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Something promising is happening at the Hecho en Puerto Rico store in Plaza Las Américas. A new breed of extremely young entrepreneurs is emerging, eagerly betting on the development and sale of local products.
The cross-sectional partnership between Echar Pa’ Lante and the Puerto Rico Products Association is offering a great opportunity for students from private and public schools and colleges to sell their products. These new microentrepreneurs currently occupy four of the store’s retail spaces.
“The Puerto Rico Products Association has partnered with Echar Pa’ Lante, and we have collaborated over the past few years in an effort to stimulate entrepreneurship and innovation among our youth,” stated Gloria Viscasillas, Leading Integrator at Echar Pa’ Lante.
College students sell their products Monday thru Friday, under the centralized coordination of Vitrina Solidaria, a non-profit organization that supports microentrepreneurs. High school students who are part of the Department of Education’s entrepreneurship programs get their turn on weekends.
Products sold by these youngsters include soap, traditional sweets, lotions, recyclable fabric bags, wood carvings, signs, paintings, jewelry, rag dolls, and coffee products. These handmade goods are added to the wide variety of Puerto Rican products being sold in the store.
“This has been a rewarding experience for these kids, and they have learned a lot,” the Echar Pa’ Lante leader pointed out. She added that the overall support received by the store and the microentrepreneurs’ products has surpassed the established sales goals.
A Space for Self-Management
Echar Pa’ Lante has helped set up a new conference room at the store—which is also the headquarters for the Puerto Rico Products Association—to provide a meeting place for the group’s members. The space also has a coworking area established by EDP University, thanks to a fund allocation from the Embracing Puerto Rico campaign.