The V.I. Economic Development Authority announced the territory has been approved to receive up to $57.8 million in funding from the State Small Business Credit Initiative under President Biden’s American Rescue Plan.
The funding will help to continue supporting local small businesses and entrepreneurship, and to expand their access to capital through local banks, according to a news release from the EDA.
The Virgin Islands is among five additional states and territories to collectively be approved a total for up to $339 million in SSBCI funds by the U.S. Department of the Treasury to assist small businesses in their communities, the release stated.
Under the SSBCI Program, small businesses can seek financial assistance from the following approved programs through local banks:
• a new Loan Participation Program to obtain short to long-term financing to help businesses grow and expand, ultimately creating and retaining jobs.
• a new Loan Guarantee Program that will provide increased guarantees for particularly impactful transactions.
• a new Payment, Surety and Performance Bond Program that will provide collateral security for performance bonds for small contractors undertaking both public and private construction projects that require a surety or performance bond.
• a new Collateral Support Program to enable financing that might otherwise be unavailable due to a collateral shortfall.
The banks in the U.S. Virgin Islands currently participating in the local SSBCI Program are Banco Popular, First Bank, Merchants Commercial Bank, and Oriental Bank, according to the statement.
“This is an excellent opportunity for our small businesses, both locally and abroad. Seeking opportunities to help our small businesses, especially those in the U.S. Virgin Islands, is always important, for both the small businesses and our economy. And with the State Small Business Credit Initiative, our small businesses can get access to the funding they need to grow, be sustained, and thrive,” Gov. Albert Bryan, Jr. stated in the news release.
He thanked the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the EDA and partners within the banking community for their partnership with the SSBCI, noting “when the public and private sectors get together in commonality to serve our business community, Lt. Governor Tregenza Roach and I believe that we all win.”
“And as we continue to work together, we can all make big, impactful things happen to support and enrich the lives of our small businesses in the territory,” Bryan said.
Wayne L. Biggs, Jr., EDA chief executive officer, said he embraced the opportunity “to once again participate in the SSBCI as the program has had a significant impact on assisting small businesses in the territory.”
According to Biggs, since the inception of the SSBCI Program in the USVI in 2011, the EDA “has obligated/expended more than $12.6 million in SSBCI funds for 48 loan guarantees at local banks, which spurred more than $29.9 million in private sector lending, retained 499 jobs and created 224 new jobs in the territory.
In 2010, the U.S. Department of the Treasury initially awarded the U.S. Virgin Islands $13,168,350 in SSBCI funds under the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 through the Obama administration. Due to the performance of the program in the USVI, second rounds of SSBCI funds in the amount of $59,561 were provided, according to the news release.
“As we continue to help existing and new small businesses grow, the USVI’s participation in the SSBCI will be a significant investment in our small business community and the economic development for the USVI overall,” Biggs said.
The U.S. Department of the Treasury, in a released statement, said that the American Rescue Plan reauthorized and expanded SSBCI, which was originally established in 2010 and was highly successful in increasing access to capital for small businesses and entrepreneurs.
The new SSBCI builds on this successful model by providing nearly $10 billion to states, the District of Columbia, territories, and Tribal governments to increase access to capital and promote entrepreneurship, especially in traditionally underserved communities as they emerge from the pandemic. This includes $2.5 billion in funding and incentives to support underserved businesses. SSBCI funding is expected to catalyze up to $10 of private investment for every dollar of SSBCI capital funding, amplifying the effects of this funding and providing small business owners with the resources they need to sustainably grow and thrive, the release stated.
For more information about the SSBCI Program in the USVI, email the EDA at email@example.com , or visit www.usvieda.org.
To learn more about the SSBCI, visit https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/small-business-programs/state-small-business-credit-initiative-ssbci .