ST. CROIX, Virgin Islands, Dec. 31, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — The UVI Research and Technology Park (“RTPark”) announced on Thursday the launch of the Virgin Islands Catalyst Fund (“Fund”) designed to support business growth, job creation and incentive complementary economic development in the U.S. Virgin Islands (“USVI”).
The Fund, which will officially launch on Monday, January 17th, 2022, with an initial capitalization of $5 million, will be administered by the Research and Technology Park Corporation. It was conceived by the RTPark team and created through Act 8464 which was approved by the 34th Legislature of the Virgin Islands in August of 2021 and signed into law by the Honorable Governor Albert Bryan, Jr.
Because the Fund is intended to be used primarily as a form of gap financing in combination with other sources of capital, the loan review committee will expect applicants to seek a Catalyst Fund loan once they have identified core financing from other entities. The Catalyst Fund loan review committee will approve loans up to $1.5 million to businesses—both existing local enterprises and new-to-market-firms—that are eligible based upon a completed loan application and underwriting analysis.
Special emphasis on businesses and projects related to growth industries and sectors especially IT/telecommunications, healthcare/life sciences, sustainable development/energy services, financial services and fintech, business process outsourcing/centers of excellence, sustainable agriculture, advanced manufacturing, as well as the visitor economy and creative economies.
Executive Director and CEO of the RTPark, Peter H. Chapman, stated that the Fund will be an important contribution to expanding the diverse set of financing options in the territory for high impact economic projects that will help build a more resilient and sustainable economy.
“It is easy to think of the Catalyst Fund as being simply a tool for advancing and closing business and real estate transactions, but the Fund will also support the development of our territory’s human capital” Chapman said. “This much-needed source of patient, flexible financing is an important factor that impacts our ability to attract and grow high-impact businesses that can provide hundreds of quality jobs for Virgin Islanders.”
The Fund’s Chief Financial Services Officer, Ronnie N. Johnson, wants to ensure the community that all processes involved in the approval and financing of proposed projects will be done in accordance with economic and community development lending best practices.
“All loans made via the Fund will be thoroughly underwritten by experienced financial services professionals and secured with collateral and/or guarantees,” Johnson said. “We have applications that are going through the underwriting process and are excited to see what other innovative projects request financing in the coming months.”
Funds may be used for the (1) acquisition and leasing of land and buildings, (2) the construction, renovation, rehabilitation and expansion of buildings or other facilities, (3) the purchase of equipment, furniture, and fixtures that are necessary for operation of the business, and/or (4) operating capital.
Chapman said that the RTPark’s focus is on building a more diverse and innovative economy with a larger, stronger workforce so that the USVI community and economy can bounce back quicker from inevitable crises including natural disasters and pandemics.
If you are interested in learning more about the Catalyst Fund, visit https://vicatalystfund.com/. If you have any questions regarding the fund, eligibility, or the application process, you can contact Ronnie Johnson at [email protected] or call +1 (340) 474-0922.
To learn more about the RTPark, visit www.uvirtpark.net.
Senior Manager of Business Intelligence and Marketing
[email protected] | (340) 474-0922
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SOURCE UVI Research and Technology Park Corporation