U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross participated in this week’s White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council meeting hosted by President Donald Trump. During the council meeting, Secretary Ross highlighted the innovative steps taken by the U.S. Department of Commerce to encourage private investment in Opportunity Zones. He shared how the Economic Development Administration and Minority Business Development Agency are working to direct the funds in economically distressed communities across the country.
Specifically, EDA has issued a Notice of Funding Opportunity for public works and economic adjustment assistance programs to make all entities within the qualified Opportunity Zones generally available for EDA funds. Since Fiscal Year 2018, EDA has already invested in 16 Opportunity Zone projects, that will help make the Zones more attractive to investors in the tax-oriented program.
Approximately 56 percent of Opportunity Zone residents are minorities. That’s why the Minority Business Development Agency will hold several Opportunity Zone summits in cities throughout the country to reach the minority business community. The first one was held last month in Philadelphia; Bruce Kratz, Opportunity Zone expert spoke with nearly 200 people about the best practices for people looking to get involved with Opportunity Zone funds.
Both EDA and MBDA will continue leveraging this important component of the Tax Cuts and Job Act that benefit American communities. Secretary Ross looks forward to leading this economic development workstream of the council and building on the interest and enthusiasm surrounding the investment in Opportunity Zones.