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3 Big Island Companies Complete Mana Up Program

August 14, 2018, 8:26 AM HST (Updated August 14, 2018, 8:26 AM)
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Three Hawai‘i Island companies—Big Island Coffee Roasters, Little Hands Hawaii and Mana Artisan Botanics—along with seven other business across the Hawaiian Islands, were selected for Mana Up’s first cohort.

Mana Up is an initiative to build Hawai‘i’s next 100 product companies earning $1 million or more in annual revenue. Mana Up offers a 12-week accelerator program offered biannually to enable Hawai’i product entrepreneurs to scale their businesses.

PC: Big Island Coffee Roasters

Big Island Coffee Roasters, founded by Kelleigh Stewart and Brandon von Damitz, is an award-winning Hawai‘i coffee farm, mill and roaster, with premium coffee products from Puna, Kona, Ka‘ū, Hāmākua, Maui and O‘ahu. Big Island Coffee Roasters features the Taste of Hawaii coffee club and the Espresso Bites bar made from 100% Hawaiian coffees and no chocolate.

PC: Little Hands Hawaii

Little Hands Hawaii, founded by Rosalyn Ardoin and Mike Koenigs, sells Hawai‘i’s original, reef-friendly baby-safe sun protection made with the highest quality ingredients. Little Hands spreads awareness on preserving coral reefs and provides the safest sunscreen for the entire ‘ohana.

PC: Mana Artisan Botanics

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Mana Artisan Botanics, founded by Steve Sakala, Melinda Goossen, Pelin Thorogood, Andy Noorda and Shimyrre Britt, is Hawai‘i’s first wellness-driven hemp company. The company handcrafts phytocannabinoid-rich products for endocannabinoid system (ECS) support. Based on the Big Island, the company offers artisanal, whole-plant hemp extracts infused with pure Hawaiian botanicals designed for health and wellness.

Cohort one started in January 2018 and participated in the 12-week accelerator program which focuses on helping companies scale their product businesses by finding opportunities for growth and tackling production challenges that typically come with fast-growing revenue such as sourcing, manufacturing and shipping. The program culminates in a showcase, which drew more than 600 attendees and generated $7,500 in sales.

The companies, selected from an applicant pool of 73, are all already selling market-tested, value-added products authentically representing Hawai‘i’s brand.

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Mana Up’s first cohort, 10 agriculturally entwined startups in the consumer packaged goods industry, expect to earn $10,987,569 in 2018 in annual revenue compared to $6,582,717 in 2017, representing year-over-year growth of 67%.

Comparing actual first quarter revenue, companies grew 61% in Q1 2018 vs. Q1 2017. Collectively, cohort one companies exported $106,000 in Q1 2018 and expect to grow to $575,000.

All the companies, representing 105 jobs currently, are hiring and expect to increase jobs to 130 in 2018. Twenty-one of the current positions are executive and management level. Creating a model to support Hawai‘i’s diversified agriculture industry, each of the companies source at least one ingredient for their value-added products from Hawaii’s farms. All are growing their e-commerce sales.

“These results are very promising and support our belief that product businesses that elevate Hawai‘i’s brand, have their headquarters here and are suitable for export have a great chance of success and can be strong contributors to Hawai‘i’s economy,” said Meli James, Mana Up co-founder with Brittany Heyd.

“We are equally excited about our next cohort,” added James.

Other Hawai‘i Companies

Bradley & Lily founded by Stacey Nomura
A Hawai‘i lifestyle brand with a focus on stationery products, Bradley & Lily paper goods are created to connect people through expressions of love, joy and compassion and are printed in Honolulu on domestically milled or recycled paper.

Hanalei Company founded by Vira Sananikone and Alice Kim
Gentle skincare products, inspired by Hawai‘i’s lush, tropical landscape and native botanicals, are made with ingredients such as pressed kukui nut oil, aloe, papaya, lavender and raw cane sugar. The unique formulations are made for everyday use and for any skin type.

Lahaʻole Designs founded by Tanya Uyehara
Created in 2013 in a little grass shack in Wahiawā, Oʻahu, Laha’ole creates classically handmade laha’ole (uncommon) jewelry and clothing that share stories of Hawaiian culture and things fond to Hawai’i Nei.

Maui Nui Venison founded by Kimo Tuyay, Min Tuyay and Jacob Muise
USDA wild harvested meats from Hawai‘i. By working with suppliers who strive to humanely manage wild and invasive venison and other animals, Maui Nui Venison offers jerkies and fresh meat that contribute to the sustainability of wild food systems in Hawai‘i.

Nick Kuchar founded by Nick Kuchar
An artist who creates prints inspired by the early days of surfing and beach culture, including a vintage color palette, typography and associated nostalgia. He has collaborated with companies such as Patagonia, Olukai and The Molokai to Oahu Paddleboard Race.

PōMahina founded by Kanoelani Davis
A contemporary wearable art and fashion company imbued with culture, tradition and aloha based on Moloka‘i.

lei palm founded by Frank Luhan and Cindy Eastman
A tropically inspired collection of clothing, accessories and gifts curated in Hawai’i that collaborates with local artists to expand their global reach through exclusive fashion pieces and collectibles.

The Spice Rack founded by Adam Tabura
A range of Hawai‘i-inspired spice and salt blends perfect for bringing out delicious flavors in meats, side dishes, cocktails and more.

More About Mana Up

Mana Up’s title partner is Kamehameha Schools, its exclusive airline partner is Hawaiian Airlines, joined by partners Ulupono Initiative, American Savings Bank, Castle & Cooke/Dole Plantation, Pineapple Tweed PR & Marketing, Hawaii Technology Development Corporation (HTDC) and INNOVATE Hawaii. For more information, visit manauphawaii.com.

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