To analyze the potential for establishing a processing and packaging plant in the U.S. Virgin Islands and within the enterprise zones of the territory, the Enterprise Zone Commission (EZC), in partnership with the University of the Virgin Islands’ Institute for Leadership and Organizational Effectiveness (UVI-ILOE), will conduct a feasibility study on establishing this type of plant in the U.S.V.I. The EZC, an entity of the U.S. Virgin Islands Economic Development Authority (USVIEDA), applied for and was awarded a grant from the U.S. Department of the Interior in the amount of $250,000 in September 2017 to conduct this study.
The study will determine the following, but it will not be limited to whether there
- is “sufficient produce and other raw agricultural materials [that is available and can be identified] for year-round production”
- is an ability to obtain equipment at a reasonable cost on each island
- are locations that may be retrofitted into a processing and packaging plant, along with the requisite equipment and quality assurance expertise needed for consistent production
- is an amount of trained production workers that is needed for efficient and consistent production at the plant.
To assist the USVIEDA and EZC, the UVI-ILOE will provide consultancy services, gather data, coordinate the preparation of the study, make recommendations to the USVIEDA and EZC on how to launch the study, provide advice during the execution of the study’s field work, support and manage the data analysis and the reporting of such data, and provide consultancy services to the USVIEDA and EZC on the publication of the study’s results.
“Several of our local businesses, particularly our small manufacturers, do not have the resources — either with finances, space or manpower — to independently package and produce their products on a large scale to generate sufficient revenues to grow or operate their business,” said USVIEDA Acting CEO Wayne L. Biggs Jr.
“This study can help determine if the creation of a processing and packaging plant in the territory will be a solution to resolve some of the challenges these business owners are experiencing in relation to packaging and processing their products.”
The agreement between both UVI-ILOE and the USVIEDA-EZC also requires that representatives from each entity meet at least twice in January 2018 and April 2018. Representatives from both entities entered into an agreement in 2017 to conduct this study over a period of 11 months beginning in 2018.
The EZC assists residents and local small-business owners with rehabilitating buildings that are located within designated enterprise zones in the territory. The enterprise zones in the V.I., which were once vibrant centers of economic activity, are Garden Street–Up Street and Savanne–Downstreet on St. Thomas, and Frederiksted and Christiansted on St. Croix.
UVI-ILOE is “one of the university’s key initiatives designed to help build strong and diverse leaders capable of responding to the growing leadership needs of the university, the Virgin Islands community, the Caribbean region and the world.
For more information, contact Nadine Marchena-Kean, director of the Enterprise Zone Commission, at 714-1700, ext. no. 256. To learn more about UVI-ILOE, visit https://www.uvi.edu/administration/president/initiatives/ILOE/default.aspx