Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann spoke yesterday at an economic development press conference.

Mayor backs free
business seminars

Government agencies are partnering to assist
companies in West Oahu and on the North Shore

Free seminars for fledgling West Oahu and North Shore businesses were announced yesterday in a new partnership between the city and the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Mayor Mufi Hannemann also announced the "Small Business Day in Kapolei" program, saying he wants his administration to be a friend to businesses and the job market.

An estimated 46 percent of the Hawaii SBA's loans go to Leeward Oahu and North Shore businesses. The agency processed a record $64 million in loans last year and expects to come close to that this year, said its district director, Andrew Poepoe.

Normally the SBA partners with the state, Poepoe said, but the mayor approached the agency and Poepoe saw no reason not to extend support.

"It's a complementary role to the state," Hannemann said.

The seminars at Kapolei Hale are filling quickly.

"It is important that Kapolei develop into a community where people can live, work and raise their families," Hannemann said. "If (residents) can start a business (in Kapolei), it gets traffic off the road."

Tomorrow's initial session is booked solid and will feature bankers discussing types of financing and services available to businesses.

Participants will learn about government contracting, establishing or cleaning up credit histories and offering required employee benefits in the next three sessions, to be held on Aug. 17 and Sept. 14.

The seminars eventually will become regular monthly events in Kapolei. "With the demand we're seeing, we're going to need more days," said Jane Sawyer, SBA lead business development specialist. The seminars so far are free, but there may be a cost in the future to pay for materials.

The types of businesses supported by the new partnership range from small telecom companies to retailers, said Jeanne Schultz, city economic development director.

The Hawaii Women's Business Center and Small Business Development Center are co-sponsoring the seminars. Reservations are required due to limited seating. For more information, call 541-2990.

U.S. Small Business Administration

City & County of Honolulu

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