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SBDC Offers New Contracted Services Through Small Jobs Act Funding

The Virgin Islands Small Business Development Center recently contracted the services of TIA & Associates through its principal, Dr. Anita Roberts, and Crucian Heritage and Nature Tourism (CHANT) to provide services to Virgin Islands small businesses. Both organizations will offer one-on-one free counseling and specialized low-cost training in the areas of procurement and specialized tourism.

TIA & Associates will provide assistance in two new specialized areas: 8(a) and HubZone certifications. Dr. Roberts has more than 12 years of experience assisting companies in the attainment of these certifications. Through this collaboration, the VI SBDC expects to grow its newly launched Procurement Division, which will focus on preparing businesses to compete locally and nationally for government contracting.

Through its collaboration with the Crucian Heritage and Nature Tourism, Inc. (CHANT), the VI SBDC seeks to specifically target small businesses that offer products and services in this new tourism platform. By working closely with existing heritage and nature tourism product providers, as well as by identifying and nurturing new providers, CHANT helps to bring St. Croix's authentic heritage and nature experiences to visitors. Their goal is to establish heritage and nature as lead tourism products for St. Croix, and as vehicles for sustainable community development.

CHANT will offer a range of ongoing support, including the development of business plans and helping small businesses to secure financing.

Funding for these programs was provided under a key provision of the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, which provided $40 million in grants to SBA's Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) across the country to support consulting, counseling and training services provided to small businesses.

For additional information on how to take advantage of these services, please call your respective VI SBDC Service Center: St. Thomas/St. John (340) 776-3206; St. Croix (340) 692-5270.

The Virgin Islands Small Business Development Center is a partnership program of the U.S. Small Business Administration and the University of the Virgin Islands.