BoH awards $10,000 to AS Small Business Development Center


Samoa News

The Bank of Hawaii Charitable Foundation has awarded a $10,000 grant to the American Samoa Community College (ASCC) Small Business Development Center (SBDC).

According to Herbert Thweatt, SBDC Director, the local development center has partnered with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), to develop and conduct a Small Business Micro-Loan Program that will assist small businesses in the Territory of American Samoa to start-up or expand.

The ultimate objective of the Program is to also help small businesses enhance inventory, increase marketing, and expand or start-up in effort to create new job opportunities, said Thweatt on Friday, when BOH representatives joined ASCC President Dr. Seth Galeai for the presentation.

Hobbs Lowson, Senior Vice President and Manager, Bank of Hawaii American Samoa District was on hand Friday to make the presentation. Said Lowson of the award, "We are proud to support the American Samoa Small Business Development Center's Micro-Loan Program. This will give local small businesses the financial assistance they need to create a business, or stay in business."

Lowson added, "The Bank of Hawaii is committed to the people and business community of American Samoa."

The Program will offer five micro-loans of $2,000 each to prospective entrepreneurs who desire to start or expand a small business.

According to the SBDC Director, "The program will offer financial assistance to clients that need very small loans to start or enhance their businesses. Our goals are to enhance the success rate of small businesses based in American Samoa, and assist in creating- and retaining- new jobs."

Micro Loan Program applicants will be asked to complete a list of requirements such as a written viable business plan. They must also acquire a business license, obtain a business bank account, and complete three months of business counseling. The business counseling is offered as a free service at the SBDC located on the campus of ASCC.

In conversation with Samoa News, Thweatt noted that part of the service of the SBDC is to assist businesses obtain all of these things, and all of their services are free of charge. He said that although these are very small (micro) loans, people are not limited to the type of small business they wish to begin, calling on their imagination and creativity.

Dr. Seth Galeai was pleased to receive the funds on behalf of ASCC and the Small Business Development Center and noted that the money will truly benefit the community, and give some small business entrepreneurs an opportunity to start up, who may have not had that opportunity before.

By Samoa News Staff

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