As part of its continuing efforts to expand entrepreneurial capacity in the CNMI, the CNMI Small Business Development Center Network at the Northern Marianas College has provided one-on-one consulting, training, and information resources to over 500 clients looking to initiate a business venture or enhance their existing endeavors.
“We are committed to cultivate the success of our local business community through tailored guidance and unwavering support,” CNMI SBDC Network Director Nadine Deleon Guerrero said. “The CNMI SBDC continues to strive to be the driving force behind every success story in the local business landscape.”
Derek Cutting, the owner of Latte Built - 24hr Fitness & Nutrition, said the CNMI SBDC was a huge help during the pandemic.
“CNMI SBDC was a huge asset in helping us make up for the economic disaster that we encountered from the COVID-19 pandemic,” Cutting said. “They were able to explain to us the Protection Paycheck Program from the U.S. Small Business Administration, that helped us retain our employees during the pandemic. Since then, CNMI SBDC has helped us bridge the gap with SBA to qualify for additional loans.”
SBDC has been a part of the CNMI for more than a decade, however, the SBDC gained independent network status in 2022 and is now hosted by Northern Marianas College. The CNMI SBDC has hosted 23 training events with various community partners to include Guam Procurement Technical Assistance Center, USDA Food Service Agency, CNMI Women’s Association, Bank of Guam, and the CNMI Chapter of the Society of Human Resource Management. More than 250 individuals have attended these free sessions.
As part of the CNMI SBDC Network’s services, counselors provided advice to several clients which led to successful attainment of capital to start or expand their business operations in the amount of $1.2 million dollars.
The Network’s signature events include the Friends of Business Summit and SEED to Sail event. To increase presence in the community, the Network hosted several Small Business Nights to highlight local artists and small businesses. Earlier this year, the SBDC on Rota hosted its first Small Business Night in February followed by the first Tinian Small Business Night in March.
The CNMI SBDC Network is the latest addition to the national organization, America's SBDC Network. While numerous SBDCs across the nation provide comparable services, the CNMI SBDC Network distinguishes itself by offering all of its services at no cost. This approach aligns with the unwavering commitment to fulfill the network’s mission and cater comprehensively to the needs of clients.
Hosted by leading universities, colleges, state economic development agencies, and private partners, nearly 1,000 local centers provide management and technical assistance to help Americans start, run, and grow their own businesses. SBDCs are funded in part by Congress through a partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration.
The CNMI SBDC Network promotes a business-friendly economic infrastructure in the community, builds entrepreneurial capacity and financial literacy within that community, and provides current and nascent small businesses with the technical assistance, counseling, training, and support they need to innovate, adapt, and grow.
CNMI SBDC Marketing Manager and Outreach Specialist Roman Tudela speaks with Latte Built staff member Ralph Villas.