Business

Vibrant Hawaiʻi Announces Economic Development Strategy Micro-Investments

April 7, 2022, 12:00 PM HST
* Updated April 7, 10:33 AM
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Several Big Island businesses and organizations are getting a financial boost to help fund pilot ideas or scale up concepts.

Vibrant Hawaiʻi awarded micro-investments of up to $2,500 to the following businesses and organizations in six different industries:

  • Creative and Performing Arts: Hawaiʻi’s Volcano Circus, Oahi Entertainment Wedding and Events and PPAC Community Center.
  • Education: ʻĀina University of Puna, Kalamapiʻi PLAY School, Kohala Okinawa Children’s Day Camp, Kukulu Kaiāulu, Māmaki Ola Curriculum Development and Implementation, Project Hale Kohala and Volcano Precious Plastic.
  • Health and Wellbeing: North Kohala Archery and Root & Rise “Nature & Art as Therapy.”
  • Regenerative and Community Driven Tourism: Hawaiʻi Forest Farms Tours & Education, Kohala Kūpaʻa Online Marketplace and WaiʻUli: We Count.
  • Resilient and Sustainable Food Systems: Nāʻālehu Resilience Hub Insecurity and Workforce Development, Orchard Garden Project at Becca’s Farm, Sugar Hill Farmstore, The Honeybee Education Program and Youngs Family Farm.
  • Software, Technology and Creative Media: Startup Hawaiʻi, The Future of Remote Work in Higher Education on Hawaiʻi Island and The Hawaiiverse Initiative.

Vibrant Hawaiʻi launched the micro-investment program in February. According to a press release, the funds are intended to support quick action to demonstrate feasibility of solutions. In return, those receiving the investments committed to supporting and sharing their learning journey with one another and helping co-create and inform the design of future micro-investment opportunities.

Applications were received from community groups and entrepreneurs islandwide and reviewed by a committee of Vibrant Hawaiʻi volunteer board members. A second cycle will open in May, with awards to be announced in June.

“Throughout 2021, the Vibrant Hawaiʻi Economy Stream engaged stakeholders across sectors and regions to learn about six industries that our community identified as conducive to the island — art, education, food systems, health, tourism and technology,” said the press release announcing the first micro-investment cohort. “The Vibrant Hawaiʻi Economic Development Strategy is a living document that anyone can act on and we will hold ourselves accountable to. It was developed consistent with Economic Development Administration standards, and includes action plans organized according to asset-based community development.”

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Vibrant Hawaiʻi believes there is opportunity for everyone to get involved and create conditions where more people have more chances and choices, the press release added.

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Vibrant Hawaiʻi’s mission is to empower the Hawaiʻi community by increasing equitable opportunities, shifting deficit narratives and systems and implementing strategies developed and resourced by the community and reflect native intelligence. To learn more, click here.

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