Maui Business

10th Annual Business Fest to Highlight Intergenerational Business Lessons

September 9, 2016, 6:15 AM HST
* Updated September 9, 6:16 AM
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Mayor Arakawa giving opening remarks at the Maui Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce 6th Annual Business Fest. Photo courtesy County of Maui.

Maui Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce Business Fest. File photo courtesy County of Maui.

The Maui Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce has announced details for its 10th Annual Business Fest slated for Friday, Oct. 7, 2016 at the Grand Wailea in South Maui.  This year’s theme: “Navigating Our Future Through Business” features both emerging and experienced speakers with different business perspectives.

To celebrate their 10th anniversary, MNHCoC will honor its past presidents—Boyd Mossman, Howard Kihune, Jimmy Haynes, Chubby Vicens, Kai Pelayo and Doreen Pua Canto—during the dawn protocol on Wailea Beach scheduled for 6 am. Protocol is under the cultural direction of Kahu Lyons Naone, Kimikeo Kapahulehua and Kainoa Horcajo.

“With the impending closure of HC&S, Maui’s economy is in between what it has been and what it will become,” said MNHCoC President Teri Freitas Gorman. “While tourism continues to drive our economy, we also acknowledge that our fragile island cannot survive unlimited growth. Nearly 30 percent of Maui’s residents have Native Hawaiian ancestry, so it’s important for the generations to work together toward a future that is in alignment with our cultural values,” she said.

Opening Speaker Samuel ʻOhu Gon, III, Senior Scientist & Cultural Advisor for The Nature Conservancy of Hawaiʻi will report on the outcomes of the IUCN World Conservation Congress that was first announced on Maui during last year’s Biz Fest. Dr. Gon is known internationally for his unique ability to integrate Hawaiian cultural values with his work as a conservationist.

Featured SpeakerLivingston “Jack” Wong, CEO of Kamehameha Schools will speak about how his organization manages the inherent tension between making business decisions and honoring cultural values. He is into the second year of operationalizing a new strategic plan for the venerable 129-year old institution.


Panelists Kui Gapero, Manaola Yap and Napua Hueu will join moderator Kainoa Horcajo for a controversial discussion about “Cultural Preservation or Perpetuation in Hawaiian Businesses.” These emerging Hawaiian business leaders will discuss the conflict between tradition and innovation.


Inspirational Speaker Maile Meyer, owner of Hawaiian Books/Nā Mea Hawaiʻi in Honolulu, will speak about the importance of stories in determining the future. She has successfully blended commerce, culture, and community through her unorthodox business model.

Lunch Keynote Speaker Nāʻālehu Anthony, is the founder of Palikū Documentary Films and CEO for ʻŌiwi Television Network, is the first and only Hawaiian owned and operated television network. ʻŌiwiTV is the only all Hawaiian culture, Hawaiian language content station in Hawaiʻi. He is also passionate about voyaging, having crewed aboard Hōkūleʻa in many roles, including recently as a captain. He will speak about navigating the future through business.

Panelists Brian Kohne, Kathy Collins and George Kahumoku, Jr. will close the Biz Fest with a discussion about the business of Arts & Entertainment moderated by Wayne Wong. These creative entrepreneurs will consider what it takes to produce “profitable and pono” experiences and products for others.


A 10th Anniversary Reception with pūpū and a complimentary beverage will follow the traditional closing of Biz Fest with “Hawaiʻi Aloha.” 

In between speakers and panels, Biz Fest attendees are encouraged to visit the Exhibit area featuring displays by MNHCoC members who work in health and wellness, community and social services, food and beverage, as well as cultural practitioners, business consultants, designers, artists, as well as MNHCoC partner organizations: KOKO Hawaiian Radio and the Maui Food Innovation Center at UHMC.

As part of the MNHCoC’s commitment to the next generation of business leaders, 50 students from Kamehameha Schools Maui will receive scholarships to attend this event.

Event sponsors enable free admission to all sessions except for the Keynote Luncheon; the meal cost is $60 for MNHCoC members or $70 for non-members. Click here register or for more information.

The 10th Annual Business Fest is hosted by Grand Wailea and funded by a grant from the Maui County Office of Economic Development. Sponsors include Hawaiʻi Petroleum, Auwahi Wind Energy, LLC, First Hawaiian Bank, Matson Foundation, Maui Electric Company, Munekiyo & Hiraga, and Monsanto. In-kind supporters include Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co., Maui Tropical Plantation, E Ola Pono, LLC, Cynthia Conrad Design, and A Big Wow. This event is produced by volunteers for the benefit of the community.

The Maui Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce created the Annual Business Fest in 2006 as a forum for combining Hawaiian culture, values, and business education to make Maui a better place for all. MNHCoC’s mission is “to promote and sustain Hawaiian values and culture, and enhance the socio-economic status of Native Hawaiians in business and as individuals.”

Membership is open to Hawaiians and Hawaiians-at-Heart with an interest in perpetuating the spirit of Aloha through commerce, culture and community.

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