Maui Business

Hāna’s First Ever National Entrepreneurship Week a Success

February 28, 2017, 1:30 PM HST
* Updated February 28, 1:38 PM
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The Hāna Business Council and the Maui Business Brainstormers brought a series of guest speakers and workshops to Hāna in conjunction with National Entrepreneurship Week.

The event, held on Feb. 21 and 22, featured two guest speakers, a business community dinner with “talk story” by three local Hāna entrepreneurs, and a hands-on workshop on social media.

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Sponsors Robin Rayner of Hāna Arts and Andrew Rayner of Hāna Business Council with speakers Zachary McNish and Lori Fisher, as well as Becky Lind of Hāna Arts during the afternoon session on Feb. 21. Photo Courtesy

An energetic audience of business owners turned out for the first-ever National Entrepreneurship Week in Hāna. Photo Courtesy.

Zach McNish gave the audience many practical tips and sound advice on negotiating contracts and determining employment types. Photo Courtesy.

Leokane Pryor and CJ Helekahi after their “talk story” about how their passion for music led to success, joined by Robin and Andrew Rayner and Lori Fisher. Photo Courtesy

Lori Fisher engages with local business owners in small group discussions about the impact of a positive customer experience for their businesses. Photo Courtesy

During a “talk story” session with local entrepreneurs, Coconut Glen (Simkins) told his story. Photo Courtesy

A large crowd showed up for the sessions, which were provided free of charge to local startups, entrepreneurs, business owners and managers.

“We had a wide range of businesses represented on both days, with the audience actively asking questions and interacting with the speakers, which is always a good sign. The presentations were helpful and relevant for our unique situation here in Hāna, and the one-on-one workshop gave participants a big boost in starting or improving their social media presence” said Andrew Rayner, President of Hāna Business Council.

Kauionalani Waller, MBB organizer, added “In turn, the speakers were impressed with the passion and commitment of the business owners in the audience, and took away a deeper understanding of the many challenges – and rewards – of operating a small business in Hāna.”

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On Tuesday, Feb. 21, Zachary McNish, owner of McNish Law, kicked off the Hāna event with a session on “How to Manage Risk as a Small Business Owner.” The presentation covered many legal aspects of running a business, such as the selecting the appropriate type of entity for your business (LLC versus corporation), key elements of common contracts, types of business insurance, and various employee designations.

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The second event on Tuesday was a session describing “The Effect of Customer Experience on Your Business Success.” In this talk, guest speaker Lori Fisher, an instructor and executive in the field of User Experience, covered techniques to optimize the experience that customers have as they try to find a product or service, get started with it, and begin using it.

Over dinner, three local entrepreneurs told their stories of persevering to achieve personal success, defining the meaning of “success” for a business in Hāna, and growing a business in the face of market challenges. Musician Leokane Pryor was joined on the stage by CJ Helekahi to talk about their journey as artists, and the impact of turning that art into business as they entered into commercial contracts and the corresponding obligations. Both told compelling stories of their commitment to music as a way of life, and the lessons learned from trying to balance the demands of touring and promoting music with making music for its own sake.

Glen Simkins, better known as “Coconut Glen,” introduced himself by saying “I am the opposite of a businessman.” And yet, Glen has made a name for himself as the 9th best ice cream stand on the planet (per Conde Nast Magazine) and the only vegan stand in that list.

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Glen recounted his experiences working for Michelin-rated restaurants leading up to opening a business in Parma, Italy where he realized that the people around him were “really happy,” but not necessarily rich. His world view changed from thinking that success equals money to measuring success in happiness.

Today, his passion is his ice cream stand along the highway into Hāna and he sees financial success as a byproduct of his focus on happiness.

Finally, newcomer Greg Koch talked about the growth of Stone Brewing Company from four employees in 1996 to 1,200 employees today with breweries and restaurants in San Diego and Berlin and craft beer for sale in Hasegawa General Store. Greg said his best advice for success is to ignore the advice you get.

His philosophy for success is to focus on being true to your passion, not what a majority might expect. The evening ended with animated conversations about the business stories and networking among the attendees.

On Wednesday, Feb. 22, two MBB organizers conducted personalized hands-on workshops under the title “Find my Biz on the WEB” at Ala Kukui’s hālau room.

These one-on-one sessions with local business owners provided tips and techniques for how to start up an online business presence on Facebook, Twitter, or a Web site. The business owners who booked these one-on-one sessions had a chance to discuss their own specific social media presence and some of their own unique challenges, while receiving advice on how to improve the ways their businesses can be found online.

Partner, sponsors and supporters:
Partners, sponsors and supporters include Valley Isle Excursions, Ala Kukui – Hāna Retreat, Hāna Arts, High Technology Department Corporation, SCORE Maui, HI Small Business Development Center – Maui office, Maui Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce, Montage Kapalua Bay, Lahaina Action Committee, Maui County, Mayor’s Office of Economic Development.

About Maui Business Brainstormers:

MBB is a B2B support network and grassroots group operating across Maui since January 2012, with membership surpassing 1,000 this year.

Its unique initiatives focus on making quality business education and information accessible at no cost to the business community, supporting the journey from dream to successful business. MBB initiatives include Business in the Think Tank, National Veterans Small Business Week, Global Entrepreneurship Week, National Entrepreneurs Day, Worldwide Woman’s Entrepreneurship Day, National Entrepreneurship Week, National Consumer Protection Week, and Small Business Week.

This year, in addition to the Lahaina N.E.W. on Feb. 23, MBB helped the Hāna Business Council with the first ever Hāna N.E.W. tailored specifically for the East Maui business community on Feb. 21 and 22.

For more information, click here.

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