First of all, we hope you and your loved ones are well during these unsettling times and that you’re taking the necessary precautions to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.
As a program, we have been thinking hard about the best way to adapt our calendar and plans to take the seriousness of this pandemic into consideration. Not only in the ways it affects our current cohort, but also the selection of Gen.8, pre18’s call for applications, and our alumni.
The plan Gen.7:
Even before the Governor of Puerto Rico signed an Executive Order forcing a lockdown in the Island, we had already decided to conduct the rest of the Gen.7 curriculum remotely. KPIs are going on through Zoom and pitch practices for DemoDay will happen the same way. Regarding our DemoDay, we’re asking you all to sign up for the streaming and enjoy the presentations. The show will be run with just the necessary personnel and we are making sure our founders have been on the island for 14 days or more. Why not cancel it altogether? We want to make sure they get all the opportunities they can and we are super proud of our most diverse generation ever.
How will Gen.8 look:
This was a tough one. COVID-19 is reaching countries at different paces and governments are moving to their own accord. This made it impossible to foresee if an international cohort would have reached the island 100% safe. After much consideration, Gen.8 will be conformed by up to 20 Puerto Rican companies, which will make it our first only local P18. Although some parts of our program can be conducted remotely, startups need to be on the island to get incorporated, open their bank account and get the grant. Delaying the program indefinitely was not an option either since this situation is very unpredictable and we have no idea when will it be safe to travel again.
How will these companies be selected? A special Selection Committee will review the applications to select the up to 20 companies that will participate in this cohort. We’re aware that the international component is one of the things that make our program attractive, and we’re taking steps to make sure Gen.8 companies get it via a special Alumni Program we’ll be hosting remotely to support our previous participants during the uncertainty that this emergency is causing.
Businesses will definitely get a hit during lockdowns. We want to be here for our alumni. This is why we’ll be offering support on three fronts:
- A special Alumni Program Curriculum with topics related to growing startups and how to adapt to tough times will be designed by Operations Manager, Eduardo Padial. This will also include individual sessions to work on specific topics.
- A special P18Ventures Business Continuity Fund. We are aware that funding sources for startups might be scarce. Our Director of Operations, together with our parent organization, the Puerto Rico Science, Technology and Research Trust, will be designing and communicating the details of how this fund will work and the requirements to apply.
- The whole team will be available for regular office hours to support alumni in any way once this program starts.
Our team is hard at work in their homes, ready and filled with energy to help our startups and keep working to position Puerto Rico as a hub for diverse and innovative entrepreneurship leveraging on our strengths: your support, our great startups, and our collective capacity to adapt to circumstances.
If you know of any resources, in and out of Puerto Rico, that might help our startups and our community, please contact any member of our team or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Be safe! Stay home!