people holding a large check for #30,000
From left, Connie Lau, president and CEO, HEI; Alan Oshima, president and CEO, Hawaiian Electric; Susan Yamada, executive director, Pacific Asian Center for Entrepreneurship; Donna Vuchinich, president and CEO, UH Foundation; Vance Roley, dean, Shidler College of Business and Unyong Nakata, senior director of development, UH Foundation-Shidler College of Business.

The HEI Charitable Foundation and the Hawaiian Electric Companies have donated $30,000 to become the title sponsor of the 2016 UH Business Plan Competition organized by the Pacific Asian Center for Entrepreneurship (PACE) at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Shidler College of Business. The annual team competition provides budding entrepreneurs with the tools and skills to launch a successful business venture.

“We all want our local talent to succeed,” said Connie Lau, HEI president and CEO. “This competition gives aspiring entrepreneurs the opportunity to gain insights on how to grow their ideas into successful enterprises. As strong believers in the power of innovation, technology and sustainability, we believe this program has long-term benefits not only for the student participants, but also for our business community and Hawaiʻi’s economy,” said Lau.

“The measure of success may differ for each team, however, all the competition participants will learn invaluable skills that extend beyond the typical classroom,” said Alan Oshima, Hawaiian Electric president and CEO. “We are proud to partner with the University of Hawaiʻi on this entrepreneurial program while supporting Hawaiʻi’s future leaders.”

“We are excited to have HEI and Hawaiian Electric as our partners to support budding entrepreneurs,” says Susan Yamada, executive director of PACE. “The Business Plan Competition is the signature PACE program that creates new companies each year by encouraging students with business ideas to move them from concept to action and implementation. The support from HEI and Hawaiian Electric is representative of their steadfast position on the importance of innovation, technology, and sustainability for our State’s economic future.”

More about the UH Business Plan Competition

The 2016 UH Business Plan Competition will run all spring semester and culminate on April 26 where teams will present to a panel of judges. There will be cash prizes totaling $17,500 and in-kind professional services valued over $20,000. Prize packages will be supplemented with services from PACE, including introductions to mentors and advisors, invitations to investment group meetings, and incubation space. As part of the sponsorship, HEI Charitable Foundation and the Hawaiian Electric Companies will present the 1st place prize.

Read the Shidler College of Business news release for more information.

—By Dolly Omiya