5 min read

Startups in Puerto Rico, Continued

Welcome to Part 2 of our series highlighting startups in PR. Check out Part 1 here, featuring Brands of Puerto Rico and Libros787. Today we’re looking at sustainable tourism, coffee connoisseurs and locally sourced pet products. 

Local Guest

If one thing has become clear since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic it’s that present-day tourism practices still reflect aspects of colonialism and can have negative effects on locals, like damaging their natural environment. Carmen Portela, founder of the Local Guest, a women-led startup, identified this issue long before the pandemic started. Founded in 2015, the startup is dedicated to creating authentic and sustainable tourism experiences by working directly with local communities and entrepreneurs.

Sustainable tourism is best defined by the UN as “tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment and host communities.” Because their purpose is to reject the distance tourism affords travelers, the experiences Local Guest offers are participatory; some include volunteer work and others are community-based efforts alongside locals that inject money directly to the communities that need it the most.

Through Local Guest, tourists can attend local bomba dance classes, join local coalitions to protect endangered animals, and participate in community-based projects that preserve the historic nature and culture of Afro-Caribbean cultures in Puerto Rico.

Cuela.Coffee

It’s 2018. Carlos Sánchez Nieves, an agronomist; ​​Gustavo A. Fadhel Carballo, a financier; and Enio A. Suasnávar, a marketer, are spread around the world – some living in Spain and others in the US. Life was good, but they were missing something: that hot cup of coffee that tastes like home. The entrepreneurs soon realized getting their hands on quality Puerto Rican coffee was practically impossible outside the island. Once they returned, they brought together their knowledge about business and finance to develop what we now know as Cuela.Coffee.

The e-commerce platform prides itself  on connecting Puerto Rican coffee growers with people who love Puerto Rican coffee, natives, diaspora, and foreigners alike. It was during the pandemic, though, that business boomed. From the beginning of 2020 until October of the same year, Cuela.Coffee brought over 5,000 units of coffee from local coffee growers. The company also offers the first Puerto Rican coffee subscription service, allowing consumers to receive their coffee every week, every two weeks, or every month.

Although it’s been a success, Cuela.Coffee’s plans don’t stop here. Future plans for the founders include opening a coffee shop of their own, where they can offer patrons their unique and varied selection of gourmet Puerto Rican coffee brewed to perfection. 

LICK

Jean Marcel Correa had done his sizable share of internships in finance and entrepreneurship when he realized the small world of offices and cubicles was not for him. And so he thought, what’s the next best thing? He knew he loved animals, especially his two very different dogs: Valentino and Scooby. If spending time with them was “the greatest thing on earth,” then maybe he’d do something for them.

The idea for Lick, a brand of high-quality dog apparel and accessories, came about when he noticed just how unique his dogs were. Although they spent all their time together, they couldn’t be any more different. And so Correa hired local seamstresses and designers to put together a line of apparel and bandanas for dogs that served to highlight their character. Now the website carries over 40 different bandana designs, a variety of stickers, health and wellness products, and even custom dog face stickers. Affordably priced and made entirely on the island by islanders, Lick is the perfect spot for your furry friend’s fashion and care needs.

Do you know of a local startup making a difference in Puerto Rico? We want to hear about it! To submit a start-up for editorial consideration, email info@puertoricoplus.com.

In this series

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4 min read

Startups Making a Difference in Puerto Rico

Check out some of the startups making a difference in Puerto Rico.
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