The U.S. Treasury is giving the U.S. Virgin Islands $4.5 million to help small businesses access the capital they need to grow and create jobs, the Treasury announced Tuesday. The money is available through a 2010 program called the State Small Business Credit Initiative, funded with $1.5 billion, designed to strengthen state programs that support lending to small businesses and small manufacturers.
By supporting lending, the program is expected to help increase lending to small business. The USVI has received payments several times since the program’s inception, using the funds for loan guarantees and collateral support to make it easier for borrowers to qualify for loans.
To date, $13.2 million in SSBCI funds have been disbursed to the Virgin Islands Economic Development Authority to support small businesses and the local economy.
“Small businesses are the nation’s leading job creators and the State Small Business Credit Initiative connects sources of capital to the small businesses that need it,” SSBCI Director Jeffrey Stout said in a statement Tuesday.
“The funds announced today will continue to support loans and investments in the Virgin Islands’ small businesses," he said.
According to Treasury, the territory has used more than $9.6 million in SSBCI funds to local businesses while nationally the Treasury Department has disbursed more than $1.3 billion. Participants have generated $8.15 in private sector lending and investments for every $1 of federal support. Business owners reported that these funds would help them retain or create more than 190,000 jobs nationwide.
The program is set to end in 2017 and states have already drawn down 93 percent of the funding. President Barack Obama proposed extending the program and requested another $1.5 billion in his Fiscal Year 2017 budget. The program has won some support from both Republicans and Democrats. (See Related Link below)
According to Treasury, a new authorization of the SSBCI program will keep local economic development efforts strong and allow states to continue supporting small businesses, job creation, and greater levels of private lending and investments.