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Puerto Rico Works with "Code for America" to Provide Services and Foster Economic Development

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SOURCE Puerto Rico's Department of Economic Development & Commerce

Experts will provide technology solutions to benefit PR businesses

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico, Feb. 7, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Alberto Baco Bague, the Secretary of Economic Development and Commerce, and Giancarlo Gonzalez, Puerto Rico's chief information officer, on Friday welcomed the arrival of technology specialists from Code for America as part of an initiative to develop novel solutions to civic needs on the island.

Code for America is a public service non-profit organization that offers computer programming, apps development and other technology solutions to local governments. Three Code for America tech specialists, known as fellows, will spend a month working with government officials in Puerto Rico.

San Juan was one of nine cities selected to participate in the innovative program in a competition with 50 jurisdictions. Puerto Rico's prospects in the competition were aided by last year's first-ever Tech Summit, which included a speaker from Code for America.

"The selection of Puerto Rico to host Code for America experts is an affirmation of the innovative spirit and the emerging technology culture on the island," Gonzalez said. "We will be working with Code for America on the development of various solutions to improve government services and encourage economic development."

The collaboration with Code for America is in an interagency effort between Gonzalez's office and the Department of Economic Development and Commerce (DDEC). Baco Bague said his team is ready to work with the visiting tech specialists.

"The solutions we develop through our collaboration with the Code for America program will improve the services we provide and should be particularly helpful for small businesses." Baco Bague said.

The visiting fellows are in the exploratory stage of identifying projects that could promote economic development in various sectors, especially in the area of ??entrepreneurship.

"For the Department of Economic Development and Commerce, it is essential to create a culture of entrepreneurship in Puerto Rico. To this end, DDEC, in conjunction with the Economic Development Bank, the Trade and Export Company and the Trust of Sciences, has released a comprehensive plan of entrepreneurship to create 'one stop shops' to facilitate the development of entrepreneurs. Code for America will help achieve this important goal," said Baco Bague.

Code for America fellow Clara Gonzalez Sueyro said she was eager to support Puerto Rico's economic development efforts.

"I am very excited and honored to work with the government of Puerto Rico. The government is a leading player in the region with innovative and citizen-focused initiatives. We are anxious and excited for the month of February where we will focus our efforts on learning much more about the efforts that have been made and the challenges faced by government employees and members of the community, with the goal of creating solutions," she said.

Giancarlo Gonzalez said the collaboration with Code for America will encourage the growth of the technology sector in Puerto Rico.

"One of the most valuable aspects of the participation of Puerto Rico in Code for America is that it puts us on the radar as a destination for technology development. Developers in other areas such as Silicon Valley will discover Puerto Rico and will have the opportunity to adopt the solutions we implement."

All solutions developed by the Code for America program are open source, meaning that any jurisdiction is free to apply them.

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