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8 Finalists Compete for HIplan $25K Prize

October 31, 2017, 2:24 PM HST (Updated November 2, 2017, 7:14 AM) · 0 Comments
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The judges for this semi-final HIplan round were (l to r): Hilo entrepreneur Jason Ueki; Jesse Cook, VP for Investments at the Ulupono Initiative; Mason Yoshiyama, Kona Branch Manager for First Hawaiian Bank; Mattson Davis, of Kona Brewing Co.; and Tam Vu, Dean of the UH-Hilo College of Business and Economics. The judges awarded points based on the contestants’ oral and PowerPoint presentations at the event. The finalists are the Top 8 teams who accrued the highest points. Photo Courtesy

Eight entrepreneurs will compete for $25,000 to implement their business plans on the final day of the Hawai‘i Island Business Plan Competition on Saturday, Nov. 4.

On Saturday, Oct. 21, judges selected eight finalists from 15 semi-finalists who made in-person presentations at the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawai‘i Authority.

The judges for this semi-final HIplan round were Hilo entrepreneur Jason Ueki; Jesse Cooke, VP for Investments at the Ulupono Initiative; Mason Yoshiyama, Kona branch manager for First Hawaiian Bank; Mattson Davis, of Kona Brewing Co.; and Tam Vu, Dean of the UH-Hilo College of Business and Economics.

The judges awarded points based on the contestants’ oral and PowerPoint presentations at the event. The finalists are the Top 8 teams who accrued the highest points.

The finalists, in alphabetical order, are:

  • Ai Pono Mushrooms LLC. Noa Eads proposes to grow gourmet mushrooms in Waimea for Hawai‘i Island restaurants and consumers.
  • The Alaka‘i Academy. President and School Director Pablo Peñaloza proposes to build a new facility for its child-development center in Kailua-Kona.
  • Bokoa Farms in Ninole. David Real wants to process the wood of the invasive waiawi (strawberry guava) into chips for smoking meat.
  • Cocoa Outlet & The Chocolate Guy Hawai‘i in Kealakekua. Wholesaler Farsheed Bonakdar proposes to build a warehouse and processing center for locally grown chocolate.
  • Renewable Ocean Energy Inc. in Kailua-Kona. CEO Richard Novarro and VP James Everglade propose to commercialize their hydroelectric generator that operates on shorelines.
  • Spicy Ninja Sauce LLC in Kapa‘au. Lauren McKinley and Christopher Bornstein propose to market their locally-produced line of hot sauces and condiments.
  • Sunshine Pediatric Clinic LLC, in Hilo. Shallon Craddock, MD, proposes to expand access to pediatric medical services on Hawai‘i Island.
  • The Water Machine in Kamuela. David Trujillo, VP of Business Development, proposes to market a countertop water purification system.

During the final round on Saturday, the eight entrepreneurs will make 15-minute PowerPoint presentations and will also make two-minute “elevator pitches” to the judges to attract venture capital.

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The final round of the HIplan competition is open to the public, and will be held at Hale Iako at NELHA at 9 a.m. on Nov. 4.

The $25,000 prize was donated to HIplan by a hui consisting of the Ulupono Initiative, Hawai‘i Technology Development Corporation, Hawai‘i Strategic Development Corporation, NELHA, Big Island Toyota, Reef Capital Ventures, First Hawaiian Bank and Pacific Trial Attorneys.

“Our business partners have supported HIplan from the start,” said Kelly Moran, president of Hilo Brokers and co-chair of HIplan. “We are all very encouraged by all these innovative ideas.”

This year’s HIplan competition is co-hosted by the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo and NELHA, administered by Hawai‘i Island Chamber of Commerce and is supported by the Hawai‘i Small Business Development Center Network.

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