WASHINGTON — U.S. Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawai‘i), a member of the Senate Small Business Committee, announced that the U.S. Department of the Treasury has approved $62 million in federal funding for Hawai‘i small businesses through the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI).
The funding, which was included in the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) that Hirono helped pass last year, will be used to provide financing and credit to small businesses and invest in businesses operating in key sectors including renewable energy and supply chain management.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has been extremely challenging for Hawai‘i’s small businesses, which are critical to the strength of our state’s economy,” said Hirono. “We passed the American Rescue Plan last year to help our communities weather and rebuild from this pandemic, and that’s exactly what this funding will do. This funding will help to drive innovation, create good-paying jobs, and spur economic growth in Hawaii by making it easier for small businesses to access capital. I’ll continue working with state and federal leaders to ensure this funding is used as effectively as possible and to provide the additional relief Hawai‘i needs and deserves.”
Since ARPA was enacted, the Hawai‘i Technology Development Corporation (HTDC) has been working with local stakeholders to determine how Hawai‘i’s SSBCI funds can best be deployed to promote access to capital throughout communities in the state.
HTDC has identified three primary uses for the funds, including: a collateral support program to provide small and medium-sized businesses with access to capital, allowing local financial institutions to take greater risks on these businesses; a loan participation program to provide low-cost capital to finance clean energy improvements for underserved ratepayers (modeled after the Hawai‘i Green Infrastructure Authority’s Green Energy Market Securitization (GEMS) program); and a fund to promote venture capital, social impact investments, and other projects.
“We are very excited to help local small businesses access capital and to be teaming with the Hawai‘i Green Infrastructure Authority and the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism. This program, which we have named ‘Hawai‘i Small Business Capital Program’ (HI-CAP), will greatly strengthen HTDC’s mission to accelerate business growth with local innovation,” said Len Higashi, acting executive director of HTDC.
Source: The Garden Island