UH Pacific Business Center wins $90K contract to promote economic diversity
The Procurement Office has awarded to the University of Hawai’i, Pacific Business Center Program (PBCP), the ASG “Export Development System for American Samoa” project contract in the amount of $90,000, and Chief Procurement Officer Ivy Taufa‘asau said last Thursday that the contract instrument “is being routed for signatures".
Samoa News was not immediately able to obtain information on how many proposals were received by the Procurement Office during the Request for Proposals (RFP) process.
According to the RFP, which was issued in December last year with a closing date of Jan. 11, 2012, ASG sought to contract a vendor “to promote industrial diversity in American Samoa for increased economic opportunities, growth and stability.”
Focus of the project is primarily on industries that produce export earnings through the export of products or services through tourism or various service industries, the RFP says and noted that such programs would include education, training, mentoring or consulting services in the skills of entrepreneurship.
“They would encompass a business development support system including finance, production, marketing, space, joint ventures and all services essential to increase and nurture successful business expansions and start-ups in American Samoa,” the RFP states.
ASG outlined in the RFP current economic conditions, noting that in 2009 one of two canneries - the backbone of the territory’s economy for many years - closed down. It also notes the loss of federal corporate tax credits for the canneries and federal trade agreements which compromised the territory’s duty free access advantage to the U.S.
It also notes the hike in minimum wage that went into effect in 2007. (The next wage hike has since been delayed until 2015).
The territory’s economic conditions and trends call for an altered approached to economic development and they “call for new economic development directions and, to some extent, new goals, objectives and programs,” the RFP states.
Among the goals cited in the RFP is to develop public and private sector programs to promote industrial diversity in American Samoa for increased economic opportunities, growth and stability.
Another goal in the RFP deals with “cultural aspirations”, which is to integrate American Samoa society into Western economic and political systems while at the same time preserving Samoa customs, values and language to the greatest extent possible.
“Income and Production Expansion” is another goal cited in the RFP and this one calls for the development of American Samoa into a highly productive economy that produces per capita income growth rates that begin to close the enormous gap between per capita income in the U.S. and American Samoa.
As the winner of this contract, PBCP will identify and work directly with local businesses, investors and entrepreneurs that seek to produce and export local products and services. PBCP will assist local businesses, investors and entrepreneurs in planning, organization, finance, production systems, marketing and various other skills to design and execute a business plan for an export expansion or new venue.
Additionally,it will identify and connect local businesses, investors and entrepreneurs to potential buyers, distributors and partners. “It will work with both parties in consummating all necessary arrangements for a successful business expansion or venture - marketing, logistics, payment, etc.,” according to the RFP.
Moreover, PBCP - in accordance with the RFP will:
• develop a marketing strategy including but not limited to existing resources that are available such as websites, and work closely with ASG offices in developing promotional materials and logistics;
• cooperate with the Commerce Department staff in developing a framework for regional economic development collaboration with neighboring islands.
• design and recommend a detailed program plan for export business development for American Samoa including programmatic staffing, management, budget, functions, priorities and step by step guidelines for export development partnership.
• provide analytical support for the Governor’s Economic Advisory Council.