From left, Michael Coppes, John Dean, Jay Shidler, Sharon Weiner, Susan Yamada, Vance Roley and Unyong Nakata

Retired business executive Sharon Weiner has committed $25,000 cash and a significant portion of her estate to the Pacific Asian Center for Entrepreneurship (PACE) at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Shidler College of Business. Weiner’s $25,000 cash gift will support the five-year PACE initiative that was launched in February 2014.

The goal of the initiative is to raise $3 million to create new programs and expand existing ones. Funds raised through the initiatives will also be used to renovate and expand the current location in the Shidler College of Business. The new center will double the number of entrepreneurial programs offered, introduce an entrepreneurial curriculum to other UH Mānoa colleges, train key faculty on current entrepreneurial instruction, support the commercialization of UH Mānoa technology and innovation and establish the university as a leader in entrepreneurial education.

Weiner’s estate gift will support entrepreneurial education and help UH Mānoa monetize research efforts through her namesake fund the Sharon Weiner StartSmart Entrepreneurship Endowment, which she originally funded in 2010 with a gift of $150,000.

“Our next generation of leaders has to be imbued with entrepreneurial skills,” said Weiner. “Whether a person starts a business or joins a management team, thinking creatively, independently, and spontaneously as well as mastering basic business skills are essential to his or her success. I am so proud to be able to support PACE in providing this vital course of study.”

Weiner joins other business leaders such as Central Pacific Bank’s Chairman and CEO John Dean and former CEO of First Insurance Company of Hawaiʻi Allen Uyeda on the PACE board of directors.

“We are truly honored to receive Sharon’s most recent donation to her StartSmart fund. Having a seasoned entrepreneur supporting our efforts provides validation that we’re on the right track. We look forward to Sharon’s guidance as we continue to provide entrepreneurial programs to the UH community,” said PACE Executive Director Susan Yamada.

More on Sharon Weiner

Weiner came to Hawaiʻi in 1973 and graduated from the executive MBA program at the Shidler College of Business in 1975. She began her career in Hawaiʻi at C. Brewer and Co. working as a public relations manager. In 1979 she ventured out on her own to form Stryker Weiner Associates, Inc., which became the one of the largest independent public relations agencies in Hawaiʻi. In 2000, Weiner sold her firm and joined the DFS Group as group vice president in charge of DFS’ international global communications and government relations in Hawaiʻi. She was also a UH regent from 1999 to 2002. Weiner is currently retired.

For more information read the Shidler College of Business story.

—By Dolly Omiya