James Kneubuhl, ASCC Press Officer
Since the year 2000, the American Samoa Small Business Development Center (SBDC), hosted by the American Samoa Community College (ASCC) has been providing small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs in American Samoa the practical assistance they need to grow and prosper in today's economy.
An advocate for small businesses that delivers services in counseling, training, and technical assistance, SBDC is part of a close network of public and private business organizations, the major goals of which are the economic stability and growth of small businesses in the Territory.
To close out 2016, just prior to the end of the year, the SBDC held its Annual Advisory Board Meeting and ceremony to announce the year’s recipients of Bank of Hawaii $5,000 Small Business Grant Awards.
Local BOH branch manager Mr. E.J. Tyler Ozu joined SBDC Director Mr. Herbert Thweatt and his staff to present five awards during the ceremony at Sadie’s By the Sea. The small business grants, which have been given out for several years now, are based on criteria specified by Bank of Hawaii under their Small Business Development and Revitalization grant, which they call “Atina’e Manuia mo Amerika Samoa.”
The recipients of the 2016 awards are ACT Chips, represented by Temukisa Tuiolosega; the Lomi Lomi Day Spa & Salon, represented by Christine Smith; CHEATday, represented by Tina Reid; Flying Fox Brewing Co., represented by Nathan Ilaoa; and Alliance Insurance & Financial Services, represented by Matt Wade.
“We are committed to seeing our communities grow and thrive by encouraging economic development,” BOH stated in a memorandum about its small business grant awards. “We understand that economic development isn’t always easy, so we are investing in grants to help stimulate small business development in American Samoa. This grant program is being offered to small business owners to promote new businesses and to encourage existing small businesses to expand. Our ultimate goal is to create economic stability and maintain a superior quality of life for families in American Samoa.”
For more than a decade now, the SBDC has demonstrated a similar commitment to the Territory’s economic well-being. “We provide quality training and counseling that enables entrepreneurs and the business community to be successful builders and leaders in the Territory’s future,” said SBDC Director Thweatt. He also reiterated the mission of the SBDC, which is to enhance economic growth and assist individuals in American Samoa by developing entrepreneurial skills among small businesses and the broader community through counseling, training, research, advocacy and other resources and activities.
As documented in its Economic Impact Report for 2016, over the twelve-month period the SBDC counseled 110 clients, 85 of who were new. They played a part in 15 business start-ups, and retained 52 jobs within the local employment sector. 62 clients participated in the business training seminars offered regularly by the SBDC. The center estimates the capital infusion into the local economy related to its services comes to a total of $1,380,000.00.
For more information on the opportunities available from the SBDC, visit their web site at: www.as-sbdc.org.