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St. Croix Businesses Learn of Many Attainable Loan Options


Attendees at the St. Croix Chamber of Commerce Business for Breakfast meeting Thursday morning, July 19, heard details on myriad business lending options from agency representatives with the Virgin Islands Economic Development Authority (VIEDA) and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).
A surprising number of small and large business loans are available to St. Croix businesses, even to businesses previously denied financing through traditional sources.
“There are great opportunities here,” said Carl C. Christensen, SBA
Senior Area Manager. “But we have to take advantage of them…The banks are starting to do things they have not done before to assist small businesses.”
Christiansen was referencing the fact that at least two local banks are
developing programs specifically for small businesses. This is needed
because in this economy, “stable companies who have existed in this
community for years and years are starting to come to us for SBA
The SBA’s unsecured microloan program process “is a very simple process to go through,” said Christiansen. It requires a 20-minute application, a photo ID and applicants should expect a response within three business days. Unsecured loans through this program can be as large as $50,000.
The VIEDA representatives explained numerous options open to area
businesses owned by local residents. This surprised some attendees who previously thought the VIEDA existed to attract off-island businesses to
the island.
“One of the main goals of the Economic Development Authority is to
create and maintain jobs in the community,” said Dianne P. Duinkerk,
VIEDA director of lending. “We’re not as stringent as a regular banking
program, and all of our programs can be used for working capital.”
The VIEDA microloans require that the business present a loan denial
letter from another source.
Both the SBA and the VIEDA offer a range of loans, including unsecured,
micro-loan programs and secured, larger loans for small businesses up to $3 million in revenue. The SBA also offers St. Croix businesses larger,
secured loans for up to $5 million. Abraham Edwards, VIEDA State Small Business Credit Initiative Specialist said the turnaround time on the VIEDA loan is typically about 30 days from the submission of a complete application.
Kimberly McCollum and Stuart Logan represented the chamber board at the event. The Chamber of Commerce developed the Business for Breakfast Series to help strengthen and inform the St. Croix’s private business community. Members and non-members are always welcome.
“We are hoping to bring you value and information that will help you
succeed in your business,” McCollum told the attendees. “We want to
bring to light information about programs that exist in the community that business owners may not be aware of.”
McCollum also mentioned that there are many programs available to V.I. businesses from the USDA. This surprised attendees expected such programs were only agricultural in nature. In fact, because of the rural
development initiative under the USDA, the Virgin Islands has numerous USDA loan and grant options.
Tuesday’s breakfast included the following speakers, special guests:
• Dianne P. Duinkerk, director of lending, VIEDA
• Abraham Edwards, state small business credit initiative specialist,
VIEDA • Monique Samuel, loan officer, VIEDA
• Carl C. Christensen, Virgin islands SBA senior area manager
Helpful contacts/links:
SBA – Carl Christensen 718-5380 www.sba.gov
SBDC – Karen Jones 692-5270 www.sbdcvi.org
EDA – Dianne Duinkerk 773-6499 www.usvieda.org
EDA – Monique Samuel 773-6499 www.usvieda.org
EDA – Abraham Edwards 773-6499 www.usvieda.org USDA – Nigel Parish 692-9607 www.usda.gov
The next Business for Breakfast event begins at 7:30 a.m., Thursday, Aug. 9, at The Palms at Pelican Cove. The topic: Growth and Development Tools for Your Business. The event includes continental breakfast and costs $10 for members or $15 for non-members. The chamber requests RSVPs by Aug. 8.
Speakers/Special Guests:
• Carl C. Christensen, Virgin islands SBA senior area manager
• Karen Jones, SBDC regional director
Guests may register online at stxchamber.org or RSVP to Vicki Bandola at 514-2535 or [email protected].
Each Business for Breakfast session covers a new topic, each packed with tips for businesses. Future topics include:
• Internet Marketing and Social Media Strategies to Grow Your Business
• Return on Investments for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
• WAPA Update: Alternative Solutions Underway
• Crime Reduction Initiatives and Results


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