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U.S. Dept. of Commerce sets Puerto Rico’s 1st Economic Development District

The U.S. deputy secretary of commerce and Puerto Rico economic growth coordinator, Don Graves, has announced that the department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) has designated the first regional Economic Development District (EDD) in Puerto Rico, the Southern Puerto Rico Economic Development District.

“President Biden is committed to ensuring that no community or demographic group is excluded from the opportunity to achieve the American dream,” Graves said.

“This designation will serve as a foundation for future economic success that will benefit families and businesses in the Southern Region of the archipelago, an area still recovering from several hurricanes, the brunt of multiple earthquakes, and the Coronavirus pandemic,” he said.

Economic Development Districts leverage the involvement of the public, private and nonprofit sectors to establish a strategic blueprint for economic development.

This designation creates a new local-federal partnership to support entrepreneurs, mobilize new resources, and plan for economic growth in the municipalities of Guánica, Guayanilla, Juana Díaz, Peñuelas, Ponce and Yauco.

A variety of industries will be supported in their economic development efforts, including health care, hospitality and agriculture, the federal agency stated.

“Economic Development Districts promote collaboration across all sectors to facilitate regional economic recovery and growth,” said Alejandra Y. Castillo, assistant secretary of Commerce for Economic Development.

“This designation will support economic revitalization and innovation programs to retain existing businesses, encourage new entrepreneurial endeavors, entice industries to make long-term investments and create higher-skill and higher-wage job opportunities in Southern Puerto Rico,” she said.

The Southern Puerto Rico Economic Development District (SPREDD) joins several hundred federally designated EDDs throughout the United States, unified by a Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS). A CEDS is the result of a “regionally owned” planning process designed to guide the economic prosperity and resiliency of an area or region.

The strategy provides a coordinating mechanism for individuals, organizations, local governments, and private industry to engage “in a meaningful conversation and debate about the economic direction of their region,” government officials stated.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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