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Businesses take an upturn with COVID restrictions behind us

National Entrepreneurship day logo
ASG recognizes Nov. 18 as National Entrepreneurs' Day
reporters@samoanews.com

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — As of Sept. 29 this year, 289 new businesses in American Samoa were registered out of 3,548 existing ones, according data in the National Entrepreneurship Month of November proclamation issued yesterday by acting governor, Talauega E. V. Ale, who called on the community to commemorate this month with appropriate programs and activities and to celebrate Nov. 18, 2023, as National Entrepreneurs' Day.

“American Samoa is a place of unlimited possibilities,” the proclamation states. “The willingness of entrepreneurs to take risks, work hard, and never quit to make those possibilities come alive is commendable. They turn vision into reality and ideas into products, profits, and national prosperity.”

This month of November, “we celebrate their contributions as a point of national pride and recommit to giving them the space and support to ensure American Samoa businesses continue to thrive and expand,” it says.

And during the National Entrepreneurship Month, “we celebrate the doers, dreamers, and job creators whose vision and grit fuel our economy and the essence of American Samoa.”

The proclamation notes that starting and owning a business has always been a pivotal path to the Territory — “a way to build wealth, serve your neighbors, and leave a mark on a community and the world.”

And requiring risk-taking and daring, entrepreneurs faced additional challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic crisis that it created.

During the pandemic, many local small businesses closed while others struggled to find workers and stock their shelves. However, as American Samoa has recovered, the local “community has responded with an entrepreneurial spirit, seizing the opportunity to build new businesses and launch new careers.”

To rebuild the local economy since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Business Recovery Capital Program (BRCP) — funded by the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and administered by the American Samoa Department of Commerce (ASDOC) — launched three business economic recovery programs:

• BRCP Revolving Line of Credit (LOC),

• BRCP Grant Program, and

• Cash Assistance Program (CAP) for Impacted Businesses

To date, a total of 29 borrowers have received BRCP LOC assistance worth $4.65 million; 208 small businesses have received BRCP Grant assistance worth $4.2 million, and a total of 230 have received CAP assistance worth $1.3 million, according to data in the proclamation.

And the “Administration is working across the board to help them all succeed,” the proclamation says.