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Conference helps entrepreneurs, business owners in Puerto Rico rebuild


SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Business leaders from the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Orlando flew to San Juan, Puerto Rico, Sunday to help with rebuilding efforts. 

Puerto Rico's government offered the invitation to the organization and PROSPERA. 

San Juan's convention center played host to close to 300 people and offered workshops about how to build businesses on the island and in Central Florida. 

Gabi Ortigoni is the president of HCCMO. 

"They know that by keeping their business here, that's how they're really going to be able to support the growth and establishment of Puerto Rico," Ortigoni said. 

The one-day conference offered help from different organizations that included Puerto Rico's Trade and Expert company.

Willer Vélez made it a point to attend. He owns seven grocery stores on the island, many of which were destroyed by the storm. 

"The store in Yabucoa was affected also 60 percent. Right now they are moving forward and going well," Velez said. 

Shortly after Hurricane Maria, Velez opened a store in Kissimmee. 

He saw this conference as an opportunity to help those pushing to start a business of their own and expand. 

"I want to support the entrepreneurs in Puerto Rico and to motivate forward to the market in Florida," Velez said.