»Government agency leaders and staff gear up to refer vendors to Small Business Expo
As part of a concerted effort to support small businesses in the CNMI, department heads and key staff members participated in a brainstorming session to generate interest in the Department of Commerce’s State Small Business Credit Initiative Program.
Commonwealth Development Authority executive director Manny Sablan, along with acting governor Jude U. Hofschneider, stressed the importance of each agency committing to getting the word out to government contractors, vendors, service providers, and other CNMI-based businesses about the availability of $13.1 million in guarantee funding through local banks.
“We know that there are good firms out there doing business with us that could be even better if they have access to capital to improve or expand their operations,” said Hofscheider.
He encouraged CNMI agencies such as the Commonwealth Utilities Corp., Division of Procurement and Supply and others who contract with local businesses to contact the program’s administrator, CDA or the Pacific Small Business Development Center to see how they might use the program.
Several agency heads expressed enthusiasm for the program.
“We have businesses that provide goods and services to our facilities. I’m going to personally make sure that I make a visit and let them know about this opportunity,” said Department of Corrections Commissioner Ramon C. Mafnas as he gathered brochures and flyers.
Perry Inos, director of the Pacific Small Business Development Center, highlighted some recent success stories for the program and pointed out that his center can help entrepreneurs walk through the process and help make the introduction to banks that would be the best match for their loan needs.
“This is an ‘all hands on deck’ call to action,” said Nancy Montoya, a consultant who has been working on the program here on the CNMI. “Small businesses often don’t know where to turn to for help or don’t know about programs that can make the difference between a ‘maybe’ and a ‘yes.’ It’s great to see your leaders involved and supporting their local communities.”
Businesses and would-be entrepreneurs are invited to attend the free Small Business Expo, to be held at Hyatt Regency Saipan’s Sandcastle Theatre tomorrow, Oct. 25, from 9am to 12pm. (Office of the Governor)