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From left, John C. Dean, Allen Uyeda, Susan Yamada, Jay Shidler, Terri Fujii, Larry Rodriguez and Vassilis Syrmos

The Pacific Asian Center for Entrepreneurship (PACE) announced the launch of a five-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 Hawaiʻi 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-plus programs to cultivate new entrepreneurs, encourage entrepreneurial thinking, spawn new businesses and rekindle ties with Hawaiʻi’s business community.

The announcement was made at a kickoff breakfast attended by 60 business and community leaders. Welcomed by Roley, attendees heard from a select group of PACE advocates. Yamada provided the vision for PACE’s future—to educate the entrepreneurial thinkers of tomorrow and be a catalyst for the economic vitality of Hawaiʻi.

Vassilis Syrmos, vice president for research and innovation, 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—the launch of a Proof of Concept Center to be housed in PACE’s new facility. The Proof of Concept Center 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 Hawaiʻi’s economy by commercializing and licensing our research ideas. We welcome the opportunity to support and work with PACE,” said Syrmos.

Read the UH Mānoa news release for more from the kickoff speakers John Dean, CEO of Central Pacific Bank and former CEO of Silicon Valley Bank; Allen Uyeda, CEO of First Insurance Company of Hawaiʻi and Larry Rodriguez, past managing partner of Ernst and Young and current executive-in-residence at Shidler.

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