Marianas Variety

Last updateFri, 22 Nov 2019 12am







    Thursday, November 21, 2019-4:41:14A.M.






Font Size


Latte Training Academy revamps Entrepreneur Training program

(Press Release) — The Latte Training Academy Inc. has been working alongside the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Rural Development to revamp its Entrepreneur Training or ET program for the CNMI.

As early as 2018, LTA launched its ET program funded through a Rural Business Development Grant from USDA to help aspiring entrepreneurs gain foundational knowledge and technical assistance before entering the marketplace.

“We launched the program in hopes of providing training and technical assistance to CNMI residents aspiring to start their own businesses,” said LTA board president Juan-Carlos Benitez. “At the onset, we published a training schedule, however attendance was not what we hoped for. Another challenge we faced was ensuring that we included the material to our residents in Tinian and Rota, so we began our discussion with USDA to ensure that we revamped our approach to ensure that we could impact as many people as possible. In our discussions with USDA, we opted to leverage technology as a way to deliver material, document the comprehension of participants and provide the services on a time frame that works for the entrepreneur.”

The revamped program launched on May 15, 2019 and was initially announced to participants who previously registered for the program. The new format allows participants to register online at, receive an access key to the online trainings and perform a knowledge check to ensure that the participants fully understand the material presented. As participants access the training materials online, they can progress through the training series at their own pace. It also opens the training materials to residents on Tinian and Rota who were previously unable to avail themselves of the program due to the previous trainings being conducted on Saipan. The program intends to aid new business ventures who progress through the trainings with launching their online presence once they have entered into the marketplace.

“Entrepreneurship is a cornerstone of rural prosperity, and this program helps provide important resources many start-up businesses wouldn’t otherwise have access to,” said Gigi Jones, USDA Rural Development state director for Hawaii, American Samoa, and the Western Pacific. “Expanding access to these services for our most remote communities will help ensure they have the tools they need to grow and thrive, regardless of their location.”

USDA Rural Development’s RBDG program funds are available to public bodies, non-profit organizations and federally recognized tribal groups to finance and facilitate a wide variety of economic development projects that serve rural areas. Examples include marketing and feasibility studies and business plans, purchasing equipment for small and emerging businesses, creating a revolving loan fund, and supporting rural distance learning programs for educational or job-training.

To learn more about the ET program, visit or call 588-4LTA (4582).