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A bureau within the U.S. Department of Commerce


Press Release

U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $1 Million to Establish Revolving Loan Fund to Help Diversify and Grow Hawaii's Economy

Hawaii Congressional Delegation Supports Investment to Grow Hawaii Businesses in Wake of 2011 Tsunami

WASHINGTON - Acting U.S. Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank today announced a $1 million Economic Development Administration (EDA) grant to the Feed the Hungry Foundation of Honolulu, Hawaii. The funding will support the establishment of a Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) that will provide financial capital to businesses to diversify Hawaii's economy and reduce its dependence on imported goods.

"This $1 million Economic Development Administration investment in Hawaii is an example of the Obama administration's commitment to helping communities that have been impacted by natural disasters rebuild and recover," said Acting U.S. Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank. "The grant announced today will help Honolulu provide local businesses with the resources they need to grow."

"Hawaii's location in the middle of the Pacific leaves us overly dependent on imports, especially for food and fuel. We import more than 80 percent of the food we consume and spent nearly $4.5 billion shipping fossil fuels to our islands last year. These funds will help those businesses working to diversify our economy by creating sustainable sources of food, energy and other products from the resources we already have in Hawaii. I would like to thank the administration for helping Hawaii businesses lessen our dependence on imported goods," said Senator Daniel K. Inouye.

"These federal loan opportunities will help Hawaii businesses grow, so our islands can produce more of the goods we need," said U.S. Senator Daniel K. Akaka. "We never know when the next hurricane or disaster will halt shipping, and we are always looking for ways to boost our local economy."

"Hawaii's future security and prosperity will require greater energy and food self-sufficiency. Natural disasters and foreign conflicts shouldn't determine whether or not island families can afford to power their cars or put food on the table. Today's investment by the Obama Administration supports Hawaii's diverse businesses as they create jobs and build a more sustainable future," said Congresswoman Mazie K. Hirono.

"As an island state that imports the majority of our wares, Hawaii faces a unique challenge should events beyond our control cut us off from the outside world. It is very important that Hawaii continues to work toward a sustainable future where we grow most of our food at home. This grant will help support those local businesses dedicated to developing a sustainable, secure food supply that helps expand and fortify our agriculture industry. I would like to thank the administration for helping to diversify our economy and diminish our dependence on imports," said Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa.

The RLF announced today will provide critical capital to businesses that will help to diversify Hawaii's economy, particularly those focused on developing agricultural assets that will reduce the state's dependence on food imports.

The project is part of a $200 million appropriation made by Congress to EDA to help communities that received a major disaster designation in fiscal year 2011 with long-term economic recovery and infrastructure support.

Within the context of the administration's National Disaster Recovery Framework (NDRF), EDA serves as the Coordinating Agency on behalf of the Department of Commerce for the Economic Recovery Support Function (RSF) to coordinate the activities of a diverse group of partner agencies supporting recovery in disaster-impacted communities. The activities consist primarily of leveraging existing resources and authorities to make a positive impact for communities affected by disasters.

About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (www.eda.gov)
The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation's regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA makes investments in economically distressed communities in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.