Business Wrap: Tech Companies Can Apply for Grant Funding

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If you have a technology-based business idea or company and are in need of startup money, take note of the upcoming deadline for grants offered through Blue Startups.

In other business news around the island, North Hawaii Community Hospital brings in turnaround specialists and Carol Ignacio wins the 2012 Athena Award.

Grant Deadline Extended for Big Isle Tech Startups

Big Island entrepreneurs who have a technology business or have a software, gaming, or mobile technology idea that they want to turn into a business have until Jan. 31 to apply for a $20,000 startup grant.

Blue Startups, a venture accelerator company on Oahu, is offering the grants as part of $200,000 it received in state funding from the Hawaii Strategic Development Corp.’s Launch Akamai Venture Accelerator program.

The firm has extended the deadline from this week until Jan. 31 in order to allow companies to work on their submittals and increase awareness about the program.

Companies that receive grants from Blue Startups will also receive $100,000 for in-kind services, including web hosting, public relations, and human resources support.


Information and applications for the grant are available online at

North Hawaii Community Hospital Names Interim CEO

The North Hawaii Community Hospital board of directors announced the appointment of Lowell W. Johnson as chief executive officer.

Johnson, who has 35 years experience in turnaround initiatives at hospitals nationwide, is charged with turning around the hospital’s financial performance in the short term. He will also lay the groundwork for a national search to attract a permanent CEO.

Concurrently with Johnson’s appointment as CEO, NHCH will engage the services of the Huron Consulting Group to assist Johnson with 2013 turnaround plans.

It is the seventh time in the past eight years that Johnson and Huron have worked together to turn around a hospital.


NHCH has not achieved a positive operating margin in the past 17 years.

Ignacio wins Athena Award

Carol Ignacio, executive director of the Office for Social Ministry, received the 2012 Athena Award East Hawaii Businesswoman of the Year.

Ignacio received the award from the Hawaii Island Chamber of Commerce during a luncheon this week at the ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center.

She was honored for her contributions to helping other women realize their full leadership potential.

In addition to the award, Ignacio received a $500 “Pay It Forward” cash prize to help her support future community projects.

Hilo Store Closings


Hilo-based furniture store Machida, Inc. closed its doors this week after 16 years in business. The family-run business closed its doors on Jan. 15.

E-Claire’s Bakery on Wainuenue Avenue in Hilo also closed recently. Clare Gehweiler and her husband Tom closed the bakery effective December 31 after four years in business. Clare said she is pursuing new adventures and discontinuing cake decorating.

Nearby on Wainuenue Avenue, Village Toy Shop also closed its doors on December 31, citing a down economy. The shop had been selling children’s toys and games for seven years.


If your business has an opening, closing, promotion, retirement, new product release, special event, award, new location, or expansion, please let us know. Email us at





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