By: Latdamone Photsavang
Today is fourteen days of my trip on YSEALI program, and the fourth days in Helena where is the capital of Montana. I and two fellows have been selected by Pamela Haxby-Cote, a director of Commerce Department of Montana, so this is a very good opportunity for me to work with the U.S local government additional I have a good time to stay with lovely American host family Judy Roger.
Today is 11th May 2017, I leave home early morning about 7:30 from home to go to the Commerce Department, it is a beautiful day and very good temperature, I can see large meadow field and clear big sky. Today I go to attend the conference call all morning with the committees of Commerce regarding on selecting applicant who applied grant from the Department of Commerce, in this selection they have two economic development projects, first project calls BIG SKY ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT TRUST FUND PROGRAM and second calls PRIMARY SECTOR WORKFORCE TRAINING GRANT PROGRAM, the goal of both projects are to support businesses to move forward and create job for people in Montana. As we know that Montana is rich of mining, so the money of these projects are from the coal severance tax.
On the conference call the committees give only 10 minutes for each applicant to present about their feasibility study and project plan, after the conference they conclude candidate. sure…some applicants fail and some can get grant. The thing I can learn from this conference that business plan or feasibility study are very important when we apply grant or funding from the U.S government, as I am a YSEALI participant who is eligible to apply grant, so this is very important to use in the future.
In afternoon I learn more about each projects that Department of Commerce supports grant and loan for businesses in Montana state. For loan money project they cooperated with a local organization calls Montana Business Assistance Connection (MBAC) who finds and selects the appropriate businesses to provide them the loan. A good thing that I learn from here is the U.S government tries to promote local businesses in every sectors and every sizes by supporting grant or low interest loan for them, a good point of grant is mean the business no need to return any penny back to the government.
Then we go to meet with Brian Obert, a Director of MBAC to learn more about their activities especially “Loan”, he said Department of Commerce provides loan funding to MBAC with low interest at 2% annual and MBAC forwards loan to businesses with annual interest from 4 to 7%, their responsibility is to drives businesses to move forward and helps businesses to apply the loan from them by giving assistance such as consulting, training and preparing basic documents, any way this is a very good option for businesses. Furthermore he also share challenge lesson of a new business that should be controlled their investment expense in low at the beginning as much as they can when start doing business and should take time to make relationship with people because it is very important for business too.
To conclude I would like to say thanks you o much for people who takes your time to read my blog, and thank you YSEALI program who gives me a big opportunity to my life, thank you Pam and local government of Montana for your honor and gives valuable experience, knowledge for me. I believe that everything I learn from you will be made a big impact for my life and my community in the future.
YSEALI participant from Laos