HIplan Convenes Round 2 at UH Hilo

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During the recent semi finals of HIplan’s Business Plan Competition, 15 Hawai‘i Island entrepreneurs made their pitch as to why their business deserved to win the $25,000 grand prize.

There was palpable feeling of excitement in the air on Saturday, Oct. 6, as 15 local entrepreneurs advanced to Round 2 (semi finals) of HIplan’s 2018 Hawai‘i Island Business Plan Competition. Each company had 12 minutes to make their visual PowerPoint presentation to a panel of judges showcasing why their business was deserving of the $25,000 grand prize for best business plan.

Based on the judges’ scores, eight entries have advanced to HIplan’s final round on October 27, at which time one local company will be named the 2018 winner. In addition to the $25,000 grand prize, another deserving business will receive $5,000 in free advertising from Pacific Media Group. The competition also awards one year of free tuition to the highest scoring plans from registered undergraduates at both University of Hawai‘i at Hilo and Hawai‘i Community College.

HIplan’s competition, now in its third year, was created to help stimulate and promote entrepreneurship on Hawai‘i Island. The competition encourages contestants to develop and/or polish their business plans with the goal of launching new businesses on Hawai‘i Island. HIplan, an educational non-profit, is sponsored by University of Hawai‘i at Hilo, Hawai‘i Island Chamber of Commerce, Pacific Media Group, Hawai‘i Technology Development Center, Ulupono Initiative, Hawai‘i Strategic Development Corporation, Hawai‘i-SBDC, Hawai‘i Community College and the County of Hawai‘i.


“HIplan’s goal is to development an entrepreneurial ecosystem on Hawai‘i Island” says Jason Ueki, HIplan’s Executive Director.

Saturday’s event was Round 2 of a months-long process. HIplan 2018 was officially launched in April during events held in Hilo and Kona. Since then HIplan teamed up with the Small Business Development Center to host monthly entrepreneur networking meet ups in both East and West Hawai‘i, fostering a community of entrepreneurship.

Thirty-one local businesses submitted business plans during Round 1 of the competition in early September. The number of entries was whittled down to 15 for the semi finals held last weekend. Those who advanced to the semi finals ranged from a fish market to a pet resort to a firm providing electrical maintenance services. Judges for this year’s Round 2 included Jesse Cook, VP of Investments, Ulupono Initiative; Mattson Davis, President, Ulu Development; Dennis Lin, commercial banking officer, Bank of Hawai‘i; Robbie Melton, CEO HTDC; and Tam Vu, dean of UH-Hilo’s College of Business and Economics. Greg Taketa, CPA, of Taketa, Iwata, Hara and Associates is responsible for tabulating the judges’ scores during each round of the competition.


During the next and final round of the competition, each of the eight finalists will be judged on their seven page written business plan, a two-minute “elevator pitch” of their plan, and their 12-minute presentation of that plan. The public is invited to attend Round 3 at UH Hilo UCB 100 at 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 27.

The eight finalists are listed in alphabetical order:

  • Big Island Coffee Roasters
  • Hawai‘i Electrical Maintenance Svcs
  • Lawaia Fresh Fish Market
  • Mauna Kea Cacao
  • Pau Hana Pet Resort
  • SRFly
  • Uncle Tilo’s Water Catchment
  • Upcycle Hawai‘i

For more information on HIplan and the Hawai‘i Island Business Plan Competition, go online or contact Jason Ueki, HIplan executive director at (808) 494-4031, or [email protected].


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