Vice Speaker Tina Rose Muña Barnes delivered the keynote address for the Startup Weekend Micronesia event and called for the establishment of an entrepreneurship incubator program.
Startup Weekend Micronesia brought students from eight islands across the Blue Continent: Guam, Saipan, Tinian, Rota, Palau, Pohnpei, Kosrae, and Yap. Young adults with the dream of starting their own business had the opportunity to learn firsthand how to make their ideas a reality.
Hosted by volunteers of the University of Guam’s Entrepreneur Society, as well as the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and the Pacific Islands Small Business Development Center within UOG’s School of Business and Public Administration, this entrepreneurial event is associated with Google Techstars Startup Weekend, a program that teaches people how to create a real company that has been launched in over 150 countries across the world.
In her address, Muña Barnes noted that “From my decades in Public Service, I have learned that when we come together, we are stronger. As you look at creating business ideas, I would like to challenge each and every one of you, to focus your attention on this Blue Continent. There is a lot that we can do to empower our respective economies.”
The Vice Speaker also committed to the participants that in her request for priorities for the American Rescue Plan, she had requested that as an economic recovery initiative, she will advocate for an entrepreneurship incubator program.
“To take it one step further, to demonstrate my commitment to each and every one of you, because I believe all of you have great ideas and that it is my job to help make it a reality, part of my request from the $600 million of the American Rescue Plan that Guam received for economic recovery, I had included a proposal to create an incubator, if you will, so that all of you can have a place to work, and the resources you need to make your ideas a reality,” the Vice Speaker said.
She added: “I did some research and found that states around the country, as well as leading nations around the world, have similar initiatives, where the government provides a state-of-the-art facility for you to come in, work on your business ideas, and we have government representatives present, to help facilitate the permitting and regulatory processes. This would cut your overhead costs associated with starting up a business, and allow you to focus on your business plan and production.”