Good afternoon, everybody. It’s great to be again in Puerto Rico.
Along with my position because the U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce, I’m proud to function the Biden Administration’s Puerto Rico Financial Development Coordinator and am honored to be working to make good on the Administration’s pledge to assist financial restoration and renewal for the archipelago.
My workforce and I work hand in hand with the White Home to steer the whole-of-government effort often known as the Financial Dialogue. The Dialogue is geared toward making certain that assets from each the federal and Puerto Rico governments are invested successfully, swiftly, and equitably to profit all residents of the archipelago.
The inaugural occasion for the Dialogue befell on the White Home two months in the past, on December 6. Throughout the assembly, federal businesses and their Puerto Rico authorities counterparts endorsed a slate of actions and partnerships they are going to implement over the course of 2023.
We’re now shifting to the execution part of the actions offered in December and we’ve set a timeline for ourselves of roughly a 12 months. As a part of this new part, I’ve come again to Puerto Rico to comply with up on a lot of these things and work in the direction of correct and well timed execution.
This has been an extremely productive week, and I’d wish to thank all of people who I met with right here in Puerto Rico for sharing their concepts, issues, and experiences with me.
I even have three thrilling bulletins to make.
First, I wish to encourage all companies in Puerto Rico to take part within the 2022 Financial Census. In at present’s financial system, companies want direct entry to correct info and assets to stay aggressive and revolutionary. Certainly one of our objectives on the Division of Commerce is to broaden alternative for companies via knowledge.
Invites for the 2022 Financial Census started going out on January 31 to over 4 million enterprise areas throughout our nation, together with right here in Puerto Rico. As essentially the most complete assortment of knowledge on America’s companies and its workforce, knowledge collected through the Financial Census helps companies, communities and people make selections that impression their development alternatives, aggressive benefit, and revenue. Additionally it is the muse for our nation’s GDP and different financial indicators.
One of many key pillars of the Puerto Rico Financial Dialogue is all about knowledge and rising statistical capability; the info collected in Financial Census gives the foundational and authoritative knowledge set for measuring the expansion of the archipelago’s financial system.
This info is utilized by companies, coverage makers, native governments, communities, people, college students, and researchers for financial growth, enterprise selections, strategic planning, and forecasting.
Commerce associations and chambers of commerce use Financial Census knowledge to assist measure key enterprise info they will use to gauge organizational construction, in addition to product and market developments.
Particular person companies use the info from the Financial Census to make selections about working websites and enlargement, capital investments, market analysis, and product growth—simply to call just a few.
If your corporation receives an invite from the U.S. Census Bureau to answer the 2022 Financial Census, please remember to reply by March 15. It’s vital. Every enterprise that responds to the 2022 Financial Census is contributing to raised knowledge high quality and higher decisions-making for all companies and communities throughout Puerto Rico.
Second, throughout my conferences this week I heard from enterprise house owners within the island concerning the wants for entry to capital and financing. I’m happy to announce that the Treasury Division has accredited a proposal beneath the State Small Enterprise Credit score Initiative – or SSBCI – to grant the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico as much as $109 million to assist small and medium enterprises.
The funding will function two applications, which is able to each be administered by the Financial Growth Financial institution for Puerto Rico. The mortgage participation program, allotted practically $22 million, will take part in business loans and loans focusing on particular strategic sectors for financial growth. The collateral assist program, allotted $87 million, will present collateralized ensures to lenders. Each applications will goal low- to moderate-income communities and different underserved communities.
That is a part of a $10 billion program from President Biden’s American Rescue Plan, which helps small companies get better and serving to start-ups and new small companies make the most of new alternatives in order that they will develop and thrive.
Third, we now have an thrilling announcement from the Commerce Division’s Nationwide Telecommunications and Info Administration. As we speak, NTIA introduced it has awarded Universidad del Sagrado Corazón practically $3 million to broaden academic instruction and distant studying alternatives, spur financial growth, and create alternatives for employment and entrepreneurship by constructing the broadband and digital capability at Sagrado.
It’s a part of NTIA’s Connecting Minority Communities Program, which is offering over $260 million to assist minority serving establishments buy broadband service and gear, rent IT personnel, and create digital literacy applications.
And it’s along with the greater than $5.7 million that Puerto Rico acquired in December to start their planning efforts for the deployment and adoption of reasonably priced, equitable, and dependable, high-speed Web service all through the archipelago beneath the Bipartisan Infrastructure Legislation. This planning funding is simply the beginning, and it’s going to assist guarantee we get it proper. Related communities create empowered communities, fostering financial development and well-being.
I’ll shut by saying that the expertise and vitality that exist right here give me not solely hope however pleasure about revolutionary approaches to tackling challenges in Puerto Rico collectively, via collaboration and co-creation. On the finish, communities know what they want greatest. The Financial Dialogue, anchored in our shared financial agenda and coverage priorities, will assist to make sure Puerto Rico has the assets and instruments it must prosper.
Collectively, we’re laying the muse for strengthened and sustained collaboration to ship outcomes for the folks of Puerto Rico lengthy into the longer term.
So, thanks once more for being right here. I look ahead to returning!