Governor Sean Parnell signed legislation to promote economic development by helping Alaska's small businesses access critically needed capital to expand and better compete in world markets.
House Bill 121, introduced by the governor, creates the Mariculture Revolving Loan Fund, the Alaska Microloan Revolving Loan Fund, the Commercial Charter Fisheries Revolving Loan Fund, and the Community Quota Entity Revolving Loan Fund within the Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development.
"My administration places a high value on business enterprise -- large and small," Governor Parnell said. "Entrepreneurship is a quality that comes naturally to Alaskans. We want to foster this spirit across the state, recognizing that small businesses employ many in Alaska, and are critical to our state's economy."
The Mariculture Revolving Loan Fund will provide capital to entrepreneurs in coastal communities that will allow year-round farming of oysters, geoducks and other shellfish, and create new jobs in the mariculture industry.
The Alaska Microloan Revolving Loan Fund will provide funding for start-up costs, working capital, and inventory expansion, spurring small business development and viability. The Community Quota Entity Revolving Loan Fund will assist rural communities obtain individual fishing quotas for federal fisheries, increasing economic opportunities and creating rural jobs, with quota shares leased to community residents.
The Commercial Charter Fisheries Revolving Loan Fund will assist Alaskan commercial charter operators to acquire charter halibut permits. The fund will increase Alaskan ownership of the permits, thus increasing economic benefits from the recirculation of earnings. House Bill 121 received unanimous support in the Legislature.
Governor Parnell also signed House Bill 60, which authorizes the use of geoduck seed transfer, which will allow the mariculture industry to grow and expand.