Incubator encourages Puerto Rican entrepreneurs to grow their businesses

By Paula Machado, Reporter
Last Updated: Thursday, February 08, 2018, 6:03 PM EST

Hurricane Maria left hundreds of Puerto Rican businesses owners in the dark, but Seminole County is offering a brighter future and an opportunity to relocate.

  • Business Incubator encourages Puerto Ricans to grow businesses
  • Entrepreneurs can apply for shared office spaces
  • Incubator organized an open house Thursday
  • RELATED: Hurricane Maria impact

"I had a business of landscaping back there in Puerto Rico,” said Carlos García, who’s been in Central Florida for a few months. Hurricane Maria essentially paused his business indefinitely.

"There was no communication, no transport for many areas of the island, and I thought I would start here again,” said García about relocating to Seminole County.

The Seminole Technology Business Incubator wants Puerto Rican entrepreneurs displaced by the storm to start business in the county.

"With the influx of the Puerto Rican community coming here, it just makes sense. We need to support them, and in return we get a lot of economic impact in Seminole County as well,” said Amy Kirkland, director of the Center for Business Development at Seminole State College.

For the first time, entrepreneurs can apply for shared office spaces at no cost and take advantage of all services offered at the business incubator to grow their business.

On Thursday, the incubator organized an open house where they partnered with all the movers and shakers in the community and invited folks like Garcia to network.

"I have contact information and new business meetings next week,” García said.

His goal is that his business blooms before the summer time.