SBDC honors Bank of Hawaii grant awardees at annual advisory board luncheon


Samoa News ByTeri Hunkin
In a comparatively small office on the upper campus of the American Samoa Community College is a quiet but effective group of people working to make a difference in the economic life of the territory. Led by Mr. Herbert Thweatt in his capacity as State Director, the Small Business Development Center — SBDC — has been there at ASCC, assisting the people of the territory with small business ventures since 2000.

Each year, SBDC hosts an advisory board luncheon to honor and highlight some of the accomplishments and achievements for the year. On Friday Jan 4, Thweatt and his staff hosted the annual event at the Tradewinds Hotel for the latest group of SBDC clients_ to obtain Grant Awards through Bank of Hawaii, for Calendar Year 2012. BoH has worked closely with SBDC for several years to identify and aid small businesses in the territory.

According to Thweatt, BoH has indicated that they expect to continue with this grant funding to encourage and aid small businesses here, even after they have moved their local offices.

Some awardees were there with first time enterprises, others with existing businesses, but all said they were grateful for the guidance which the SBDC has shown over their 13 years of operation.

Funded by the federal government under the Small Business Administration, SBDC this past year has helped new businesses write grants___, prepare business plans and advertise effectively, among other services offered.

Working with the collaboration and assistance of the Bank of Hawaii, SBDC helped to identify seven small businesses, which were awarded BoH grants totaling some $32,000 overall for calendar year 2012.

At the luncheon on Friday, the following grant awardees were given commemorative plaques to honor their Bank of Hawaii awards:
  • American Samoa Culinary Academy—Chef Sualua
  • Island Flowers by Liana—Donna and Tamiano Gurr
  • Maliu Mai Beach Resort—Mapu Jamias
  • Ta’iala Academy—Ephraim Temple
  • Alanoa Florist—Aniani Sili
  • Sal’s Day Car Center—Lina Aumoeualogo
  • Talofa Hideaway Bar & Grill—Pouono Fau
The grant money had various applications, but in general was given to improve, extend, supplement, renovate, increase and expand the respective businesses in ways set forth by the grant applications.

SBDC noted that in CY 2011 they accomplished 30 new business start-ups with 185 jobs created or retained, along with a capital infusion of $3,279,250 in that year (owing partially to ARRA and tsunami-related funding).

For CY 2012, SBDC to date accomplished 17 business start-ups with 75 jobs created or retained. Capital infusion noted in their records came to $926,700.

Also during the luncheon, a Certificate of Appreciation was given to Mr. Lee Hyun-Hwi for his eight years of service to the community as a Korean Language Instructor.

Catherine Balauro was given a Certificate of Appreciation for five years of service with SBDC.

Thweatt noted in his remarks that there are still many opportunities out there for our entrepreneurs — including veterans who can be helped with training and guidance for start-up businesses.

SBDC can be reached by calling 699-4830 or visiting their website at

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