Fifteen 15 small businesses, some of which are owned by Northern Marianas College alumni, showcased their products and services last Thursday, April 21, at the newly renovated Mango Terrace in the middle of the NMC campus in As Terlaje as part of the celebration of Community College Month.
The businesses included Vivid Beauty, Maipe Pachotmu, Candle J Saipan, Bonitu Basula, Paopao, Mind2Muscle, Neni Girl Nails, Cherrymoon.co, Seasoned with Hafa Adai, Craftify670, Tyler’s Gellate Stone, Chiku Chiku, NMC’s Business Club, Saipan Snaps LLC, and Pho King A.
The event also included live music from local music group VIB3 and a special appearance from PalmTrio670.
NMC’s first Small Business Night was a collaboration between the CNMI Small Business Development Center Network and NMC. Mercilynn Palec, interim network director for the CNMI SBDC, said they came up with the event as they “wanted to highlight NMC alumni, entrepreneurs and other community small businesses.” This early, they are now looking at possibly making it a monthly event.
“We wanted to provide a platform for [people] to be able to grow their businesses and have that support from the college in the hopes that we could also encourage other students to open up their own businesses and become entrepreneurs themselves,” said Alexis C. Manglona, program manager for the Office of Student Activities and Leadership at NMC.
Ben Babauta, owner of Tyler’s Gelatte Stone said, “I am very happy to see that there are more small businesses that are doing pop ups and networking and making sales. It’s all about entrepreneurship and we encourage all the small businesses to keep on thriving and all of you who are wanting to start a new business to gain confidence and join the entrepreneurship.”
Palec said that Thursday’s turnout was “amazing. Judging from what our vendors have told us, they made a lot of money. We’re just here to pump out the resources and the education and create a platform for small businesses to succeed.”
With the inaugural event, “we really look forward to the growth of this and I feel like we’re starting there. There have been other events like this in the community. But NMC wants to make sure that we’re showing our support by also offering our version of it. And we want this to be a staple in our community and really grow the culture of small entrepreneurs, small business, on Saipan and in the CNMI,” added Palec.
Palec would also like to everyone to know that the CNMI SBDC offers free one-on-one consultations for people who are interested in opening up businesses or consultation for those who already own a small business.
“We also offer free training and resources…and we do community outreach to aid small businesses in our community,” she said.