Maui Business

MEO Recognizes Business Development Center Supporters

February 20, 2013, 8:59 AM HST
* Updated February 20, 11:10 AM
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Barb Peterson, vice present and business banking team leader at First Hawaiian Bank, accepts the volunteer of the year award from MEO. Courtesy photo.

Barb Peterson, vice present and business banking team leader at First Hawaiian Bank, accepts the volunteer of the year award from MEO. Courtesy photo.

By Sonia Isotov

Maui Economic Opportunity recognized Bard Peterson and Agape Foundation Charitable Trust as volunteer and benefactor of the year, respectively, for their support of MEO’s Business Development Center (BDC)  at its annual recognition luncheon Tuesday.

First Hawaiian Bank’s Vice President and Business Banking Team Leader Bard Peterson presently volunteers his time to serve on the External Loan Review Committee and the MEO Business Development Committee. According to the MEO, Peterson serves on two BDC committees he also volunteers his time to review and give advice to graduating students from the Core Four Business Plan training course, at Graduation/Bankers’ Night.

Bard’s involvement with MEO’s Business Development Center has been over a period of numerous years during which time he has offered “hundreds of hours of expertise and guidance.”

“Bard has always been available to provide help and guidance, whenever it was needed, throughout his years of volunteer service,” said Craig Swift, director of MEO BDC, in his nomination of Bard. “He is able to offer his unique experience with MEO’s micro loan program to help ensure a sound financial program while maintaining the mission statement of the organization.”

Craig Swift, the executive director for Maui Economic Opportunity's Business Development Corp. Courtesy photo.

Craig Swift, the executive director for Maui Economic Opportunity’s Business Development Corp. Courtesy photo.

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Agape Foundation Charitable Trust was named MEO’s Benefactor of the Year for its help of Lanaians for Sensible Growth since 2010, and for helping MEO’s Business Development Center help start and expand entrepreneurial small businesses on Lanai. Agape apparently provided micro-loans, business education programs, including Core Four business planning classes, and technical assistance.

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The MEO says Agape Foundation’s financial support has enabled seven Lanai businesses to receive over $180,000 in commercial loans. These loans have, in turn, created and retained permanent jobs on Lanai.

MEO BDC is a government-funded economic development program that serves low-and moderate-income individuals, who do not have access to traditional lending sources, and are seeking to start, expand or help a business.

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