About Us

The University of Hawai'i Pacific Business Center Program (PBCP) was established in 1979 to provide entrepreneurs, businesses, non-profits, and government agencies with economic and business development technical assistance by utilizing the resources of the University of Hawai'i. Major funders of the PBCP include the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration, the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs, the University of Hawai'i, the UH Shidler College of Business, and some of the governments of the American Affiliated Pacific Islands. The Center serves Hawai'i and the American Affiliated Pacific Islands, including American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Republics of Palau and the Marshall Islands. 


The mission of the University of Hawaii Pacific Business Center Program (PBCP) is "Helping indigenous island economies help themselves by adapting the resources of the University of Hawaii to support Pacific Island economic, business, and community development in a manner that is holistic, responsible, and builds local island capacity."


The University of Hawaii at Manoa (UHM) received its initial grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration (EDA) in July 1979, to establish a University Center* for business and economic development serving businesses in the State of Hawaii, the American Affiliated Pacific Islands (AAPI) of Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

In 1986, the Center obtained supplemental funds from EDA for travel, communication, and other direct costs to provide services to the AAPI, with matching funds provided by the island governments.

In the late 1980s, the United States and the trust territories it administered under the auspices of the United Nations, agreed to establish bi-lateral, independently negotiated agreements (Compacts of Free Association) under which the territories became independent nations, while still retaining close economic and political ties with the United States. As a result, these now independent nations of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), the Marshall Islands, and Palau can participate in certain domestic federal programs. In April 1988, the Center initiated projects with the Republic of the Marshall Islands and with the four States of Yap, Chuuk, Kosrae, and Pohnpei that constitutes the FSM. In 1989, the Center began its work in Palau, under a special grant from the US Department of Interior, while negotiations were still underway on the Compact agreement between the United States and Palau.

Each of the American Affiliated Pacific Islands in the Center's service area is encouraged to provide funds to support the activities of the Center, and to help defray the major cost of travel expenses incurred by the Center staff in visiting and serving clients in their respective jurisdictions.

Since 1988, the Center has worked on thousands of client projects, involving hundreds of students and faculty from the University of Hawaii system. This number does not include the hundreds of individuals who have attended training sessions or requested assistance on a one-time basis. 

*EDA's University Center Economic Development Program makes the resources of universities available to the economic development community. Institutions of higher education have extensive resources, including specialized research, outreach, technology transfer, and commercialization capabilities, as well as recognized faculty expertise and sophisticated laboratories. The EDA-supported University Center (UC) program is specifically designed to marshal the resources located within colleges and universities to support regional economic development strategies in regions of chronic and acute economic distress. Most UCs focus their efforts on assisting units of local governments and nonprofit organizations in planning and implementing regional economic development strategies and projects. Typical actions provided by the UCs include targeted commercialization of research, workforce development, and business counseling services. Other UCs may focus their efforts on helping local organizations with conducting preliminary feasibility studies, analyzing data, and convening customized seminars and workshops on topics such as regional strategic planning and capital budgeting.