Business

Strong Showing for Big Isle Businesses in SBA Awards

February 12, 2013, 12:22 PM HST
* Updated February 12, 4:43 PM
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Big Island Candies and other local businesses were featured prominently when the U. S. Small Business Administration recently announced the winners of the 2013 SBA Small Business Awards.

Allan Ikawa of Big Island Candies was given the Entrepreneurial Success Award for the state of Hawaii.

Ikawa was honored as an entrepreneur whose venture began as a small business and, with SBA assistance, has grown into a flourishing enterprise and is no longer considered “small.”

The Hilo-based specialty food manufacturer and retailer is known worldwide for quality, creativity and innovation showcasing the best of Hawaii.

Each year, SBA honors outstanding small business owners, entrepreneurs, and advocates who best illustrate the important contributions of small business to a vibrant local economy and thriving community.

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Winners were announced for small business person of the year for the entire state and for each county, as well as nine other business categories.

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“The SBA Small Business Awards shine a bright light on the skill, innovation and drive of small businesses in our State,” said Jane Sawyer, district director of the SBA.

“The 2013 winners clearly show tenacity, creativity, and the resourcefulness needed to overcome adversity. These business owners demonstrate the best of Hawaii and the promise for the future.”

Other Big Island SBA winners include:

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Small Business Person of the Year: County of Hawaii

The owners of Tropilicious Ice Cream were named Small Business Person of the Year in Hawaii County. Courtesy photo.

The owners of Tropilicious Ice Cream were named Small Business Person of the Year in Hawaii County. Courtesy photo.

John and Nancy Edney of Tropilicious Ice Cream and Lalamilo Farms in Waimea. Established in 1983, the company has grown ten-fold since the Edneys acquired it in 2001.

With 15 greenhouses, Lalamilo Farms provides space for farmers to grow produce and agricultural products, thus reducing our island’s dependence on imported food.

Family Owned Small Business Award: County of Hawaii

Colin Nakagawa of Seaside Restaurant who was recognized for creating jobs and increasing revenues.

View from Seaside Restaurant, Hilo. Photo courtesy of Seaside Restaurant and Aquafarm.

View from Seaside Restaurant, Hilo. Photo courtesy of Seaside Restaurant and Aquafarm.

The family-run business has been an icon in the Hilo community for the past 90 years.

Small Business Exporter Award: County of Hawaii

Greg Colden of Kona Natural Soap Company whose aromatic soaps made in Keahou reach consumers in Canada, Japan, Brazil, and Russia.

Colden was recognized for deriving a significant portion of his company’s sales from export outside the US and is supportive of other efforts to export US-made products and services.

SBA Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award: County of Hawaii

William Bierman, president of Omega Computers in Keauhou, a full service IT consulting firm.

Bierman was honored for successfully owning and operating a small business, increasing revenue, jobs, and demonstrating potential for long-term success for at least three years before reaching the age of 30 at the time of the award.

Financial Services Champion Award: County of Hawaii

Kari Waldhus received the SBA Financial Services Champion Award in Hawaii County. Courtesy photo.

Kari Waldhus received the SBA Financial Services Champion Award in Hawaii County. Courtesy photo.

Kari Waldhus, exceptional business coach, advocate and owner of the Entrepreneurs Source.

Waldhus, who is active in the Waimea community, was recognized for her commitment to increasing access to capital, reducing regulatory burdens, and helping small businesses improve their financial conditions through assistance, legislative support, and other advocacy.

Women in Business Champion: County of Hawaii

Laura Kinoshita, owner of Kinoshita Communications, won for being a hands-on innovator who uses media and advocacy to help women, business and community.

In addition to managing her own company, she was honored for her work assisting other women in their quest to own, manage, and direct their own company.

Home-Based Business Champion Award: County of Hawaii

Joan and Warren Chong, partners in Chong Enterprises, were honored for their support of the small business sector through links to legal support, effective networking, and mentoring.

The winners will be honored at the 26th annual statewide SBA Small Business Awards luncheon on Feb. 28 at the Hilton Hawaiian Village in Honolulu.

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