Sunshine Pediatric Clinic Wins $25,000 in HIplan Competition

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Sunshine Pediatric Clinic in Hilo has won $25,000 for its business plan in the 2017 Hawai‘i Island Business Plan Competition (HIplan).

The prize was awarded on Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017, at the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority (NELHA).

Pediatrician Shallon Craddock, MD, told the judges that her Sunshine Pediatric Clinic currently serves 800 patients, but with the $25,000 prize, she could expand access to pediatric medical services.

“East Hawai‘i is where the greatest need is,” she said.

The clinic’s CEO Daniel Craddock said the prize money would improve the clinic’s quality of care by enabling Dr. Craddock and her colleagues to acquire additional diagnostic and emergency-care equipment.


Seven other entrepreneurs also competed in this year’s HIplan competition. Although there were no other cash prizes, Pacific Media Group (PMG) donated $5,000 worth of radio advertising to Alaka‘i Academy in Kailua-Kona to help promote its child development center.

Kyle Datta, general partner of the investment firm Ulupono Initiative, offered to meet with the four finalists who have agricultural enterprises—Ai Pono Mushrooms LLC, Bokoa Farms, Cocoa Outlet & The Chocolate Guy Hawaii and Spicy Ninja Sauce LLC—to help them find local venture capital.

Earlier this week, two undergraduates who’d submitted business plans were awarded one-year tuition scholarships at UH-Hilo and Hawaii Community College, respectively.

All combined, HIplan distributed $42,000 worth of prizes this year.

The Finalists’ Business Plans
For this final round of the competition, all eight contestants gave 15-minute oral presentations of their business plans with PowerPoint slides and made two-minute “elevator pitches” to the judges, much as Silicon Valley entrepreneurs typically do, to attract venture capital.


In alphabetical order, the other seven contestants were:

Ai Pono Mushrooms LLC Noa Eads proposed to grow gourmet mushrooms in Waimea for Hawaii Island restaurants and consumers. A recent UH-Hilo graduate, Eads is an enthusiast for mushrooms, not only as food but for other uses such as filtering out harmful contaminants from the soil. “Our focus is on growing mainly the edible ‘oyster’ mushroom,” he said. “We plan to sell one-third of what we grow at retail, and two-thirds at wholesale. Our competition comes from one local producer and, of course, from mushrooms imported to Hawaii from the Mainland and elsewhere.”

The Alaka’i Academy President and School Director Pablo Peñaloza proposed to build a new facility for its child development center in Kailua-Kona, that would double attendance from the current 70 to about 150. A health-scare gave him the incentive to move his family to Hawaii and focus on his children—but he started Alaka‘i Academy when he found that many local parents were concerned about a lack of pre-school educational opportunities here. “Our tuition costs about the same as Montessori schools, but we offer convenient hours, meals, and even potty-training. And before they go to kindergarten, most of our children leave being able to read at a first-grade level.”

Bokoa Farms in Ninole David Real wants to process the wood of the invasive waiawi (strawberry guava) into chips for smoking meat. “We began,” he said, “by a need to do restorative forestry on our land, improving what has already been damaged. That meant removing waiawi, and freeing up low-elevation koa that the waiawi competes with.” He cited research showing that wood chips for grills and smokers are a large share of the barbecue market. “We will go for the high end of the market,” he said, “promoting our product as 100% from Hawaiian trees, chipped and kiln-dried. Competition is from kiawe chips, and high-priced guava chunks (not chips). This is a combination of commerce and environmentalism. It’s rare to be able to turn a pest into a product!”

Cocoa Outlet & The Chocolate Guy Hawaii in Kealakekua Wholesaler Farsheed Bonakdar proposed to build a warehouse and processing center for locally grown chocolate. He has been in the chocolate business here since 2000; and in 2016, his sales topped $16 million. “We helped to organize the Kona Cacao Festival and Big Island Chocolate Festival,” he said. “Hawaii is the only U.S. state capable of growing cacao, and we have strict agricultural pest-protection laws; so we are in a good position to enter the global market.” He proposed to build a 6,000 square-foot indoor fermentation and production facility on four acres on Mamalahoa Highway, with a storefront open to visitors.


Renewable Ocean Energy Inc. in Kailua-Kona CEO Richard Navarro proposed to commercialize Poseidon: a hydroelectric generator. “Hydroelectric generation is the least expensive way to make electricity. His company’s technology, called a Hydro Dynamic Turbine, can generate electricity without a dam, so it can be installed in places where it was not possible before. “We expect this electricity will cost two cents per kilowatt-hour,” he said, “which would be competitive with conventional hydro. A two-kilowatt field prototype has been completed. We plan next to make a one-megawatt demonstration Poseidon unit, capable of selling power to HELCO. And within five years, we want to make a 100-megawatt plant for HECO on O‘ahu.”

Spicy Ninja Sauce LLC in Kapa‘au Co-founders Lauren McKinley and Christopher Bornstein proposed to expand the market for their locally-produced line of 30 hot sauces and spicy condiments, which they sell both at wholesale and retail. “We started at the Hawi Farmers’ Market in 2015,” said Bornstein, “and we see our company as part of the ‘farm-to-table’ movement.” He also noted a general increase in demand, nationwide, citing research that hot sauces now outsell many more familiar condiments. “We are targeting young people who are interested in new foods, and people who have immigrated from Latin-America and Asia, for whom spices are vital to their food cultures.”

The Water Machine in Kamuela CEO Cody Soodeen, and David Trujillo, VP of Business Development, proposed to market an “Atmospheric Water Generator” that produces—as their slogan puts it—“clean water from thin air.” That is: air, which contains water vapor, is passed over a desiccant that removes the water and makes it condense; The Water Machine then distills that water to purify it for drinking. Trujillo noted that this system would compete with water-making technologies that use “cooling coils” and refrigerant gases, like those in air-conditioners; The Water Machine would use no refrigerant gases, and would consume less than half the electricity.

How the Competition Was Judged

Judging this final round of the 2017 HIplan competition were: Jane Sawyer, regional director of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA); Kyle Datta, general partner of Ulupono Initiative, an impact and incubation investment fund; Howard Dicus, business reporter for KHNL, the NBC television affiliate in Honolulu; Ken Kendt, an entrepreneur and founder of Signworld; and Robbie Melton, CEO of the Hawaii Technology Development Corporation (HTDC).

The judges gave point-scores to each finalist’s presentations.

Local CPA Brian Iwata tabulated the judges’ scores and reported the results. The winner of the $25,000 prize was the entrepreneur with the highest combined score of points.

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

This year’s HIplan competition was co-hosted by the University of Hawaii at Hilo and NELHA. It was administered by Hawai‘i Island Chamber of Commerce and supported by the Hawaii Small Business Development Center Network. Pacific Media Group (PMG), a multi-platform marketing group that includes, was this year’s HIplan media sponsor.

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

“We couldn’t do this project without our sponsors and partners,” added Jim Wyban, HIplan co-chair. “We also want to thank our judges who evaluated and considered every plan and presentation and provided meaningful comments to each and every plan.”

For more information, contact HIplan co-chair Jim Wyban at [email protected].

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