The UVI Research and Technology Park (RTPark) announced on Monday that it has entered into a technical assistance contract with the National Development Council (NDC) to support, develop and assist in the implementation of economic and community development programs, and also to prepare proposals to access the money necessary to expand access to capital for technology-based firms, as well as other businesses and projects that would strengthen the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The one-year contract with the New York-based non-profit officially commenced on July 1 and will be available to not only the RTPark and its current and prospective client companies, but also other public, quasi-public and civic USVI organizations that are conceptualizing or implementing economic or community development initiatives in the territory. These include the central government, the USVI Economic Development Authority (EDA), the V.I. Housing Finance Authority (VIHFA) and local non-profit foundations.
One of the largest (by assets under management), oldest and most geographically expansive U.S. Treasury Department-certified Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI), the National Development Council administers sizable amounts of capital and specializes in investing in and lending to small and medium-sized operating businesses and catalytic real estate projects (e.g., commercial, industrial, residential, mixed-use, public and non-profit facilities) that help to expand job opportunities for local residents and strengthen regional economies.
National Development Council by the Numbers:
• $2.6 billion financed for social infrastructure through NDC Public-Private Partnerships™
• $251 million loaned to over 670 small businesses
• $2.1 billion leveraged in financing for community facilities, mixed-use real estate projects and growing businesses using New Markets Tax Credits (NMTCs) (91 projects total)
The National Development Council has supported economic development and community improvement projects in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. Through this agreement with the RTPark, it will be working in the territory for the first time.
According to the RTPark’s Executive Director Peter H. Chapman, “NDC’s breadth of development finance expertise, combined with a track record of achievement in helping to advance complex economic development and neighborhood revitalization initiatives across the U.S. and Puerto Rico, make it a logical candidate for a partnership with the RTPark and the USVI.”
“As we position the RTPark as a full-service economic development organization, it will be become increasingly important that we apply aggressive and creative strategies to facilitate access to alternative forms of financing for those pursuing projects that will help the USVI become a hub for advanced industries,” Chapman said.
Gov. Albert Bryan praised the partnership as one more positive indication that the Territory is ripe for private sector investment. “The Research and Technology Park over time has morphed into a tech incubator with a mission to push the Virgin Islands into the future,” Bryan said. “The new partnership with the National Development Council will open the door for the Territory to begin planning for a changing workforce that will be focused on tech and innovation in the Caribbean.”
For more information about the National Development Council, visit www.ndconline.org.
For more information about the UVI Research and Technology Park, visit www.uvirtpark.net.