RTPark Partners with National Development Council to Expand Economic Development Opportunities in the Territory

Published Monday, July 8, 2019

 

RTPark Partners with National Development Council to Expand Economic Development Opportunities in the Territory


ST. CROIX - The UVI Research and Technology Park (RTPark) announced on Monday that is 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 dollars 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, 2019 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 VI 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), NDC 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.

             NDC 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)

NDC has supported economic development and community improvement projects in all 50 states and Puerto Rico.  Through this agreement with the RTPark, NDC will be working in the U.S. Virgin Islands for the first time.

This comprehensive contract with NDC will allow the organization to help identify financing that supports selected development projects; review and evaluate capital projects being considered by USVI stakeholders; provide technical support or financial analysis with respect to economic and housing development program proposals; conduct economic development training, facilitate access to New Markets Tax Credits and other resources for economic revitalization; draft and submit a funding application for the capitalization of an economic development loan fund; as well as provide underwriting and credit analysis for candidate borrowers, among other professional services.

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.” 

Chapman further noted that he is particularly excited about the prospect of acquiring access to financing tools that have never been utilized in the Territory, including federal Section 108 capital awarded by the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development. 

“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."

Daniel Marsh, CEO of NDC, said that NDC excited to begin working with the RTPark and other economic development organizations in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

"A vibrant economy is based on innovation and entrepreneurial spirit.” Marsh said.  “We look forward to building on local resources and talent to attract public federal funds as well as private capital to create jobs and improve the quality of life for Virgin Islanders.” 

RTPark board chairman, Edward Thomas, said that the board looks forward to the RTPark working collaboratively with other community institutions through this partnership toward a shared goal of improving and evolving the Territory’s economy.

“The RTPark’s engagement of NDC for an array of economic development related technical assistance services not only underscores our commitment to growing the cluster of technology enterprises, but also our strong desire to be a resource for fellow Virgin Islands economic development organizations that are helping to improve the quality of life in the USVI through activities that promote business growth and revitalization of under-invested communities. We believe that the Territory on the whole is well-served by this collaborative approach,” Thomas said.

For more information about NDC, please visit www.ndconline.org.

For more information about the RTPark, please visit www.uvirtpark.net.

Client Testimonials

There are many unique treasures to living here. I’ve discovered a passion for mountain biking. My children have learned to sail. With a small community, you get to know people quickly. We found they went out of their way to make us feel welcome. When considering the move, a top concern was the children’s education. We found a quality school our kids love, with a dedicated faculty. In fairness there is an adjustment period. You learn to navigate island life, master shipping logistics, get to know a new culture, and take in some of the most beautiful ocean views in the world.

David Thompson, Exigo

We have been part of the RT-Park program for almost three years now.  The application process was straight forward and we had plenty of dialogue and feedback prior to our approval.  My only regret is we didn’t do this sooner.  It is satisfying  knowing that we are partners with UVI and enabling the education of the next generation .  We also love living in the USVI.  People are warm and welcoming and the pace of life is amazing healthy.  Most days it feels like a working vacation.

Andy Hemmert, President , HRMT, LLC

Our firm, The RainTree Group, came into the UVI RT Park program in 2018.  We didn't have much experience in the USVI and followed the advice of the wonderful RT Park staff and other RT Park tenants.  The application process was transparent and straightforward.   The simple concept of the Park is mutual benefit - your company gets some tax incentives that allows you to grow your business more quickly and the USVI and UVI gets additional tax base, employment opportunities, and scholarships for deserving students.  The business environment and life in the USVI is slower paces and less stressful as the mainland, and without question the biggest business hurdle is communications, so find an office location where you have investigated the broadband options. Come and join us, you won't regret it!

James Salter, VosCom dba The RainTree Group

In January 2012 my business was underway as a Tech Park entity. It has been a wonderful seven years. The Tech Park has always been supportive, easy to do business with, and is making a positive impact on the islands. The Tech Park organization is professional and efficient. They have created a friendly business environment that has been a pleasure to work within and a great experience overall. I would encourage any eligible entity to consider joining us in the Tech Park.

Louise Stapleton, LNL Publishing