MBDA Business Center Spotlight: Puerto Rico
While most of the work the MBDA Business Center in San Juan, Puerto Rico does is conducted in Spanish, that is where the differences between it and the 40 other MBDA Business Centers across the country end. Just like the other MBDA Business Centers throughout the nation, the Puerto Rico MBDA Business Center works diligently to secure contracts for its clients and build wealth for its community. It also guides clients in putting together business strategies that will attract financing.
One recent example that stands out involved a business owner looking to open a jewelry store in the island’s biggest shopping mall. Confident that the endeavor would be a huge success, after being turned away by bank after bank, the owner contacted the MBDA Business Center.
“Banks were reluctant because it was a business proposition involving a luxury item during a time of economic uncertainty,” says Teresa Berríos, Project Director of the Puerto Rico MBDA Business Center. But the sharp eyes at the MBDA Business Center saw the bigger picture. This was not just any jewelry store. This was a store that would create a following within its targeted consumer base. Berríos and her team helped craft a funding proposal that persuaded one of the state-run financial institutions, the Economic Development Bank, to fund the project.
“We came up with a fantastic plan,” says Berríos, with resounding pride. Today, this jewelry store is a success story for the Pandora global jewelry chain—ranking as the number one concept store in North America. In its first six months, the store exceeded its first year’s revenue goals. It now grosses more than $20 million in annual sales.
The Puerto Rico MBDA Business Center is operated by the Asociación Productos de Puerto Rico (P.R. Products Association). In FY2011, MBDA helped Puerto Rico minority-owned businesses obtain contracts totaling almost $75 million and $864,000 in capital. As a result of these contracts and capital, 112 new jobs were created.