OHA’s New Loans Intended to Help Businesses Expand
By Sonia Isotov
In the latest example of efforts to help Native Hawaiians earn a living from their passions, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs has rolled out a new program aimed at helping its beneficiaries expand their businesses.
Tracy Poepoe, the president of Trace Industries in Mapunapuna, is the first Native Hawaiian entrepreneur to benefit from OHA’s new Hua Kanu Business Loan program, which is administered through Pacific Rim Bank.
The 43-year-old entrepreneur said the $200,000 loan will enable his construction business to better compete for federal contracts from the Army Corp of Engineers, US Army Garrison Hawaii and US Coast Guard.
“Right now, we can only compete for federal projects in the $1.5 million to $2 million range,” said Poepoe, in a written statement. “The loan gives us the ability to bid on larger projects in the $2 million to $4 million range.”
Poepoe established his seven-employee business in 2004. He is one of seven Native Hawaiian entrepreneurs who have been approved through the program for $2.4 million collectively to expand their businesses. Their individual loan amounts range from $150,000 to $1 million. A key feature of their seven-year loans includes a 4% interest rate.
“My business is my passion and the loan from OHA is encouraging my drive to make it successful,” added Poepoe.
For more information about the new Hua Kanu Business Loan program, contact OHA’s Native Hawaiian Revolving Loan Fund Program at (808) 594-1924.