Friday, December 27, 2013

UN Resident Coordinator Meets YES!

Ms. Lubrani holds a Bachelor of Arts in sociology, anthropology and history of Africa from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel. She has a Master of International Affairs degree from Columbia University and a Master of Fine Arts degree from New York University.

Previously, she was the UN development coordinator and UNDP resident representative for Kosovo, director of the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) in Brussels and regional program director in Slovakia. She was seconded to UNDP's office in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia as deputy resident representative, and worked with UNIFEM in New York.

During her visit, Lubrani met with several Bureau of Youth and Sports Director, Melson Miko, as well as with several Youth Entrepreneur Solutions (YES) Program Phase II participants. Director Miko directly manages the Palau National Youth Council (PNYC) and is a partner with the Palau SBDC in overseeing the achievement of the YES Program Business Incubator.

The Palau Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and the Ministry of Community and Cultural Affairs (MCCA) work continuously to support Palauan youth and help pave the way to an exciting future of Palauan entrepreneurship. Though support from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) has been received (in the form of seed money) to start on the construction of the YES Program Business Incubator, the present deteriorated state of the facility will require additional support from the community.

The Youth Entrepreneur Solutions (YES) Action Plan launched Phase 2 of its program on March 15, 2013. Their theme for this year’s business plan training and competition was: “Building the Spirit of Entrepreneurship.” The YES Action Plan was first launched in April 2012 and is a joint initiative under the Small Business Development Center of Palau (SBDC) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

If you would like more information about the Youth Entrepreneur Solution Business plan competition or you are interested in supporting the launching of the YES Program Business Incubator, please contact Lisa Abraham at 587-6004 or email at

Friday, December 20, 2013


The Pacific Islands Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network Director Casey Jeszenka announced that Fred Granillo has been selected as the 2013 State Star of the Pacific Islands SBDC Network (PISBDCN).
“I am delighted to make this announcement, and to recognize Fred Granillo for extraordinary contributions to the work of the Pacific Islands SBDC Network and to the small businesses in Guam,” said Casey Jeszenka.
Fred Granillo is a business counselor and the training coordinator at the Guam SBDC at the University of Guam. Fred Granillo was chosen by the PISBDCN for being an outstanding performer, making a major contribution to the PISBDCN program and showing a strong commitment to small businesses in Guam.
“It is an honor to accept this award,” said Fred Granillo, “and to have the opportunity every day to assist so many entrepreneurs achieve the dream of starting and succeeding in their own business.”

Photo by S Thibodeau Photography: (From L –R) Mrs. Georgette Reyes-Wiltz (PISBDCN Associate Network Director), Mr. Fred Granillo (Guam SBDC Counselor and 2013 PISBDCN State Star) and Casey Jeszenka (PISBDCN Network Director) at the ASBDC State Star Reception in Orlando, Florida.

A special awards reception honoring the America’s SBDC 2013 State Stars was held on Monday, September 9th in Orlando, Florida in conjunction with America’s SBDC’s 33rd Annual Conference. The reception was graciously sponsored by Constant Contact, Inc. Constant Contact, Inc. helps small businesses, associations, and nonprofits connect with their customers, clients, and members. Launched in 1998, Constant Contact champions the needs of small organizations and provides them with an easy and affordable way to build successful, lasting customer relationships. Learn more at

America’s Small Business Development Center (ASBDC) Network is a partnership uniting private enterprise, government, higher education and local nonprofit economic development organizations. It is the Small Business Administration’s largest partnership program, providing management and technical assistance to help Americans start, run and grow their own businesses. With about 1,000 centers across the nation, America’s SBDC network provided business consulting to approximately 200,000 clients, training for more than 400,000 attendees, and other forms of management and technical assistance to approximately 600,000 small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs last year. Learn more at

Friday, December 13, 2013

Nature Ambassador

By Keone Chariton.
Marketing Assistant Intern

Donna Rivera, proud owner of Nature Ambassador, arrived in the CNMI in 2001 where she began her journey in the private industry learning the art of sales and marketing. Becoming a successful employee as a sales executive, she made networks and relations with other businesses. With the inspiration of starting her own business, her passion for her business endeavor was found through Nature Ambassador.
Donna explains, “For the past years, from time to time I would have this business idea and just never got the chance or opportunity to materialize. Over the past months with my husband and friends, we have discussed different ideas we could do together as a business, not just because we have the time to do it, but more importantly, we felt the need to have a business that will create jobs for our church-mates.” She also mentions, “We don’t intend to make such a big promise, but that’s the very first thing that came to mind when we decided to start up this business.”

Growing up, Donna was always exposed to small businesses. “When I was young, during summer breaks I would collect duhat (Java Plum) or kamote tops and sell it in front of our house. While I was in high school, my family had a snack bar within our school.” Donna graduated at the Saint Louis University with a Bachelor in Commerce with a major in banking & finance, and a minor in entrepreneurship. “When I was in college, I stayed with my auntie in Baguio. She had a small store within the public market of Baguio city and at the same time we would deliver food to all the vendors there,” Donna recalls.
For Donna, starting a business was not as easy as she thought and the “SBDC has become my guide in every step of the way.” Through the personal attention and resources provided by SBDC, “it became realistic with me. I came to realize that attention to detail is very important. It’s not enough to just know how to sell; you also have to make sure that when you sell, you will not end up killing the business by not accounting for all the expenses.” Although SBDC helped guide Donna to create a business plan, she states that Director Perry Inos Jr. never stopped at just helping create a business plan but more importantly emphasized that we should not fear to follow our dreams. She says, “He believed [in] me and encouraged me to GO FOR IT!”
For Donna, her largest obstacle was the process of finding the right items to market and finding the right suppliers. She states, “It’s challenging to be going back and forth to communicate with different suppliers. But our faith and our dreams never stopped us from pursuing this.” The most memorable triumph for Donna was knowing that she was able to start this business and know that her family’s there to support her.

Nature Ambassador’s short term goal is “to be able to convince local business to support me by making my product available to their stores/shops for the local and tourist market.” Nature Ambassador’s long term goal is to expand their products to Guam.

Donna Rivera of Nature Ambassador encourages those who are interested in starting a business to “go to the CNMI SBDC office and get FREE consultation, you will never regret it”. She states, “It’s good to know that somebody is here to stand with you and think with you”.
Nature Ambassador is open on weekdays and weekends from 8am to 5pm, located in Navy Hill. For inquiries contact Nature Ambassador at (670) 789-1873 or via email at
For more information on how the CNMI SBDC can help you, feel free to contact Director Perry Inos Jr. or Lynette Sablan at (670)664-3018 or visit our website at

Friday, December 6, 2013

More Proficient Business Trainers in the Northern Pacific

By: Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC)
The Pacific Island Small Business Development Center Network (PISBDCN) staff, participants from the Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, and Palau, SBPA (Acting) Dean Dr. Santos, SVP Dr. Enriquez (Interim), and the SPC and SPTO trainers take a group photo after the Certificate of Completion of the North-Pacific In-Country Train-the-Trainer Ceremony on August 15, 2013.

Business entrepreneurs in the Pacific can now expect to receive better expertise from trainers in the areas of marketing, quality assurance and business development. This will help improve the export market readiness and performance of their enterprises.
A 22-member group of public and private sector trainers from the Federated States of
Micronesia, Marshall Islands and Palau attended the North-Pacific in-country train-the-trainers
workshop in Guam from 12–15 August.

The workshop was facilitated by two European Union (EU)-funded projects – the Increasing
Agricultural Commodity Trade (IACT) project and the Pacific Regional Tourism Capacity
Building programme (PRTCBP) – in partnership with the University of Guam’s Pacific Islands
Small Business Development Center Network (PISBDCN).

IACT and PRTCBP are implemented by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) and
the South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) respectively. Both projects are part of EU’s
Strengthening Pacific Economic Integration through Trade (SPEITT) programme.

The four-day workshop refreshed and enhanced the skills of the participants – most of whom
are engaged in training business owners and potential business operators in their countries. It
is expected that they will assist in the areas of marketing, quality assurance and business
development on their return.

This, according to IACT Team Leader, Samu Turagacati, is particularly important, keeping in
mind the high costs and difficulties faced by entrepreneurs in acquiring the services of
specialised business trainers.

‘Having well-rounded business trainers who are easily accessible to entrepreneurs, including
those involved in enterprises assisted by IACT, will facilitate the provision of the necessary
technical assistance and advisory services for enterprises to grow and expand. This will
contribute to economic growth, as well as generate employment opportunities,’ he stated.

Commenting on the collaboration with partners for the workshop, Turagacati said that IACT is
well-positioned to engage with key players in the economic development of the Pacific by
undertaking joint interventions on activities to support small and medium-scale enterprises to
maximize on business opportunities.

The University of Guam and PISBDCN were pleased and excited about the partnership
formed with SPC and SPTO.

‘It is our hope to work together more in the future to help build the capacity of the private
sector in Micronesia by providing more training like this,’ said Casey Jeszenka, Network
Director of PISBDCN.

Turagacati said that there may be a possibility in the near future for IACT-assisted enterprises
in the Northern Pacific to be part of PISBDCN’s client list in order for them to receive free
technical assistance when required.

The training was well received by the participants. They expressed their appreciation of the
outstanding delivery of the presentations and noted that the training was extremely useful.

One of the participants, Lisa Abraham, Director of Palau’s Small Business Development
Center (SBDC,) said that the workshop was a great opportunity to enhance her skills and
Workshop participants from the Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands
and Palau, together with representatives of the University of Guam and trainers at the North-
Pacific In-Country Train-the-Trainer workshop.

‘This training was very important as I will use the tools, knowledge and information to assist
my clients on matters of quality control, business systems and processes, and the ability to
accurately quantify loss of business,’ she said.

Key benefits of the workshop include the enhancement of the marketing, quality assurance,
business development and teaching skills of the participants so that they will be better able to
teach clients and small business communities in the tourism and export sectors.

Lisa Abraham hopes to implement some of the things learnt at the workshop in the annual
training goals for Palau’s SBDC. This will involve conducting training programs to value-
added production clients, as well as to current and prospective farmers and producers.

The workshop was held at the University of Guam in Mangilao.

The IACT project is aimed at strengthening the export capacity of Pacific countries and
territories in the primary industries of agriculture, forestry, aquaculture and livestock.

For more information, contact: Ashley R. Gopal, Media & Communications Assistant - IACT,
Land Resources Division, SPC, Suva, Fiji (Tel.: +679 337 9492; email: );
or you may contact the LRD helpdesk:

The Pacific Islands Development Bank (PIDB) Open its Doors in the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI)

By: Anel N. Philimon

The government of the Marshall Islands became a new member of the Pacific Islands Development Bank-PIDB late last year (2012) after a long waiting period for the signing of the membership agreement between the PIDB and the RMI government. Like the other government member, the RMI government had to pay for its share to become a member of the bank.

Mr. Aren Palik, CEO/President of PIDB, Mr. Casey Jeszenka, Director of the Pacific Islands Small Business Development Center Network (PISBDCN) and Mr. Alfred Alfred, Jr. , Secretary of RMI Finance and representing the RMI government to the PIDB of directors agreed to utilize the RMI Small Business Development Center (RMI SBDC) and its host agency, the Ministry of Resources and Development to assist start up and existing business owners to develop and complete their business proposals.

In addition to the existing funding sources that the business communities in RMI have enjoyed for some years, PIDB brings opportunities to our doors. Recently, RMI SBDC assisted a few clients to obtain business loans from the bank. These businesses are start-up and existing/expansion ventures.

Thanks to PIDB and the government of the Republic of the Marshall Islands for bringing the opportunity to our people, especially the business community. Komol tata!