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List of potential initiatives to be developed with local Venture Fund revealed

Lt. Gov. Lemanu Palepoi Sialega Mauga
Commercial dry-cleaning services, sewing ‘aloha’ shirts, pre-fab steel buildings…

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A clothing manufacturing business and a commercial dry-cleaning service are among initiatives for development that the Lolo Administration is looking at for an economic boost — providing new jobs in American Samoa.

These initiatives were shared during the American Samoa Economic Development Authority (ASEDA) presentation early last month, at the rating presentation to Moody’s Investment Service in Honolulu.

A brief summary of the presentation, including the development initiatives, were part of Lt. Gov. Lemanu Palepoi Sialega Mauga’s Nov. 19th report to Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga following meetings in Washington D.C. with US Interior Department officials, US Federal Emergency Management officials in Oakland, California.

Lemanu’s report provides a “List of Potential Initiatives to be Developed” and two of the initiatives have already been publicly revealed while the rest have yet to be made public. Some of the initiatives have either received or will receive funding from the American Samoa Venture Fund (ASVF), an investment fund that manages American Samoa’s share of the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) from the US Treasury Department.

According to the report, ASG deployed the SSBCI program to leverage American Samoa’s $3.5 million share in US Treasury funds to start new or expand existing businesses in the territory.

Among the new initiatives not made public are:

• Project TNG which is to provide commercial dry-cleaning services to the territory and the region. “There are no such services available in American Samoa or independent Samoa,” the report explained.

It also says that services will be marketed to large and expanding religious organizations as well as other business and personal needs.

According to the report, this business project is to be funded with $250,000 from the ASVF and $950,000 in private investment, with 19 jobs to be created and timeline for completion is the second quarter of 2019.

A note in the report states that construction would cost $200,000; equipment at $700,000; and personnel at $180,000.

• Blue Star Steel, which is to develop a 20,000 square foot high capacity prefab western technology driven integrated green building factory. Funding includes $1 million via ASVF and $5 million in private investment creating 200 jobs and the targeted timeline is the 3rd quarter of 2019.

A note in the report, states that the building and offices is at $13 million; plant equipment $1.3 million and personnel $1.4 million.

• Magic Needle Production is to develop a clothing manufacturing business that will export aloha shirts to the US market. And it's a $5-million-dollar business, projected to create 150 jobs and timeline for completion is 2020.

• Young Energy Solutions, with a timeline of March next year, is to provide improved electrical contractor services to the community to expand computing and technology & support services; add renewable energy system sales to current product offerings; and support development of a call center and ICT industry by making office rental space for said services.

According to the report, ASVF's funding of $350,000 for this project is in place. Another $350,000 is provided by private capital investments. The construction cost is estimated at $400,000.

• Hope Dialysis Center, a private dialysis clinic, which is set to open the first quarter of 2019 will create 26 jobs. Equipment investment is listed at $130,000 and personnel is valued at $1.3 million.

The report made no mention that the clinic was getting any investment funds from the ASVF, but a new release last Friday from DOC states that ASVF is investing $300,000 into the clinic and the check was presented on Dec. 5th to the clinic’s co-founder and managing director, Chris Fisher. (See separate story on the news release in today’s edition).

Among the initiatives listed in the report, that is already public knowledge:

• Inter Island Airways with an ASVF investment of $400,000 already presented to the locally based carrier, while private investment totals $8 million. The airline will provide air service to Manu’a, neighboring Samoa with plans to expand service to include Fiji and other regional destinations. Timeline expected for the airline is the first quarter of 2019, creating 35 jobs.

• StarKist expansion into pouch production, with lease in place for StarKist to take over the Samoa Tuna Processors facility that was upgraded within the last three years and will be used for pouch production.

This project is a $5 million investment that will create 250 jobs and set to start in the 4th quarter of 2019, according to the report.

There are no ASVF funds for this project.