The Bravo Family Foundation (BFF) is accepting applications for the third edition of its Rising Entrepreneurs Program (REP) scheduled for 2022. The call for applications starts Oct. 1 and ends Oct 31. In its third edition, the REP program will duplicate the number of finalists to 20 companies. These companies will be divided into 2 cohorts of 10 participants each to enable them to experience a more detailed learning process.
The REP supports local tech startups with knowledge, capital and access to local and global networking opportunities to assist them to launch their businesses or scale sales. These components are designed to help startups reach the next level by:
Sharing practical know-how and critical insight on how to launch and scale a business locally and internationally.
Providing a $30K no-strings-attached seed grant for participants. An additional grant is awarded to three final winners after their pitch presentations at the end of the program.
Offering a unique opportunity to be mentored by business experts and industry leaders, and to network and collaborate with other entrepreneurs.
BFF will choose up to 40 applicants to make pitch presentations. From these, BFF selects 20 team finalists that will receive the seed grant and participate in REP’s 10-week curriculum at the foundation’s office hub in Mayagüez. In September 2022, BFF will announce the three winning teams.
You could be part of the Rising Entrepreneurs Program’s Cohort 2022 and acquire knowledge, capital and access. Start the application process here!
The Rising Entrepreneurs Program
BFF created REP in 2019 to promote a more inclusive and sustainable entrepreneurial ecosystem in Puerto Rico and boost the island’s economic development. The program equips young, purpose-driven entrepreneurs with the knowledge, capital and connections they need to start, run and grow successful tech-based businesses on the island and abroad.
REP’s curriculum (classes, workshops, seminars, and more) covers the fundamental concepts of running, growing, and scaling a business, such as how to strengthen a business model and how to fine-tune a product or service.
Participants receive support from the REP staff, local business leaders and advisors from one of the largest private equity firms in the world, Thoma Bravo (TB), that specializes in acquiring and improving large and mid-sized software and information technology companies. The TB advisors provide REP participants with practical business knowledge, mentorship and a realistic perspective that is based on years of experience working with a portfolio of more than 200 companies. By empowering participants to succeed in local and global markets, the Thoma Bravo Playbook of business concepts and practices is a key ingredient of the program.
What should the REP team finalists have?
BFF selects REP finalists participants based on the following criteria:
- Technical expertise or ability to recruit and work with talent
- Born in Puerto Rico or strong Puerto Rican heritage
- Commitment to making a positive impact on the island’s entrepreneurship ecosystem
- Two or more core team members and a concept to take the business to market or to scale sales
- Effective communication skills in English and Spanish
- Up to three years in development or operation
- Growth-oriented and innovative business model
- Proven product market fit, ready to launch or scale sales
- Preferred tech verticals:
- Software as a Service (SaaS)
- Artificial Intelligence (AI)
- Internet of Things (IoT)
Key Considerations for Finalist Selection
- Applicability of the business: Is the idea viable, well planned?
- Program fit: Can the program add unique value to the participant? Is the business compatible with the program?
- Impact on the community: How does the project serve or impact the local community?
- Management’s ability to execute: What skills do they already have? Is the team willing to learn?
- Commitment to the ecosystem: Is the team committed to giving back?
The Benefits of the Program
- Small cohort size encourages a collaborative learning environment and direct access to high-quality, motivated mentors
- In-depth operational know-how and financial skills to show participants how to build and run a successful business:
- 10 weeks of guided teamwork supported by REP staff and Thoma Bravo advisors
- Interactive project-based learning coursework with weekly access to advisors and seasoned guest speakers
- Lessons reinforced with videos, case studies, exercises, and books
- Emphasis on business fundamentals such as profitable growth, finance, market sizing, sales and marketing, key performance metrics and customer retention
- Access to a network of global experts in diverse areas who are available to answer specific questions
- Support from business experts that provide the opportunity to build strong relationships
Rising Entrepreneurs Program Key Dates:
Following is the schedule for REP’s Cohort 3 and 4:
- Oct. 1 to Oct. 31: call for applications
- Dec. 15: notifications are sent to the selected semi-finalists
- Jan 7 to Jan 17: pre-pitch seminar and individual coaching sessions
- Jan 25 and 26: pitch presentation day
- Jan 27 and 28: selected Cohort 2022 team finalists are notified
- Feb 19 and 20: REP kickstart event
- Feb 23 to Feb 25: team-building boot camp in Mayagüez
- March 1 to May 6: REP curriculum program in Mayagüez
- June 1 to Aug 31: REP summer plus
- Sep 13 and 14: closing event
REP completed its second edition in September 2021. The winners of the 2021 edition (Cohort 2) were Beauty 911, Sirena Patterns and FindIt.
Sirena Patterns is an online platform that helps users build a fashion business regardless of their location or fashion education. The company sells printed and digital patterns, fabric and sewing kits, and offers online courses on a variety of fashion and sewing topics.
Beauty 911 is an online marketplace where users can search for beauty service providers in their area and book appointments to receive these services at home, the office, or an event.
FindIt is an online platform that allows users to post and search for real estate listings in Puerto Rico. The app also matches properties with potential buyers or renters.
REP kicked off in 2019 with Cohort 1. The winners of the program’s first edition were:
- Skootel – which offers scooter rentals that customers can access via their smartphones
- CINCO Engineering – a web-based quality management software designed for the life sciences industry that enables users to assess, organize, analyze, and trace information on risks related to patients and drug products
- InsuHealth Design – which provides a solution for bio-medicine storage during travel, power outages and disaster situations through a battery-operated cooling system.
Just like the previous winners, you could start growing or scaling your business today. Just start with the application process here!