportunities to the island. The entity will be hiring two full-time staff personnel to further its agenda.
Invest Puerto Rico is also in the process of selecting representation in Asia and Europe, which should be culminated by the end of the calendar year ideally. These officials will be focused on recruiting investors in the areas of financial services, professional services, and technology, explained Miller, also former president and CEO of the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation.
“The short term strategy is that we’re going to sell the incentives primarily on a lot of the stuff that is I would say is more people intensive because quite frankly it’s easy to get people in financial services and some of these other areas,” said the executive in a round table discussion with manufacturing industry leaders.
The teams will be focused on informing future prospects on Puerto Rico’s competitive value, which Miller indicates is the ability to infiltrate different markets and different cultures, as we have with Caribbean, Latino, and U.S. markets.
“For a company, that is very valuable,” said Miller.
As part of their strategy to familiarize future partners with the business opportunities in Puerto Rico, the teams will be hosting events to present compelling business cases and proposals while maintaining effective communication with Puerto Rican municipalities, island government and private sector partners, according to the duties and responsibilities section of the Business Development Director position listed on the Invest Puerto Rico website career center.
While attracting investment on the manufacturing sector remains a challenge in Miller’s opinion, the business expert is convinced of the industry’s resilience in Puerto Rico.
“What we’re seeing on the manufacturing front is a much more complicated game, because as much as markets want to move away from manufacturing, nothing’s going to invest at the level of manufacturing, nothing in terms of the long-term is going to be kind of as sustainable because once you have that infrastructure on the ground, I know how on the ground from the manufacturing perspective its harder to move it,” said Miller.
While Puerto Rico offers aggressive incentives for companies to establish themselves on the island, one of the opportunities that Miller sees in economic growth in is fixing Puerto Rico’s endemic problems that cause the need for those incentives in the first place.
“We’re addressing competitive disadvantages in terms of cost of transportation, in terms of cost of energy, were addressing competitive disadvantages in terms of access to labor, access to new markets, so all of those things are competitive disadvantages; unless we invest in those things long term, those incentives are going to have to continue to go up over time,” Miller added.
Miller statement was made during a round table in preamble to the week that is dedicated to celebrating the manufacturing industry starting this Sept. 23, where industry leaders joined government representatives to plead for support.
The manufacturing industry represents a 45 percent contribution to Puerto Rico’s overall gross national income, according to Migdalia Rosado, executive director of PriMEX, a private non-profit organization that created and retained 4,891 manufacturing jobs in the 2018 fiscal year.
The leaders reiterated this industry’s permanence in generating economic activity on the island, generating more than 74,000 jobs on the island today with over 1,700 different manufacturing companies.
The group established a collective call to search for more opportunities and strategies on how this industry can see improvement in terms of government permisology, approval of labels for different products and distribution mechanisms among other issues.