Entrepreneurship Center launches campaign to expand center and programs

Center will serve as link between UH innovation commercialization & economic stimulation in Hawai'i

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Posted: Feb 19, 2014

The Pacific Asian Center for Entrepreneurship (PACE) today announced the launch of a 5-year initiative to raise $2.5 million for new programs and a larger, renovated location in the Shidler College of Business at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. The center will be open to all UH students.

Under the leadership of Dean Vance Roley and Executive Director Susan Yamada, PACE has become the training ground for future entrepreneurs and business leaders as well as the bridge between the academic and business worlds. PACE has expanded to include 15+ programs to cultivate new entrepreneurs, encourage entrepreneurial thinking, spawn new businesses, and rekindle ties with Hawai‘i’s business community.

The announcement was made at a kickoff breakfast at the Waialae Country Club attended by 60 business and community leaders. Welcomed by Roley, attendees heard from a select group of PACE advocates. Yamada provided the vision for the future of PACE - to educate the entrepreneurial thinkers of tomorrow and be a catalyst for the economic vitality of Hawai‘i.

Vassilis Syrmos, Vice President for Research and Innovation at UH, kicked off the speakers with a bold announcement of UH's commitment to commercialization and entrepreneurship with a significant investment toward the new Center's renovation.

Evidence of Syrmos’ further willingness to support innovation and commercialization at the University is the launch of a Proof of Concept Center (POCC) to be housed in PACE’s new facility. The POCC will provide financial support and business acumen to University faculty and students who qualify for the program.

“There are communities where universities play a major role in driving the local economy. With UH’s world-renown scientist and research, we must do our part in contributing to Hawai‘i’s economy by commercializing and licensing our research ideas. We welcome the opportunity to support and work with PACE,” said Dr. Syrmos.

John Dean, CEO of Central Pacific Bank and former CEO of Silicon Valley Bank, spoke of his longstanding personal commitment to PACE saying "I have seen first hand how an innovative ecosystem can transform a community. As a supporter of PACE for many years, I believe PACE can provide the University with an entrepreneurial experience which will lead to the creation of new businesses and jobs."

"Every business must think entrepreneurially or risk falling behind. In this competitive business climate First Insurance Company of Hawaii has made entrepreneurial thinking a priority. We have launched operating programs focused on new ideas, increased collaboration, and open communication with an emphasis on change. Our support of PACE ensures more graduates are acquainted with these concepts. These virtues benefit not only our business but our entire State," said Allen Uyeda, CEO of First Insurance Company of Hawaii.

In closing, Larry Rodriguez, past managing partner of Ernst & Young and current executive-in-residence at Shidler, challenged the attending business and community leaders to invest in PACE. Rodriguez stated, "It is our duty to partner with PACE and UH for the future economy of our State. Our support of PACE, both financially and personally, will create a ripple effect in our business community."

A newly formed board of directors, led by Dean as chair and Uyeda as vice chair, will help guide Roley and Yamada in making PACE a critical component in the entrepreneurial ecosystem of Hawai‘i.

Those wishing to learn more or contribute to PACE are invited to contact Unyong Nakata at unyong.nakata@uhfoundation.org or (808) 956-3597. Donor recognition naming opportunities are still available.

The Pacific Asian Center for Entrepreneurship (PACE) is the home for an integrated set of leading-edge entrepreneurship programs at the University of Hawai‘i. Based in the Shidler College of Business, PACE is dedicated to fostering the entrepreneurial spirit among all members of the University and local community. For more information, visit pace.shidler.hawaii.edu or follow us on Twitter @PACEhawaii.

The Shidler College of Business at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
Established in 1949 as the College of Business Administration, the College was named in 2006 after alumnus Jay H. Shidler, founder and managing partner of The Shidler Group. The Shidler College of Business is renowned for its expertise in international management education and is consistently ranked among the nation's top graduate schools for international business by U.S. News.  Long recognized for its Asia-Pacific focus, the College is a professional school offering a wide variety of degree, certificate and executive programs. The UH Shidler College of Business is the only graduate program in the State of Hawai‘i accredited by AACSB International. For more information, visit www.shidler.hawaii.edu.

The University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa serves approximately 20,000 students pursuing more than 225 different degrees. Coming from every Hawaiian island, every state in the nation, and more than 100 countries, UH Mānoa students thrive in an enriching environment for the global exchange of ideas. For more information, visit http://manoa.hawaii.edu and http://manoa.hawaii.edu/media/. Follow us on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/uhmanoa and Twitter http://www.twitter.com/UHManoaNews.

The University of Hawai‘i Foundation, a nonprofit organization, raises private funds to support the University of Hawai‘i System.  The mission of the University of Hawai‘i Foundation is to unite donors’ passions with the University of Hawai‘i’s aspirations by raising philanthropic support and managing private investments to benefit UH, the people of Hawai‘i and our future generations. www.uhfoundation.org

Photo caption from left to right:  John C. Dean, CEO, Central Pacific Bank; Allen Uyeda, CEO, First Insurance Company of Hawaii; Susan Yamada, executive director, Pacific Asian Center for Entrepreneurship; Jay Shidler, Founder and Managing Partner, The Shidler Group; Terri Fujii, partner, CW Associates; Larry Rodriguez, executive-in-residence, Shidler College of Business, and Vassilis Syrmos, VP for Research and Innovation, University of Hawai‘i.