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Chamber postpones Award Night, schedules workshops

Faced with what appears to be a lack of interest and an unusually high level of solicitations to the private sector, the local Chamber of Commerce has postponed until sometime in August the Business Awards, which in the past has been a major event for the business community.


The Chamber, with its partner Business and Professional Women (BPW) had set Award Night for last December, but postponed it to this year, because the territory was just coming out of a general election and preparations were in full gear for the new administration, which took office in January.


This year, the Chamber announced the event was set for May 4 at Gov. Rex Lee Auditorium where awards would be presented in six categories. But last week, the Chamber send out a notice to its members saying that due to “an unusually high level of solicitations for funding support in the first quarter of this year placing a strain on many businesses, we the Chamber Board have decided to postpone Awards Night until August.”


Responding to Samoa News inquiries, Chamber chairman David Robinson said this year there also seemed to be a lack of interest in the Awards Night and in the nominations for the various categories.


Additionally, feed back from “our membership and from our partner the BPW indicated that there has been a very high level of solicitations in the first quarter of this year and businesses of all sizes are feeling the financial strain of making continuous contributions in an economic environment which is very difficult at present and is likely to remain so for the foreseeable future.”


Robinson said, “Whilst there were some companies who committed to corporate tables there were nowhere near enough to cover the cost of putting on the event and the sales of individual tickets were very low.”


“Rather than put on a less than professional show the Chamber Board decided to postpone the event, not cancel it, but postpone it until August this year when we hope to combine the event with some other activities during the month, which will support local businesses,” he said.


“The Board would like to thank all those companies who did show interest and apologize if any inconvenience has been caused by the postponement,” he said.


Meanwhile, Robinson says that in conjunction with the local Department of Commerce and the Development Bank of American Samoa “we are planning a further five events at the Lee Auditorium following on the success of our first workshop held in March to assist Small Businesses and people interested in starting up a new business.”


The events are: May the College Prep Seminar for Athletes; June will be a tourism gathering with the support of the American Samoa Visitors Bureau; July is the ‘Taste of Tutuila’ or food festival; August is the Business appreciation month — including Business Awards 2013; and September is a technology workshop.


Robinson will provide details of each event and specific date as it approaches.