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Small Business Week Introduces Many Upstarters to Networking Options


L-R: LaToya Rourke, Janine Rourke (By the River Lodge), Coo McComber, Doogie Dave (Bull & Arrow Catering), Vanessa Myra David (Native Arts & Crafts), Yvette White (Artist), and Krystal Hallman (Eagle Wear) all attending the first day of Small Business Week.

The first week of May was Small Business week, dedicated to promoting and networking many upstart and current small businesses. All week the Economic Development Department held various open houses to introduce different services that could be offered to local businesses. All these services are open to anyone who has always wanted to open their own business.

On Monday, April 30th, the Akwesasne Small Business Incubator Office held their open house. LaToya Rourke, Manager of the Incubator Office, was there to explain the process for the business Incubation as well as how the Incubation process works, " [Akwesasne Small Business Incubation] is a hub of resources for small businesses," said Rouke, in reference to trainings, classes, counseling and business planning, all offered by the Incubator Office. She said that her office, along with the rest of Economic Development, is there to help and can be utilized in assisting startups and even current businesses in support, training, and assistance.

On Tuesday, May 1st, the Akwesasne Revolving Loan Fund held the next open house. This program promotes economic self-sufficiency through training, technical assistance and financing. The open house went into more detail such as who is eligible for the program, how much can be loaned out, and what the interest rate would be as well as how to account for it.

Wednesday, May 2nd, was a live stream event presented by Google. During this stream, a representative from Google presented reasons why to use the search engine to better promote a local business. One presenter talked about the importance of putting everything on the Google Listing, such as hours of operation, description of the business, and pictures to draw more customers in. The live stream also talked about different ways that a local business could increase traffic and better promote their work.

Thursday, May 3rd, was an event put on by the Economic Development Department in collaboration with the SUNY Canton Small Business Development Center. Michelle Collins came into the office to offer advice to anyone who walked into the room. She had time to talk about what she does and what she can offer to the community. Once a week she comes to Akwesasne Economic Development Office to give advice on the best way to handle a business plan as well as who she helps. "Our goal is three things, help start-up businesses make a plan and get started, to work with existing business and to get people the training they need," Collins said.

Leona Francis, Program Support Officer, with their poster for the event.

Friday, May 4th, the Cultural Tourism open house was held to inform the community of the benefits of tourism. "[Cultural Tourism] is going to create jobs, share stories, and create more opportunities," said Penny Peters, Manager of the Office of Economic Development. The Cultural Tourism program is only 3 years old but they have worked to help promote cultural awareness within the community and promote local artists and business owners. With the coming year, they hope to achieve more cultural restoration that will help many businesses that revolve around cultural awareness.

This whole week was dedicated to promoting different services that can help anyone who wishes to start up their own business and needs help. Not only for those who wish to start a business, but also those who already run a local shop. All the resources are available at the Economic Department office in the Business Center.


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