U.S. Virgin Islands
|Program||# of Grants||EDA Funds|
During Fiscal Year 2013, EDA invested $3,440,000 in three projects in the Territory of Virgin Islands. These projects are expected to create or retain 530 jobs, according to grantee estimates. EDA’s investments help Virgin Islands communities achieve bottom-up, locally-defined economic development goals and strategies.
EDA offers a complementary, balanced portfolio of grant programs designed to help rural and urban communities grow their private sectors and create jobs.
Investment Spotlight: Technical Assistance Business Incubation Program
The recurrence of natural disasters in the U.S. Virgin Islands caused businesses to hesitate to invest in long-term ventures, halting economic growth in the region. In 2010 alone, three storms that were Federally-declared as disasters resulted in more than $5 million in estimated damages. However, the economic cost captures only the physical damage and grossly underestimates the economic, social, and financial costs associated with these storms. While infrastructure can be rebuilt, these natural disasters affected the operation, access, and capacity of businesses throughout the three islands, taking a disproportionate toll on small-and medium-sized enterprises.
In January 2013, EDA invested $1 million to support the Virgin Islands Economic Development Authority (VIEDA) Technical Assistance Business Incubation Program. With EDA assistance, VIEDA will provide post-disaster technical assistance to small businesses and emerging entrepreneurs in diversified, disaster-resilient sectors. The incubator will offer a turnkey operation with a one-stop administration and service center for young companies in the professional services, food and agribusiness, tourism, e-commerce, and information technology industries.
Targeting small, minority, women, and veteran-owned businesses, VIEDA will provide entrepreneurs with the environment of professional networks and resources needed to reduce many of the risks associated with new business ventures. Within two years, VIEDA expects 10 to 20 new businesses to take root in the community. In addition, the program will serve as a catalyst to recover from future natural disasters by growing and nurturing fledgling businesses into self-sustaining enterprises that can weather the next storm, whether it be a natural or economic disaster.