Friday, August 12, 2022
It has been a week since the Saipan Chamber of Commerce with the CNMI Small Business Development Center Network and the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisers closed out the first-ever Friends of Business Summit. The event provided small businesses with useful information about the support and resources available to help them grow and maintain their businesses.
It was very exciting to see new faces from throughout our business community. Rather than a traditional lecture style, the presentation stage was set up like a TV talk show with presenters sitting on sofas and having discussions about topics that affect small businesses. This allowed the presenters and audience to feel comfortable talking freely and interacting less formally. The best part is how we all came together as a community to help each other.
As one of the presenters, along with SCC President Joe Guerrero and the rest of the SCC team, I gave an overview of the Chamber, its history, and the benefits of being a member. This was especially helpful for new business owners who might not have known much about the Chamber or the benefits of joining the organization.
Many business owners didn’t realize that the Saipan Chamber of Commerce has been serving the business community since 1959. The Chamber was part of the change from a Trust Territory to a Commonwealth. We also offer start-up memberships for new businesses where the membership dues are waived based on their incorporation date. After our presentation, business owners joined us at the SCC table to ask questions about the presentations, and we were able to engage further during our networking session.
It was exciting to see new faces from the business community take advantage of the resources available to help them succeed. The highlight of the event was the unveiling of the BOOST Program Grant (Building Optimism, Opportunities, and Stability Together) announced by the Governor’s Office. The BOOST Program aims to support CNMI businesses and nonprofit organizations to thrive and continue to provide much-needed employment. As we continue to emerge from the COVID-19 Pandemic, the BOOST program will surely help start-up businesses to get off the ground. Small businesses need all the support they can get because the jobs they provide are essential for the community. I encourage all qualified CNMI businesses to apply at cnmiboost.com.
SCC also supports GCEA’s Marianas Business Pride program which will help aid in business beautification. Keeping our business environment clean, presentable, and safe for staff and the community is a top priority. One of the important aspects of any beautification initiative is to get business partners’ buy-in to the concept. We will continue to share the vision of CNMI-wide beautification with local business owners and give practical examples of ways they can contribute to this vision. I invite the Chamber’s business members to join this amazing program and see how we can work together to make the CNMI a better place to live. Become an MBP Partner by signing up at cnmieconomy.com.
On behalf of the Saipan Chamber of Commerce, I would like to thank the CNMI Department of Labor, the CNMI Bureau of Military Affairs Economic Development Program, the Saipan Zoning Office, the CNMI Department of Commerce, the Commonwealth Economic Development Authority, and especially the CNMI Office of the Governor and the congressional office of Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan for thinking about our small business owners. Allocating a portion of the American Rescue Plan Act funds to help small businesses will have a great impact on our community. Thank you for supporting small businesses!
I’d also like to thank the local business owners and managers from Rota, Tinian, and Saipan who attended the summit and participated in the Small Business Survey. Your valuable insight is greatly appreciated. Thank you to the dedicated team at World Resort for their support of the event and to our event team from the SCC, CNMI SBDC Network, and the GCEA for putting this summit together. Together, We Can!
For more information visit the GCEA website at cnmieconomy.com. Engage with the Council on Facebook and Instagram (@cnmigov.economy) or contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Kimberly Camacho
Kimberly Camacho is the new Executive Director Saipan Chamber of Commerce. Kimberly is also the manager/administrative director for the professional services firm ARI, Ltd., as well as the Board Treasurer for Latte Training Academy, which handles the operations of The Next Level Thrift and Consignment Shop.