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MAJURO, Marshall Islands (July 31, 2001 - Marshall Islands Journal/PINA Nius Online)---A growing network of small business development centers is expanding its work across Micronesia.

Casey Jeszenka, acting director of the Chuuk Small Business Development Center, has just been in Majuro to assist the Marshall Islands center with a workshop for people starting new businesses.

There also is a center on Yap, with one soon to open in Palau and another in Pohnpei next year.

The Marshall Islands s center is supported by the University of Guam-based Pacific Islands Small Business Development Center Network, the U.S. Small Business Administration, and the United Nations Development Program.

"We train local people so that the program is available to the private sector on an ongoing basis," Jeszenka said. It provides a range of counseling, training and workshops, help with business planning, and setting up other key aspects of business operations, including record-systems.

In other islands, the business development centers have helped people to develop credible business plans, which in turn have led to loans from banks, Jeszenka said.

The centers are linked into a huge network of small business agencies throughout the U.S. All can be tapped to provide a variety of technical assistance to local firms or people starting up a business, he said.

The Marshall Islands Journal, Box 14, Majuro, Marshall Islands 96960 E-mail: journal@ntamar.com  Subscriptions (weekly): 1 year US $87.00; international $213.00 (air mail).

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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