Orlando  Bravo

Last May, Orlando Bravo pledged $100 million to the Bravo Family Foundation for the promotion of entrepreneurship and economic development in Puerto Rico, where he was raised, and his family still lives. (Courtesy)

Mathematically speaking 10 isn’t a perfect number, but it is for the10 innovative companies selected to participate in the Bravo Family Foundation’s Rising Entrepreneurs Program (REP).

The initiative focuses on backing startups in early to mid-stage product development.

After completing a rigorous process of interviews and presentations, BookSloth, CINCO Engineering, FiberWolf LLC, Insu Health Design Inc., Local Guest LLC, Pratian LLC, Raincoat, Skootel, Synchrolog and Momentum Creative Lab became the first class that will continue on with the intensive program that runs from February to May.

Rising Entrepreneurs Program

The Rising Entrepreneurs Program focuses on backing startups in early to mid-stage product development. In the picture, Orlando Bravo (center) shares a moment with the semifinalists. (Courtesy)

The chosen teams, explained the Foundation in a press release, will receive a one-time seed grant of $30,000 to cover resources needed by the teams to run their operation, living expenses and relocation to the foundation’s headquarters in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico. The teams will work with committed mentors, receive individualized attention from experts and have access to the Mayagüez-based office hub.

REP follows a model of working with small cohorts in a deep immersion experience to learn skills and solve primary challenges. The new entrepreneurs will learn strategies to help them design a marketable product, build a sales pipeline, create clear operations systems, use target marketing and establish and grow a solid customer base.

“We congratulate all the teams that participated in the presentations of their companies. We saw a lot of talent in the 32 teams that presented their innovative business ideas. We are very excited to start with the 10 selected teams that will take part in the complete program, which provides them with the necessary resources to strengthen their ideas and continue empowering their companies,” expressed Orlando Bravo, founder of the Bravo Family Foundation.

The Puerto Rican co-founder and managing partner of a private equity investment firm reflects on his trades and a $100 million grant to promote economic development on the island

The program kicks off on Feb. 3 with the “Team Building and Agile Bootcamp”, and ends on May 7 with an award and closing ceremony.

At the beginning of last week, Bravo, described by Forbes as “Wall Street’s hottest dealmaker” and the first Puerto Rico-born billionaire, Eduardo Emanuelli, founder of EF Group, and Blanca Santos, CFO of Bravo Family Foundation, evaluated the participants’ pitches, selecting 32 semifinalists.

“We feel proud of all the entrepreneurs who presented their companies. We saw young people prepared and confident about showcasing their ideas. Puerto Rico has a huge pool of human talent with great potential and, through this program, we are committed to being an essential part of their future. Now, more than ever, we need to create this type of environment that provides knowledge, access and capital to help leaders move forward with their business ideas in Puerto Rico,” said Bravo when announcing the semifinalists.

The Rising Entrepreneurs Program started with an open call through the Bravo Family Foundation, in hopes of fostering business creation within recent graduates and young professionals of Puerto Rican heritage, living in or willing to move to Puerto Rico. The program prioritizes companies that are currently developing technological and innovative ventures.

Reporter for The Weekly Journal. She is a curious and fearless journalist, equipped with 16-plus years of writing. Cynthia received a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and English Literature from Sacred Heart University.

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