Close this search box.

The CNMI Small Business Development Center Network delivers professional, high quality, individualized business advising and technical assistance to existing small businesses and pre-venture entrepreneurs.

Kaneshi-Palec named 2023 SBDC State Star Recipient

Mercilynn Kaneshi-Palec, Associate Network Director for the CNMI Small Business Development Center at the Northern Marianas College, was recently named a 2023 “State Star” for her outstanding contributions to the local CNMI SBDC Network.

The 2023 State Stars, who were chosen by their SBDC networks, are among the best of the best — those who demonstrate exemplary performance, make significant contributions to their networks, and are deeply committed to the success of America’s small businesses.

“I extend my heartfelt congratulations to Mercilynn for being named one of the 2023 SBDC State Star Recipients,” CNMI SBDC Network Director Nadine Deleon Guerrero said. “Her exceptional dedication and tireless efforts as the Associate Network Director for Northern Marianas College’s Small Business Development Center have not only earned her this well-deserved recognition but have also greatly contributed to the success of our local CNMI SBDC Network.”

Palec has channeled her entrepreneurial abilities as a private business owner for 10-plus years to become an integral part of CNMI SBDCN’s preliminary phase. Her impeccable networking skills and drive have catapulted the program to exceed forecast expectations and create a prominent economic development presence in our community.

Palec’s journey with SBDC started in 2017 as a client of the CNMI SBDC service center. While working as the Administrator/Coordinator of the Saipan Chamber of Commerce, Palec worked closely with then-service center Director, Nicole Babauta, bringing Small Business Saturday and other important programs to the CNMI.

In 2021, Palec joined the SBDC team as the Administrative Office Manager. In 2022, the Northern Marianas College made history, establishing the CNMI SBDC Network. Palec was appointed Interim Network Director overseeing the opening of the two service centers in Rota and Tinian. In her current capacity as the Associate Network Director, Palec conducts the Lead Center’s business advising, client and personnel training, events management, and manages and oversees the day-to-day operations of the CNMI’s network.

“I thank the CNMI SBDC Network Team for this recognition. I would be remiss not to mention the NMC leadership team who worked tirelessly on the initial grant proposal to bring the Network to the CNMI. At SBDC, we have an incredible team of well-rounded professionals who make all the work we do possible”, Palec stated.

Palec earned her Associate Degree in Liberal Arts with an emphasis in education and Bachelor’s of Science with an emphasis in Elementary Education at the Northern Marianas College. She went on to earn her Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Guam. Palec is a local artist under the Department of Community and Culture Affairs, the Chairwoman for the NMI Girl Scouts, and a member of the Saipan Chamber of Commerce Education and Workforce Committee.

The CNMI SBDC Network promotes a business-friendly economic infrastructure in the community, builds entrepreneurial capacity and financial literacy within that community, and provides current and nascent small businesses with the technical assistance, counseling, training, and support they need to innovate, adapt, and grow.

The CNMI Small Business Development Center Network (CNMI SBDC) Network comprises the CNMI SBDC lead center located in Saipan, the Rota SBDC, and Tinian SBDC. CNMI SBDC Network is partially funded by a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Northern Marianas College. All opinions, conclusions, or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA. Requests for reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities will be made if requested at least two weeks in advance. Language assistance services are available for limited English proficient individuals with at least two weeks advance notice. For arrangements, please contact your local SBDC at P.O.Box 501250 Saipan, MP 96950, Tel: (670) 237-6888, or email Services are extended to the public on a non-disciplinary basis.


CNMI SBDC Newsletter Sign-up


Next Steps: Sync an Email Add-On

To get the most out of your form, we suggest that you sync this form with an email add-on. To learn more about your email add-on options, visit the following page ( Important: Delete this tip before you publish the form.