Economic Growth in Focus: Guam Economic Development Authority’s Initiatives for Island Prosperity

Guam’s Economic Development Authority (GEDA) plays a central role in Guam by creating programs for the benefit of the business community that align with the island’s development vision.  

GEDA’s mission revolves around fostering a robust and sustainable economy to enhance the well-being of the people of Guam and bolster the region’s economic standing. It oversees all government public finance projects and manages a portfolio of government-owned properties. Furthermore, GEDA prioritizes business development, including attracting external investors and supporting local small businesses. Under the guidance of Governor Leon Guerrero, there is a specific emphasis on diversifying Guam’s economy away from its heavy reliance on federal government activities and tourism.

Could you provide examples of industries with a light environmental impact and higher-paid jobs that you’re currently targeting? We’re particularly interested in industries like telecom infrastructure, sustainable aquaculture, and additive manufacturing. We are interested in areas of growth that create good paying jobs for the people of Guam and build on Guam’s competitive geographic position in Asia and US tax and legal frameworks.

What is the significance of a robust Investment Development Authority like GEDA and how does it benefit the business community? On a small island like Guam, we are fortunate to have the opportunity to provide clear communication channels between investors and the government of Guam who oversees the regulation around business development. GEDA’s role in managing tax incentives, facilitating permits, and coordinating with educational institutions ensures a supportive ecosystem for businesses.

Our unique tax incentive programs, such as the qualifying certificate, offer competitive benefits for businesses looking to make long term capital investments in the island. Moreover, our collaboration with local educational institutions such as the University of Guam, the Guam Community College, and our Trades Academy addresses workforce needs, ensuring sustainable growth and prosperity. 

How does Guam communicate its opportunities to potential investors, both internationally and domestically? Initiatives like virtual economic investment meetings and planned in-person trade missions, including one specifically targeted in Japan, aim to showcase Guam’s potential to investors. Hosting trade shows locally provides investors with firsthand experience of the island’s offerings, enhancing their understanding and commitment to potential projects.

How does GEDA balance engagement with largescale investors and small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) locally? While GEDA focuses on attracting large-scale projects and investors, it also prioritizes supporting local SMEs. By showcasing businesses and media directly, we ensure that both large and small players in various sectors are visible and accessible, fostering a diverse and inclusive business environment on the island. Moreover, growing large scale investments and SME investments is a balancing act. GEDA devotes resources to cultivating these two distinct clienteles. The former, through trade missions and support when they are doing local due diligence.

For SME’s, GEDA recognizes the importance of supporting small businesses and entrepreneurs. Initiatives like partnering with local incubators training programs and funding startups aim to accelerate their growth organically. Universally, we undertake efforts to work with policymakers and government agencies to posture Guam as a business-friendly environment.

«We also see Guam as a potential hub for additive manufacturing specific to applications in defense and the shipping industry.»

What role does sustainability play in Guam’s economic development, and how is GEDA fostering initiatives in this area? Guam aims to position itself as a leader in sustainability, leveraging its unique environmental perspective. In 2019, when Governor Leon Guerrero came into office, we launched a revamp of tax incentives that made setting up shop for circular businesses a “tax free” environment. Guam, being a small island, we knew any waste from industry needed to be mitigated, and we supported this initiative to remove waste from the traditional waste stream.

Guam’s focus on promoting local agriculture and aquaculture aims to reduce import dependency. Initiatives like Farm to Table Guam support local farmers, train new farmers, and encourage sourcing food locally.

Lastly, growing our knowledge economy through supporting innovation in the additive manufacturing space is a win-win with sustainability because we are looking to reduce imports through utilizing additive manufacturing capabilities in ship and submarine repair, automotive repair, and home construction.

What advantages does Guam offer, particularly considering its geography and strategic location in Asia? Guam’s status as a U.S. territory comes with significant benefits, including adherence to US legal systems, ensuring stability and investor confidence. Moreover, its strategic location in Asia makes it a viable choice for businesses looking to tap into the dynamic markets of the region.

Guam’s proximity to key Asian markets, such as Japan, Korea, and Taiwan, makes it an attractive location for businesses, especially those in industries like aquaculture. Direct flights to major destinations facilitate efficient transportation of goods, particularly beneficial for industries like live seafood export. We are looking for investments waiting to pioneer “scale” aquaculture projects taking place at the current time, not only in  Guam but in the surrounding rich waters of Micronesia. 


What are the future prospects for Guam? Guam envisions becoming a hub for unique seafood products, leveraging its natural advantages and strategic location. Initiatives to support circular economy projects and innovative sustainability practices aim to further enhance Guam’s economic potential.

Because of Guam’s strategic defense location for the United States, we are seeing an influx of telecommunications infrastructure. We see opportunities for housing data in US soil for companies with security concerns. We also see Guam as a potential hub for additive manufacturing specific to applications in defense and the shipping industry