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Economic Dev’t and Commerce grants $3.1M to textile, food manufacturers

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The Department of Economic Development and Commerce announced support for seven Puerto Rico-based companies in the food and textile production sector, whose total investments are close to $3.1 million and the creation of more than 700 jobs.

The agency is supporting the expansion of Productos Chebo’s, Amasar LLC, Farm City, and Productos La Finca, which received a combined $890,400 in incentives. Meanwhile textile manufacturers including Kandor, Puerto Rico Apparel Manufacturing and Pentaq Manufacturing, got a combined $2.2 million.

The companies received benefits through the Puerto Rico Incentive Code to buy machinery and equipment, as well as for job creation, Economic Development and Commerce Secretary Manuel Laboy said.

“Puerto Rico has a pool of entrepreneurial talent, which over time reinvents itself with plans to continue its growth and integration into new markets,” Laboy said.

“For this reason, during the past three years we have developed and implemented several projects to offer better tools to promote local entrepreneurship,” he said.

Productos Chebo’s Inc. will operate from the town of San Sebastián and will be dedicated to the manufacture of sausages, cuts of pork and other derivative products.

“For more than 20 years we have dedicated ourselves to the creation of artisanal sausages and we have seen how the product has been welcomed and liked by the people who visit our Manhattan Café Restaurant, in the town of San Sebastián,” Productos Chebo’s Inc. owner César Fuentes said.

“So, we decided to build a manufacturing plant for sausages, cakes, fried foods, and sofrito, among others, to deliver our products through supermarkets and department stores,” he said, adding 40 new direct and indirect jobs will be created as part of the growth initiative.

In recent years, multiple Puerto Rican entrepreneurs have launched operations in different sectors, applying innovation, either in the manufacturing processes of their products or in the product they offer.

This is the case of Amasar, which uses breadfruit as its main ingredient for making multiple-use flours. After four years of producing gluten-free breadfruit-based flours, it is now launching new products for special diets, as well as an e-commerce platform to sell their products outside Puerto Rico.

“In recent months we’ve seen how Puerto Rican companies adjusted their operations to produce personal protective equipment, given the shortage that arose after the spread of COVID-19,” Laboy said.

“It’s important that this sector, which also manufactures clothing for state government agencies such as the U.S. Department of Defense, among others, continues to expand its operations,” he said.

José M. Rodríguez, president of Kandor Manufaturing, said, “the high cost of manufacturing and the shortage of labor force in the U.S. mainland’s textile sector, opens up new opportunities for Puerto Rico. Our expansion in automated equipment, cutting capacity and operational space is aimed at capitalizing on these opportunities. Our workforce has grown by 30% to a total of 340 employees.”

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.
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