6 Kohala High students participate in entrepreneur workshop; more opportunities available

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Six Kohala High School students visited House of Mana Up at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel on the Island of Hawaii on Feb. 15, 2023, and met with Meli James, cofounder of Mana Up (far right).

Six Kohala High School students participated in an entrepreneur workshop that was held by ClimbHI, a Hawaiʻi workforce development nonprofit, and Mana Up, a Hawaiʻi-based accelerator for consumer brands.

The workshop was held on Feb. 15 at House of Mana Up at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel on the Big Island. 

ClimbHI recently launched an initiative to provide on-site educational opportunities to meet the changing workforce development needs of Hawaiʻi schools and businesses. This effort focuses on creating scalable opportunities for students to explore future careers and earn credit toward graduation, and for businesses to create awareness about their opportunities and to potentially build out their talent pipelines.


The daylong event with Mana Up follows a similar partnership launched with Alaska Airlines several weeks ago at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport. 

“Partnering with Mana Up allows our students to be exposed to a variety of local entrepreneur stories under one roof,” said Julie Morikawa, president of ClimbHI. “We will continue to expand these customized opportunities throughout the state, with a focus on high-demand careers in industries such as hospitality, aviation, energy and more.”

ClimbHI is developing scalable, high-quality experiences like these that are easily and equitably accessible to all schools throughout Hawaiʻi. This flexible model maximizes the quality time that Hawaiʻi students can spend with leaders and practitioners.


Win-win opportunities connecting students and businesses can be implemented in as little as a few weeks and can be developed with minimal resources.

“House of Mana Up is the perfect place for students to learn about local business leaders and what it takes to get a successful product to consumers,” said Meli James, cofounder of Mana Up. “ClimbHI’s vast network and coordination between schools and businesses helps provide these engaging opportunities, and allows us to connect with future generations of Hawaiʻi entrepreneurs.”

Students presented their photography, apparel and household products for feedback, and James provided insights about product development and marketing.  


Mana Up is a business program for Hawaiʻi product entrepreneurs who are looking to grow to markets globally, with the mission to increase economic opportunity and jobs for locals. To date, 74 Hawaiʻi-based companies have graduated from the program.

House of Mana Up is the company’s online store and retail stores, including its location at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, which highlights products and entrepreneurs who have participated in the accelerator.

Schools, businesses and organizations are encouraged to e-mail [email protected] for more information.

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