S01E04 – How to build an island-wide ecosystem with Denisse Rodríguez

In today’s episode, we’re headed to Puerto Rico to talk with Denisse Rodríguez. Denisse left her high-flying career on Wall Street to return to her home country where she’s now dedicated to making entrepreneurship more accessible for founders all across the island.

Against the background of the bustling streets of San Juan, Denisse shares which champions helped her launch an island-wide ecosystem and she talks about the opportunities that come with a population of three million, and a diaspora of 5 million Puerto Ricans around the world. 

Denisse has a big vision for making this US territory not just a place from which top talent graduates, but a place where top talent stays to build and work at startups that have the potential to transform the island state. 

Denisse Rodríguez is an ecosystem builder and social entrepreneur working at the intersection of economic and community development. As Executive Director at the Puerto Rico Science, Technology & Research Trust, she founded and leads Colmena66, an award-winning program which makes entrepreneurship easier by connecting entrepreneurs with the vital, just-in-time, on-the-ground resources they need to accelerate their ideas and turn those into sustainable businesses that create jobs.

Through entrepreneur-led economic development strategies, Denisse works to strengthen a cohesive and vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem in Puerto Rico.

Listen to the full episode to hear:

  • Why buy-in and support from individual players is key to building an ecosystem 
  • How Denisse and Colemena66 are bridging the gap between entrepreneurs and support organizations in Puerto Rico
  • The challenges of tracking data on entrepreneurship in Puerto Rico and how that has a ripple effect on grants and lending
  • How a strong team and family help Denisse stave off burnout

earn more about Denisse Rodríguez:

Learn More About Anika Horn:

Resources: