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The University of Hawaiʻi is offering a new, real-world, educational opportunity for students who want to learn the venture capital process and startup finance. The Pacific Asian Center for Entrepreneurship (PACE) at UH Mānoa’s Shidler College of Business is launching the Calvin Shindo Student Venture Fund, a student-run, seed investment fund for UH-affiliated companies.

This work serves two UH Mānoa goals of Excellence in Research: Advancing the Research and Creative Work Enterprise (PDF) and Enhancing Student Success (PDF), two of four goals identified in the 2015–25 Strategic Plan (PDF), updated in December 2020.

Previously called the Hoku Scientific Microloan Fund, the program is made possible by a generous gift from Dustin Shindo, the co-founder of Hoku Scientific. The microloan program was revamped into an equity investment fund and named in honor of Calvin Shindo, Dustin’s father. Investments up to $5,000 are available per venture. A total of $25,000 per year will be awarded, with $133,000 available to be invested by the seed investment fund. Applications will be accepted beginning in April 2021.

“We are so pleased to have Dustin’s support to develop such an impactful, learning experience for our students,” said Peter Rowan, executive director of PACE. “In addition to providing an opportunity for students to sit on both the investor and entrepreneur side of the process, we’ll be able to provide access to much-needed, seed capital to early-stage companies that are affiliated with the university.”

Student screening committee nominations

PACE is currently accepting nominations for its student screening committee for the fund. Prior experience in venture finance or entrepreneurship is not required. The students will be responsible for the entire investment process including sourcing, qualifying, negotiating and managing investments. A fund board, made up of experienced investors, will oversee the student screening committee and give final approval of all investment recommendations. Nominations are accepted until February 14. Visit PACE’s website to learn more about the fund and to nominate a student.

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