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Hirono Announces $62 Million in Federal Funding For Hawaii Small Businesses

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), a member of the Senate Small Business Committee, today announced that the U.S. Department of the Treasury has approved $62 million in federal funding for Hawaii small businesses through the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI). The funding, which was included in the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) that Senator Hirono helped pass last year, will be used to provide financing and credit to Hawaii 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 Hawaii’s small businesses, which are critical to the strength of our state’s economy,” said Senator 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 Hawaii needs and deserves.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic was devastating for businesses and entrepreneurs in states like Hawaii, whose economy relies heavily on tourism. That’s why these investments through the American Rescue Plan are so critical,” said Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Wally Adeyemo. “Hawaii’s plan will help diversify its economy and spark innovation in key sectors, including renewable energy, to promote economic growth. Treasury will continue working with Hawaii to help make sure this capital is having maximum impact in communities across the state.”

Since ARPA was enacted, the Hawaii Technology Development Corporation (HTDC) has been working with local stakeholders to determine how Hawaii’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:

  1. 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;
  2. a loan participation program to provide low-cost capital to finance clean energy improvements for underserved ratepayers (modeled after the Hawaii Green Infrastructure Authority's Green Energy Market Securitization (GEMS) program); and
  3. 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.

As a member of the Senate Small Business Committee, Senator Hirono has worked to secure federal support for Hawaii’s small businesses throughout the COVID-19 crisis. In March, she successfully advocated for the Biden Administration to extend COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan relief for small businesses. Last year, she urged U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Administrator Isabel Guzman to ensure SBA was prioritizing pandemic relief for underserved businesses.