BY MORGAN LEGEL
The Guam Women’s Chamber of Commerce is taking its final steps in the launch of an exclusive Women’s Business Center on Guam. The center’s location, in Ada’s Plaza in Hagåtña, has been finalized and the center should be open in the coming months, barring and shipping and construction issues, according to Holly Rustick, GWCC president and head of the WBC committee.
Ada’s Plaza hosts the GWCC headquarters as well.
The business center space will be approximately 1,200 square feet, and M80 Systems is helping to transform the space into GWCC’s vision. It will mostly be utilized as a multi-purpose training room for the GWCC, and it can be rented out to the public as well. Also within the business center will be a private office for the executive director of the GWCC, Eileen Agahan Igcasenza, and a space to meet one-on-one or function as a second office.
“What we have seen is a gap in the market — there are not a lot of multi-purpose training rooms that can fit between 20 and 30 people and be rented out,” Rustick said. “We’re finding a niche in the market, so people don’t have to get a small room in a coffee shop, which only seats eight to 10, or go to a hotel, which is very expensive.”
Rustick said the use of the space may be adjusted and re-evaluated in the future to feature a larger co-working space. Originally, Agahan told the Journal in September 2018 the space was meant for “basic office equipment that everyone can share — can reserve the space.” (See “And so it begins: Chamber to launch Women’s Business Center” in the Sep. 17, 2018 issue of the Journal.)
The GWCC has applied for a Guam Economic Development Authority grant to help with the costs of the new center, but no monetary value has been linked to the grant as of yet, according to Rustick.
“We are keeping expenses streamlined because we have a certain amount to spend, approved by the board, but we’re also utilizing our sponsors as much as we can,” said Rustick.
With the help of its sponsors, the GWCC has acquired the majority of the money to start the center, but it is not a self-sustaining business yet.
Sponsors and donations include Ada’s Trust & Investment Inc., which is providing the space for the center; Jones & Guerrero Townhouse Furniture, which donated $3,000 in furniture, mainly tables and chairs; GTA Teleguam, which donated three full computers, along with internet and phone at no cost; and Xerox, which is offering a printer on loan for the center. Other sponsors include Coast360 Federal Credit Union and the Bank of Guam; as well as a possible internship partnership with the University of Guam.
The GWCC also recently held its 2020 Fanachu Famalao’an Women Rising leadership summit on March 5 at the Dusit Thani Guam Resort. All proceeds from this event will also go towards completing and running the GWC.
“ATI’s real estate business caters primarily to local businesses, many of them small businesses providing services and products to the community,” said Pedro “Sonny” Ada, president of Ada’s Trust and Investment Inc. “The appeal to sponsor the WBC is that it serves as an incubator for new, women-owned businesses. Those who are successful and ready to grow their business will need space and we hope we will be able to serve their space needs. Hopefully, ATI will one day build the GWCC their own building as we have done for the Guam Chamber of Commerce which has been a tenant for over 40 years.”
The center is already being put to use, according to Rustick. The GWCC has held mixers, networking events and workshops in the space already.
“The Women’s Business Center has been an idea that even our founders had,” said Rustick. “We really are following out our origins as far as getting this vision launched.” mbj