Big Island Companies Make Strong Showing at Mana Up

February 12, 2019, 2:57 PM HST
* Updated February 13, 12:40 PM
Listen to this Article
3 minutes
Loading Audio...

Women-led businesses dominate Mana Up’s third cohort. Seven of the 10 companies are founded and led by women and five are from Hawai‘i Island.

“There’s no lack of entrepreneurship in Hawai‘i, and that spirit is spread across the islands, ” noted Meli James, Mana Up co-founder with Brittany Heyd. “What’s particularly great to see is that the businesses are thriving.  Our previous two cohorts are growing and hiring, and we expect that to be true of this cohort as well.”

“We’re also thrilled to continue our partnership with Hawaiian Airlines to support flights for Neighbor Island companies, making their participation in Mana Up possible,” said James. “The companies come to O‘ahu weekly and Neighbor Island companies in Cohorts 1 and 2 benefitted immensely from the opportunity to expand their network during the program.”

The following 10 companies were selected for Mana Up’s third cohort:


Hawai‘i Island companies: (* donates women-founded and led)


FUSED Hawaii – * Founder: Roxelle Cho

FUSED creates functional swimwear with the hope of inspiring women to live confidently in their own skin. FUSED empowers a community of women who are brave enough to share their stories.

Kaimana Jerky – Founders: Christopher Cho, Leonora Cho, Sheldon Cho, Rose Angay and Leonard Angay


Kaimana Jerky was founded out of love for the ocean and creating unique products through its resources. Though delicious and high-quality protein snacks, Kaimana Jerky fuels people’s mind and body

Liko Lehua – * Founders: Diane Kaneali‘i, now operated by Dawn and Matt Kaneali‘i-Kleinfelder

Liko Lehua is a Hilo-based café and gourmet butters company inspired by the fruits of Hawai‘i.  A family-run company, Liko Lehua’s mission is to provide secure livelihoods for their community by teaching and encouraging staff towards personal growth and to create a place where guests and staff are ‘ohana.

Short N Sweet – * Founder: Maria Short

Short N Sweet is a bakery based in Hilo, featuring a variety of delectable and original baked goods, derived from blending Hawaiian ingredients with the creativity of classically French-trained chef, Maria Short.

Western Aloha – Founder: Paul Sullivan

Western Aloha makes everywhere-able clothing and gear inspired by the spirit of Aloha and the Big Island of Hawai‘i. From beach to bar, sea to snow, and Waimea to Waikīkī, you can happily wear Western Aloha.

 Kaua‘i Company:

Meli Wraps – * Founders: Melia Foster and Nicole Galchutt

Meli Wraps features reusable Beeswax Wraps designed to reduce plastic and keep your food fresh.

O‘ahu Companies:

Coco Moon – * Founder: Amber Thibaut

Inspired by the nostalgia of a childhood spent up in the islands, Coco Moon has grown into a collection of everyday keiki essentials that add a touch of aloha to every step of your ‘ohana’s routine.

HAYN – Founders: David Lin, Zak Noyle and Masafumi Watanabe

HAYN is an environmentally conscious footwear brand based in Honolulu. HAYN’s slippers are made from natural 5L rubber, feature dual density, and are shaped and finished by hand—creating high quality, comfort, style and function.

Lola Pilar – * Founder: Kristen Reyno

Lola Pilar Hawai‘i creates fine art and Italian silk scarves using photography from Hawai‘i sourced flora, arranged into designs inspired by vintage Hawaiian Quilts.

NOHO HOME – * Founder: Jalene Kanani Bell

NOHO HOME creates a sophisticated island experience cultivated through artful home decor. Marked by the designer’s profound love for her Hawaiian heritage and other first nation cultures, Noho Home reimagines the island home aesthetic into organic textures woven with native intelligence.

About Mana Up

Mana Up is an initiative to create Hawai‘i’s next 100 product companies earning over $10 million annually and based in Hawai‘i. Mana Up has a 12-week accelerator program offered biannually to support Hawai‘i product entrepreneurs scaling their businesses by providing mentorship, leadership training and access to sales channels. Mana Up’s partners include title partner Kamehameha Schools, founding partner DFS Hawai‘i and Caste & Cooke Hawai‘i, exclusive airline partner Hawaiian Airlines and voyaging partners Ulupono Initiative, American Savings Bank, Kaiser Permanente Hawai‘i, Dole Plantation, Pineapple Tweed PR & Marketing, Hawai‘i Technology Development Corporation (HTDC) and INNOVATE Hawai‘i. For more information, go online.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Stay in-the-know with daily or weekly
headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Mahalo for Subscribing


This comments section is a public community forum for the purpose of free expression. Although Big Island Now encourages respectful communication only, some content may be considered offensive. Please view at your own discretion. View Comments