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Frequently Asked Questions



What is the State Small Business Credit Initiative?

The SSBCI is a federal program administered by the Department of Treasury that was funded with $1.5 billion to strengthen state programs that support private financing to small businesses and small manufacturers.  In conjunction with leveraged private financing, the SSBCI is expected to help spur $15 billion in lending to small businesses.

What is the American Samoa Venture Fund?

The ASVF is an investment fund that manages money from the American Samoa SSBCI allocation ($10.5 million) and invests stakes in start ups and small and medium-sized enterprises with strong growth potential.  The ASVF’s investment priorities are in the following industries:
  • Healthcare/Medical
  • Air and Sea transportation
  • Fisheries
  • Agricultural
  • Eco-tourism
  • Manufacturing

Are funds transferred under SSBCI considered a grant or other type of federal assistance?

No. Section 3003(c)5 of the Act specifically states that funds transferred to state, territories, and eligible municipalities under the SSBCI program are not considered federal assistance for the purposes of subtitle V of title 31 of the U.S. Code.  Because SSBCI funds are not considered federal assistance or a grant, many federal assistance or federal grant reporting requirements that states are familiar with do not apply.

How much money was allocated to American Samoa?

American Samoa received an allocation of $10.5 million, which will be drawn down in 3 separate tranches.

How do I apply for funds?

Make sure to go over the eligibility requirements and utilize the checklist to ensure completeness and compliance.

What are the type of loan programs available through ASVF?

American Samoa Venture Fund will provide small businesses or portfolio companies with direct equity investments, mezzanine and senior debt financing. Federal loan guarantee loan programs will be considered and utilized where appropriate.

What types of businesses can qualify for funding through the SSBCI ASVF?

While most businesses are eligible, these are examples of businesses NOT eligible:
  • A business engaged in speculative activities that develop profits from price fluctuations rather than through normal course of trade
  • A business that earns more than half of its annual net revenue from lending activities unless the business is a non-bank or non-bank holding company
  • A business engaged in pyramid sales, where a participant’s primary incentive is based on the sales made by an ever-increasing number of participants
  • A business engaged in activities that are prohibited by federal law or applicable law in the jurisdiction where the business is located or conducted; or
  • A business engaged in gambling enterprises, unless the business earns less than 33% of its annual net revenue from lottery sales.

What business purposes can the funds be used for?

Loan funds can be used for any business purpose including start-up costs, working capital, business procurement, equipment, inventory and the purchase, construction, renovation or improvements of an eligible place of business.

Who do I contact to learn more about applying for funds through SSBCI ASVF?

Please contact the Department of Commerce office at (684) 633-5155, or email SSBCI Manager Pat Galea’i at and Director of the Department of Commerce Keniseli Lafaele at to request an appointment with an SSBCI staff member.

You may also find contact information on the right sidebar of this page.

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