On June 13, we attended the Community Briefing for the University of the Virgin Islands Research and Technology Park (UVI RTPark). The UVI RTPark seeks to build on Technology Based Economic Development with programs that introduce entrepreneurs to sources of risk capital and a technically skilled workforce for a greater assurance of success, as well as laying the groundwork for nurturing returning talent. The event will be repeated on St. Croix on June 18 – RSVP online.
Among the highlights:
The team at the UVI RTPark works in close association with the University and has provided hundreds of thousands in scholarships; in 2018, $771K was raised, and with 2019 only a little over half complete, the figure raised is very close to $1M.
The UVI RTPark is positioned as a gateway to commercial firms on the U.S. mainland and in Latin America with reach and marketing power not available to startups or some established businesses. Along with working to grow a stable tech workforce, the UVI RTPark stresses the availability of Tier 1 broadband access, working within an offshore U.S. territory, possible tax benefits, being in a beautiful environment, and the fact that the population is English speaking.
Among the current tenants are companies that offer the following diverse services: consulting, investment, sustainability, energy, telecommunications & infrastructure and more. Through its Accelerator Program, UVI RTPark will jump-start qualified emergent businesses towards eventually becoming fully-fledged RTPark clients. Find out more at https://www.uvirtpark.net/why/special-programs/
In terms of value already realized in the USVI, the UVI RTPark has already generated hundreds of positions, just over 50% of which went to U.S. Virgin Islands residents. The specialized positions command more than double the mean annual wage in the USVI.
The UVI RTPark receives no government funding, but generates not only revenue but spurs economic activity as liquid monies flow freely among contractors, vendors, employees and local merchandise and service providers as a result.
The UVI RTPark will soon actively recruit U.S. Virgin Islanders (“Ex-Pats”) who have moved away due to lack of local opportunities: The VI Talent Bank. Many UVI RTPark clients could utilize their talents and compensate them well. Set to launch in the Q4 2019, this program addresses the sanctity of families, as aging populations will no longer be without the support systems of children and grandchildren as multi-generational life and all of its social and emotional benefits can slowly be restored.
THE WORLD BEYOND
The UVI RTPark is very much aware of growing competition throughout the Caribbean Basin, and regularly attends key conferences around the world seeking viable partners who would become contributors to our communities while expanding their businesses.
The UVI RTPark’s staff is diverse in outlook, culture, experience, and education, and everyone seems so passionate and very much appreciated by the leadership.
• View the UVI RTPark client list at https://www.uvirtpark.net/clients/