ASCC/SBDC Recognizes Community Partners


Samoa Post SBDC 08/13/2008:

Herbert Thweatt (left), Director of the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at ASCC, presents an appreciation award to ASCC President Dr. Seth Galea'i. ASCC has hosted the American Samoa SBDC since its inception in 2000.
(Photo: J.Kneubuhl)
This photo was printed in the The Samoa Post, Wednesday December 10, 2008.

SBDC 08/20/2008:

June Tagomailelagi of the Small Business Development Center at ASCC congratulates AJ Ozu after his acceptance of the Center's appreciation award on behalf of the Bank of Hawaii Charitable Foundation. Thanks to BOH, the SBDC facility is now wheelchair accessible.
(Photo: J.Kneubuhl)
This photo was printed in the The Samoa Post, Wednesday December 10, 2008.

ASCC/SBDC Recognizes Community Partners ASCC Press Release December 13, 2008 By James Kneubuhl, ASCC Press Officer At its annual Advisory Board meeting held last week, the American Samoa Small Business Development Center (AS-SBDC) paid special recognition to two of its main community partners, the Bank of Hawaii (BOH) Charitable Foundation and the American Samoa Community College (ASCC).

“For the recent improvements at our facility, such as making it wheelchair accessible and upgrading our computer resources, we give credit and thanks to the Bank of Hawaii Charitable Foundation, who have supported us with contributions totaling $25,000 over a three-year period,” said SBDC Director Herbert Thweatt. “We also felt the time had come to officially recognize and express our gratitude to ASCC for hosting the American Samoa SBDC since it first started in 2000.”

A resource partner of the nationwide U.S. Small Business Administration, the AS-SBDC strives to enhance economic growth in the Territory by developing entrepreneurial skills among small businesses and in the broader community through counseling, training, research, advocacy, and other activities. To create a broad-based system of assistance for the small business community, the SBDC serves as a link between the resources of federal, state and local government, and those of the educational community and private sector.

“Through our federally-funded activities, we basically support the growth of small businesses in the community,” explained Thweatt, who has headed the SBDC since 2004.

Thweatt and his staff of three maintain a busy schedule of counseling small business owners, a service provided at no cost, and also arranging seminars on topics ranging from basic website design to grant applications and a multitude of other areas related to starting and successfully maintaining a small business.

According to Thweatt, “We look at the small business community as a whole, and try to offer programs and activities that will meet the particular needs of American Samoa. We’ve helped a number of entrepreneurs find loans they can apply for. We also offer an ongoing series of classes in the Korean language to help facilitate better communication in the local retail sector. All in all, the SBDC has quite a spectrum of business-related activities going on at any given time.”

To help plan its activities, the SBDC maintains an Advisory Board made up of leaders in the local public and private sectors. This group gathered at the SBDC facility last week for its periodic policy meeting as well as a recognition ceremony in which Thweatt paid tribute to the BOH Charitable Foundation and ASCC.

Presenting a plaque to BOH Business Loan Manager AJ Ozu, Thweatt explained how the institution’s Charitable Foundation has funded significant improvements for SBDC. “The funds we received from BOH went to adding a new classroom for training, as well as new restroom facilities that will serve our handicapped and wheelchair-bound clients. We also added a wheelchair ramp on the side of the building, and one inside to provide easy access to the facility and its class rooms.”

President Dr. Seth Galea’i also received a plaque on behalf of the ASCC, and Thweatt expressed his thanks for the College has not only providing SBDC with its own building on campus, but also integrating SBDC into its broad organizational scheme.

“We feel proud to contribute to the wide range of educational and community support activities offered by ASCC,” said Thweatt, “and we hope the small business community will appreciate that without the generosity of the College, SBDC would have a much more difficult job providing the services it does.”

Dr. Galea’i sits on the current SBDC Advisory Board, whose members include Tapaau Dr. Daniel Aga, Director of CNR/Land Grant; Dr. Taitaifono Otineru, Director of ASCC Adult Education; Mr. Alex Zodiacal, Manager, Economic Division, Department of Commerce; Mr. David Robinson, President, Chamber of Commerce; Mr. Brian Glass, Vice President and Branch Manager, BOH; Mr. David Whitby, President, Amerika Samoa ANZ Bank; Mrs. Jilla Piroozmand, CFO, Development Bank of Amerika Samoa; Ms. Sherrie Sele, Director of Sales & Marketing, Blue Sky Communications; Utu Abe Malae, Former CEO, DBAS; Mr. Roy Hall Jr., Attorney, Hall & Associates; Mr. Barry Forsgren, Senior President, Forsgren Ltd; and Mr. Bill Lewis, General Manager, Cost-U-Less.

In addition to Mr. AJ Ozu of BOH, other special guests at last week’s meeting and ceremony included Olomalesau John Ah Sue, Director of Administrative Services, ASCC; Mr. Kenape Aumavae, Facilities Superintendent, ASCC; Ms. F’alua Matila, Business Loan Manager, ANZ Bank; and Mr. JD Hall, Manager, Hall & Associates.

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