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Grupo Guayacán Inc. (GGI) announced Monday it has opened the applications process for SPRINGBOARD, the organization’s newest program, which is sponsored by the Small Business Administration’s Growth Accelerator Fund Prize, and will be delivered in partnership with the Angel Resource Institute (ARI).
SPRINGBOARD provides early stage entrepreneurs the knowledge, tools, and resources to build and scale successful investable ventures through a series of educational workshops, coaching sessions, one-on-one mentoring, and the opportunity to pitch to investors at a Demo Day at the end of the program.
“At Guayacán, we’re proud to offer this new program to the local entrepreneurial community. SPRINGBOARD was designed to fill one of our ecosystem’s greatest gaps, investment-readiness education coupled with access to early stage risk capital,” said Laura Cantero, GGI’s executive director.
“We’re excited to continue our partnership with ARI to deliver world-class content around early stage investment and prepare our most promising start-ups to raise the smart capital they need to launch and scale global ventures from Puerto Rico,” she said.
“We invite high potential, innovative start-ups and graduates from the various entrepreneurial development programs in Puerto Rico to apply for SPRINGBOARD and take an important step towards scaling their ventures,” Cantero said.
SPRINGBOARD’s custom curriculum, developed by ARI in collaboration with GGI, will include six hands-on workshops, three coaching sessions, one-on-one mentoring opportunities, and multiple pitching practices. During the program, start-ups will learn to look at their ventures from an investor’s point of view, understand what they need in place before considering raising capital, and get an inside look at everything that goes in to pitching, negotiating, and structuring a deal with investors.
The program will kick-off on Aug. 27th with workshops every other week and ongoing deliverables and coaching. SPRINGBOARD concludes with a Demo Day in December, where top startups will pitch their ventures to a panel of local and international early stage investors. At Demo Day, start-ups will also compete for up to $50,000 in equity-free seed capital from GGI.
ARI is a nonprofit organization founded in 2006 as part of the Kauffman Foundation’s efforts to promote and support angel investors. The Institute offers educational programs, mentorship, research and best practices related to the practice of angel investing and is the leading provider of capacity building and research for the development of early stage investors.
ARI’s Vice Chairman, Troy Knauss, will be SPRINGBOARD’s lead instructor. He brings more than 20 years of entrepreneurial experience in startup, growth, and family businesses, collaborates with a number of angel funds and networks, and is an active investor in multiple companies.
Knauss began his work in Puerto Rico in 2014, offering educational workshops to current and prospective angel investors. Over the past two years he has remained highly engaged with the local ecosystem, offering workshops, mentoring, and coaching to local angels and start-up entrepreneurs.
ARI’s Co-Chair, Susan Preston, will join Knauss as Co-Instructor for SPRINGBOARD. Preston is a world-recognized expert in angel financing, published author, and partner in various early stage funds throughout the Western United States.
“At the Angel Resource Institute, we are proud to strengthen our partnership with Grupo Guayacán to deliver this new program focused on getting startups ready to pitch to investors and raise the capital they need to launch and scale,” Knauss said.
“I’m looking forward to continue collaborating with Guayacán to support the developent of high impact global ventures from Puerto Rico. It is very exciting to be a part of the ongoing evolution of Puerto Rico’s entrepreneurial ecosystem; during my visits for the past two years, I’ve been happy to witness the entrepreneurial community growing stronger every day,” said Knauss.
In 2015, GGI was among the winners of the 2015 Growth Accelerator Fund Competition, a U.S.-wide initiative from the SBA that awards cash prizes to organizations that provide support to help startups grow, become commercially viable, and achieve measurable and sustained economic impact.
This funding allowed GGI to create and launch SPRINGBOARD, broadening the organization’s programmatic offering through a highly targeted program aimed at dealing with one of the local ecosystem’s greatest areas of need.
Interested start-ups must submit an online application at bit.ly/SPRINGBOARD. Applications close June 2nd, 2016.