President Message

Revive the Entrepreneur

Times are tough. The economy is weak, federal funding is being drastically cut, and the territory is still recovering from the tsunami and the closing of COS. People are looking for ways to make ends meet, and new forms of employment. It is not enough anymore to get a career service government job, or stay with a company for years on end. The only way this territory is going to survive this economic drought is to take charge and create something news. It is time for the entrepreneurial spirit to take hold in American Samoa.


What is an entrepreneur? The entrepreneur is someone who creates something out of nothing. They build a company that did not exist; they identify a market that has not been exhausted; and they find new and innovative ways to solve problems. The entrepreneur takes charge of the situation and becomes a leader through hard work and creativity. Most importantly, the entrepreneur does not wait to have all of this handed to them, but works on creating it themselves.


American Samoa is rife with opportunities for the entrepreneur. Tourism is a prime example. For a place as beautiful as American Samoa, there is a definite lack of tourism based businesses. It does no good to wait for the government to lay down a plan. People should be taking their ideas and turning them into actions. That is entrepreneurship.


It may seem strange that the American Samoa Bar Association is discussing business and economics, but that should not be a surprise. Every private attorney on the island is an entrepreneur. We do not have large firms with career employees, just individuals and small groups of dedicated professionals. Each one of them started their practice and built it up like any other business. Their livelihoods are directly linked to the rest of the economy, just like everyone else.


For this reason, the Bar Association’s Legal Reform Committee is working on reviewing the laws relating to business and commerce, to see if there’s a way to modify the laws in such a way as to bring business back to life in the territory. The Committee will be searching out unnecessary obstacles, difficult to understand rules, and gaps in the law, and suggest innovative legal solutions to these problems. This will not solve the problem on its own, but hopefully it will clear the way for growth. The entrepreneurial spirit is not dead in American Samoa; it just needs an opportunity to get started.


President, ASBA