Pacific Business Center Program wins fourth consecutive national award for excellence in partnership development

PBCP recognized for assistance provided to Hawaii based manufacturer of candlenut oils

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Dorothy Chen, (808) 956-2495
Pacific Business Center Program
Posted: Dec 6, 2005

HONOLULU — The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa‘s Pacific Business Center Program (PBCP) was named the recipient of a national Excellence in Partnership Development Award for its assistance in the organization of a development partnership with private and public sector partners for Hawaiʻi based candlenut oil manufacturer, Oils of Aloha (OA). This is the fourth consecutive year that PBCP has been recognized nationally by the University Economic Development Association for its work in supporting Pacific island economic, business, and community development.

Three previous awards were in recognition for PBCP‘s work in: preparing business plans with and for Office of Hawaiian Affairs‘ revolving loan fund clients (2004); providing technical assistance to the Development Bank of American Samoa for a variety of business management strategies (2003); and providing resettlement planning assistance to the Rongelap Atoll Local Government in the Marshall Islands (2002).

PBCP was recognized at UEDA‘s annual conference last month in Monterey, California. Dr. Failautusi Avegalio, PBCP director, was represented at the awards banquet by Dr. C.L. Cheshire, PBCP senior business development manager and Oils of Aloha project manager.

When asked about the negotiation process required in order to get the project started, Dr. Goro Uehara of UH Mānoa‘s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR), Principal Investigator for the East Timor Agricultural Development, Income Generation and Natural Resource Management Project, noted: "… were it not for the professional assistance from (PBCP staff) we would not have been able to reach sufficient agreement on all the key issues. … In the end we were able to reach general agreement on most of the points that at times appeared to separate the group. I am confident that as a result of their excellent facilitation we are now prepared to move ahead with the preparation of a proposal to the USAID-funded Small Grants Program to support a public-private development effort in East Timor. The UH team includes CTAHR, UH Mānoa College of Business Administration and the Pacific Business Center Program."

Oils of Aloha manufactures candlenut oil in Hawaiʻi under the Hawaiian name kukui nut oil. Refined kukui nut oil is used by cosmetics manufacturers as a skin moisturizer. OA became interested in developing a candlenut oil processing enterprise (COPE) in East Timor when it learned from a team of UH faculty members (funded by a three-year US Agency for International Development [USAID] agriculture development grant) that candlenuts are very plentiful and accessible in East Timor.

After an initial development partnership agreement fell through with a different U.S. aid organization partner, the PBCP was asked to participate and assist in the linking of OA with a German international development agency (GTZ) in East Timor who in turn recommended one of its clients, Acelda Company, a Timorese candlenut exporter.

PBCP crafted a partnership between Oils of Aloha and Acelda that addressed Oils of Aloha‘s need to minimize its risk and Acelda‘s need for new markets for candlenuts. The Center also organized the development agencies, USAID/East Timor and GTZ/East Timor, into a partnership to support the transfer of candlenut oil processing technology to Acelda. It then prepared a five year pro forma plan for the COPE that Oils of Aloha and the PBCP were able to use to apply for a $88,000 grant from USAID/DAI. Acelda, with the assistance of USAID, USAID/DAI and GTZ, used the same plan to obtain a loan for $80,000 from a Timorese bank. The Candlenut Oil Processing Enterprise will support 73.5 full time positions and will allow the East Timorese to produce a high value specialty product from a resource that is both abundant and under utilized.

"PBCP is thrilled to have been able to play a part in linking together the various private and public international partners in this East Timorese venture," said Dr. Avegalio. "After a false start, the key to a successful partnership negotiation and to getting everyone‘s buy-in was to acknowledge and honor all stakeholders‘ interests in the partnership, and to not trivialize anyone‘s concerns. It is congruent with PBCP‘s mission to support economic and business development in a holistic manner, taking diverse factors into account when forming a strategy for action, not just the bottom line."

The University Economic Development Association Project of the Year Award is a nationally recognized, highly coveted award that is bestowed upon members of the UEDA organization who have submitted projects in which they have been able to identify outstanding efforts they have undertaken on behalf of their clients to assist them in becoming more globally competitive, more viable in their fields of expertise, or more capable of delivering services.

UEDA is a not-for-profit association, providing advocacy, information and a forum to enhance the performance of university-based organizations and their affiliates that provide economic development, business and technical assistance to businesses and communities. UEDA is comprised of University centers, Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs), Minority Business Development Centers (MBDCs) and other regional and state economic development organizations.

The Pacific Business Center Program was established in 1979 to provide governments, companies, and institutions in Hawai‘i with business-related services — financial analysis, management reviews, business plans, and other business technical support. Since its inception, PBCP has expanded its span of services to include Hawai‘i and other Pacific Basin islands, including the territories of American Samoa and Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Republics of Palau and the Marshall Islands. Current funders of the PBCP include the U.S. Department of Commerce‘s Economic Development Administration, the U.S. Department of Interior‘s Office of Insular Affairs, the UH Mānoa College of Business Administration, the Commonwealth Development Authority, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of Palau, and the Bank of the Orient.