39 Hawai‘i Island Entrepreneurs Vie for $25,000

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Thirty-nine Hawai‘i Island entrepreneurs have met the Sept. 10 deadline for submitting proposals for the Hawai‘i Island Business Plan Competition (HIplan).

The winner will receive $25,000 in startup or expansion capital.

Fourteen of the plans involve agriculture. Some involved cultivating and marketing new crops, such as blue-green algae, turmeric, mamaki, oyster mushrooms and livestock feed. Others would create new products from—or new markets for—local kava (awa), waiawi (strawberry guava), coconuts, chocolate, coffee and tea. No plan proposed growing cannabis, but one offers machinery for making cannabis extracts.

Plans from three local doctors would expand their practices in pediatrics, family health and eye care, respectively. An app for helping to diagnose respiratory illnesses is also proposed, as is a dehumidifier that yields clean drinking water.

Several service providers are looking to start or expand their operations in accounting and tax preparation, rubbish-hauling, welding, recycling and plumbing. A wastewater engineer has a plan to help removing cesspools.


Some entrepreneurs are inventors. A patent-holder wants to set up his hydroelectric generator on a shoreline; another wants to help the visitor industry reduce its carbon footprint. Two building contractors propose innovative ways to make small, affordable houses.

Filling unmet needs motivated proposals for a general store, a B&B and a restaurant in three underserved neighborhoods.

A cosmetology school and a swimming club focused on competition are also proposed.

A preschool wants to expand into the elementary grades and a tour-guide wants to start leading hikes over Hawai‘i Island’s historic trails.


Judges will now evaluate these 39 plans, expecting to eliminate about half of them in the first round.

Entrepreneurs whose proposals are semi-finalists will then refine their business plans and deliver a 15-minute oral presentation to the judges in the second round.

That event—open to the public—is scheduled for Oct. 21, 2017, in Hale Iako at the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority (NELHA) in Kona.

The judges will then winnow the remaining competitors down to about a dozen or less.


Finalists will tweak those plans further, make another presentation and a two-minute “elevator pitch” at the final event—also open to the public—on Nov. 4 at NELHA.

The winner will receive $25,000, which has been donated to HIplan by a hui consisting of the Ulupono Initiative, the Hawaii Technology Development Corporation, the Hawaii Small Business Development Center Network, NELHA, Big Island Toyota, Reef Capital Ventures and Pacific Trial Attorneys.

For further information, go online or email HIplan co-chairman Jim Wyban at [email protected].


$25,000 HIplan Business Plan Competition Deadline Sept. 10

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