Community Teamwork Hires Local Business Owner

PRIME funds will be used to hire local consultants who will provide critical support to businesses negatively impacted by COVID-19.

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Ani Vong

By AMY SOKOLOW | asokolow@lowellsun.com |

PUBLISHED: February 9, 2021 at 1:58 p.m. | UPDATED: February 9, 2021 at 4:54 p.m.

LOWELL — The Entrepreneurship Center at Community Teamwork, a Lowell-based group that teaches entrepreneurship and financial skills to local business owners, has hired Ani Vong, owner of Humanity Boutique in Lowell.

Vong, a Khmer American woman, who will help manage $650,000 in funding as the specialized technical assistance team’s (STAT) program coordinator.

“The Entrepreneurship Center @CTI, with its mission and all that it’s accomplished in support of small businesses and the local economy, is an organization I see myself growing with, and with my experience I can help further their mission,” Vong said. “I am passionate about supporting others on their entrepreneurial journey.”

“One of the greatest gifts the ownership of Humanity afforded Ani is a central place in the community – as a business owner, a Khmer woman, and a supporter of entrepreneurs and businesses,” said Franky Descoteaux, director of the Entrepreneurship Center. “She is well-connected within the business community as well as the nonprofit community in Lowell and surrounding areas. Ani’s ability to wear many hats as a business owner, along with the demands of her nonprofit volunteer work, has forged her into a sensible, entrepreneurial spirit. It’s this spirit, we believe, that will be of great benefit to the Entrepreneurship Center at Community Teamwork.”

The funding Vong will manage comes from a variety of sources, including a highly competitive Small Business Administration (SBA) PRIME grant.

The Entrepreneurship Center was one of 27 awardees, and two in Mass., out of 200 national applicants. In partnership with Lowell’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) COVID emergency funds, PRIME funds will be used to hire local consultants who will provide critical support to businesses negatively impacted by COVID-19.

Vong has steered her boutique, opened in 2014, through slow economic times before, including the pandemic. In the last year, she has transformed her business into an e-commerce presence and pop-up shop.

As the STAT Program Coordinator at the Entrepreneurship Center, Vong will provide culturally and language competent consulting to underserved restaurants and retailers across Lowell, focusing in Cambodia Town, The Acre, Downtown, and Back Central.

The Entrepreneurship Center at Community Teamwork will work with local partners to identify consultants, including the Cambodian Mutual Assistance Association (CMAA), Coalition for a Better Acre (CBA), Working Cities Challenge, African Community Center of Lowell (ACCL), Portuguese American Center, the LatinX Community Center for Empowerment and others.

The goal of the STAT team is to work with the business owner to resolve current business challenges and to help them achieve future business goals. Consultants will work collaboratively with business owners, completing necessary tasks, training new critical skills, setting up systems for long-term success, and amplifying local business awareness through coordinated marketing.

 

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Community Teamwork Hires Local Business Owner, Ani Vong

By Amy Sokolow asokolow@ lowellsun. com Lowell »

The Entrepreneurship Center at Community Teamwork Inc., a Lowell- based group that teaches entrepreneurship and financial skills to local business owners, has hired Ani Vong, owner of Humanity Boutique in Lowell.

Vong, a Khmer American woman, will help manage $ 650,000 in funding as the specialized technical assistance team’s (STAT) program coordinator. “The Entrepreneurship Center @ CTI, with its mission and all that it’s accomplished in support of small businesses and the local economy, is an organization I see myself growing with, and with my experience I can help further their mission,” Vong said. “I am passionate about supporting others on their entrepreneurial journey.”

“One of the greatest gifts the ownership of Humanity afforded Ani is a central place in the community — as a business owner, a Khmer woman, and a supporter of entrepreneurs and businesses,” said Franky Descoteaux, Director of the Entrepreneurship Center. “She is well- connected within the business community as well as the nonprofit community in Lowell and surrounding areas. Ani’s ability to wear many hats as a business owner, along with the demands of her nonprofit volunteer work, has forged her into a sensible, entrepreneurial spirit. It’s this spirit, we believe, that will be of great benefit to the Entrepreneurship Center at Community Teamwork.”

The funding Vong will manage comes from a variety of sources, including a highly competitive Small Business Administration (SBA) PRIME grant.

ani Vong joins CTI from Humanity boutique. Courtesy Community Teamwork Inc.

The Entrepreneurship Center was one of 27 awardees, and two in Massachusetts, out of 200 national applicants. In partnership with Lowell’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) COVID emergency funds, PRIME funds will be used to hire local consultants who will provide critical support to businesses negatively impacted by COVID-19.

Vong has steered her boutique, opened in 2014, through slow economic times before, including the pandemic. In the last year, she has transformed her business into an e- commerce presence and a pop- up type shop.

As the STAT Program Coordinator at the Entrepreneurship Center, Vong will provide culturally and language competent consulting to underserved restaurants and retailers across Lowell, focusing in Cambodia Town, The Acre, Downtown and Back Central. The Entrepreneurship Center at Community Teamwork will work with local partners to identify consultants, including the Cambodian Mutual Assistance Association (CMAA), Coalition for a Better Acre (CBA), Working Cities Challenge, African Community Center of Lowell (ACCL), Portuguese American Center, the LatinX Community Center for Empowerment and others. The goal of the STAT team is to work with the business owner to resolve current business challenges and to help them achieve future business goals.

Consultants will work collaboratively with business owners, completing necessary tasks, training new critical skills, setting up systems for long- term success, and amplifying local business awareness through coordinated marketing.