Maui Business

Kamehameha Students Light up the Classroom During National Entrepreneurship Week

March 1, 2018, 2:57 PM HST
* Updated March 1, 2:59 PM
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Kamehameha Maui students giving their elevator pitch and innovation recommendations. PC: Maui Business Brainstormers

Students at Kamehameha Schools Maui Business Academy spent the day exchanging ideas with entrepreneurs from the Maui business community, Maui Business Brainstormers leaders, and advisors from Maui Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce, as part of National Entrepreneurship Week activities held across Maui County last week.

The workshop brought Kamehameha Schools Maui alumni who are local business owners into the classroom to share their start-up and business experiences, along with prominent members of the local community.

Forty-eight students engaged in four business scenarios, requiring innovation, market analysis, and crisp communication skills with faculty members, four business owners, three MBB leaders and two leaders of MNHCoC.

Based on real-life business scenarios, the four various activities throughout the day taught the students specific skills and gave them opportunities to practice and demonstrate them.

The business owners on campus were Brenn Nakamitsu of Kilinahe Media, Micah Alo of Alo[ha] Creations LLC, Paula Hegele of MauiWine, and Robert Wintner of Snorkel Bob’s. The local businesses providing business profiles were Ali‘i Greeting Service, Island Football LLC, and Dynamite Donut.

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Teri Freitas Gorman and Kai Pelayo of MNHCOC along with Nicole Fisher of MBB worked closely with the students throughout the day as coaches, advisors and judges for the various activities.

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Lori Fisher of MBB facilitated the day’s events, based on a set of skill-building activities she developed through consultation with Kamehameha Schools Maui Business Academy Faculty Keali‘i Mossman and Tracy Razo.

“It’s wonderful that our students were able to connect with MBB, MNHCoC and real business owners,” said Business Academy faculty member Mossman. “We are grateful for the time taken out of busy schedules to help our students learn more about real life business issues and practices. This was a great activity with a lot of take-aways for students.”

Student team presenting their socially aware business proposals. PC: Maui Business Brainstormers

After analyzing the business profiles submitted to local businesses, the students gave “elevator pitches”, presented ways to innovate on existing business concepts, and vied enthusiastically for the top spots which were awarded based on feedback from judges Gorman, Pelayo and Fisher with gift bags from Fairmont Kea Lani.

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In follow-on activities, four business owners presented overviews of their businesses and described a current business challenge, which the students then teamed together to solve. Learning to both receive and give feedback, the student teams had a chance to give face-to-face feedback to business owners on the effectiveness of their business overviews.

In the final activity of the day, teams of three students presented business proposals that were both economically viable and had an element of social value, encouraging students to think of ways to give back to the community while also pursuing individual success. Business ideas ranged from notebooks that composted into seeds, shareable footwear, solar beach umbrellas that could power hand-held devices, and high-tech eco-friendly sunscreen booths.

“The students quickly warmed up to the day’s program, giving constructive feedback to each other, critiquing their own teamwork processes, and ensuring that all members of the team had a role in the various presentations,” said MBB workshop facilitator Lori Fisher. “I was impressed with the level of engagement throughout the day and the quality of their interactions with the business owners who joined them in the classroom. Clearly they are well on their way to becoming successful entrepreneurs one day.”

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