ASCC/SBDC makes awards to Community Partners


Samoa News

The American Samoa Small Business Development Center (SBDC), a program hosted by the American Samoa Community College (ASCC) held its annual Advisory Board Luncheon on Friday, December 9th at the Tradewinds Hotel. The luncheon included the presentation of this year’s SBDC Awards to its community partners in recognition of outstanding service in the areas of volunteerism, starting new businesses or creating jobs.

ASCC has hosted the SBDC for the past 11 years, and to celebrate this successful partnership, the Center honored College President Dr. Seth Galea’i with the Appreciation Award for One Decade of Partnership and Business Community Service Excellence. “Since the inception of our partnerships with ASCC and the U.S. Small Business Administration, we estimate that the SBDC has counseled and trained more than 2,500 people who have started more than 130 businesses and very conservatively invested more than $6 million into the American Samoan business community over the years,” explained SBDC State Director Herbert Thweatt. “Without the vision and support of the College there would be no Small Business Development Center or federal small business program in American Samoa to serve our population of more than 50,000 people.”

Dr. Galea’i joined the SBDC staff, Advisory Board, and other award recipients at the ceremony, and reflected on the longstanding partnership between the College and the Center. “The SBDC adds a unique if non-traditional aspect to our institution,” he said. “While their activities are not part of our regular curriculum, they do offer non-credit classes in various business practices, and more importantly they’ve provided invaluable assistance to members of the community seeking to establish or expand small businesses. With the current economic challenges faced by American Samoa, we’re lucky to have a catalyst for entrepreneurship like the SBDC to provide the community with guidance and access to resources.”

In addition to Dr. Galea’i, other small business achievers recognized this year included Chef Sualua Tupolo of American Samoa Culinary Academy, who received the Achievement Award for Job Training and Placement. The Achievement Award for Entrepreneurship and Job Creation went to Gemini Ve’ave’a of Tap’s Steak House, and the Appreciation Award for Community Outreach Volunteerism was given to Mr. and Mrs. Byung Soo Ki and Hea Suk Kim of Samoa Sports Center. Student interns Ms. Talalelei Pu’a, Ms. Leilani Lama Tofilau and Ms. Priti Danira E. Smith each received the Achievement Award for Marketing Consultant Intern Program Completion, and SBDC staff member Ms. Catherine Balauro took home the Achievement Star Award for Outstanding performance and Organizational Support.

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 activities, the SBDC provides small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs with the practical assistance needed to grow and prosper in today's economy. More information on the SBDC and its activities can be found on their web page:

James Kneubuhl, ASCC Press Officer

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