Sandra Fujiyama has been named executive director of the Pacific Asian Center for Entrepreneurship (PACE) at University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s Shidler College of Business, effective October 19.
In this leadership role, Fujiyama will spearhead community outreach efforts, along with the board of directors and corporate partners, to elevate and promote entrepreneurship education, locally, nationally and internationally. She will also oversee the more than 20 PACE programs that provide mentorship, training and resources to all UH students and faculty. In addition, Fujiyama will direct the entrepreneurial programming at RISE (Residences for Innovative Student Entrepreneurs), a world-class innovation and entrepreneurship facility coupled with student housing, scheduled for completion in fall 2023.
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Fujiyama was most recently the innovation and business development officer at UH’s Office of Innovation and Commercialization, where she led innovation and entrepreneurship efforts that included spearheading a grant proposal that resulted in $2.7 million from the U.S. Economic Development Administration to support pandemic recovery efforts related to innovation, entrepreneurship and workforce development. She also directed the Innovation Impact Challenge program, Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer program with strategic partner Hawaii Technology Development Corp.’s Innovate Hawaii, and the UH Ventures Accelerator.
“We are thrilled to welcome Sandra to PACE,” said Shidler College of Business Dean Vance Roley. “Given her immense experience in intellectual property law, time spent at Silicon Valley-based law firm Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati and current work at UH, we are confident in her vision and plans to lead at the helm. Her varied work history, Hawaiʻi roots and legal expertise set PACE up for continued success.”
“PACE has inspired and fostered an impressive list of local startups with its comprehensive set of programs and resources that guide innovators and entrepreneurs on their journey from idea to small business to social and economic impact,” Fujiyama said. “I am grateful and humbled to be appointed to this role, to serve our students and community and advance the mission to diversify Hawaiʻi’s economy by educating entrepreneurial thinkers and innovative problem solvers.”
Ben Godsey, PACE board chair and president of ProService Hawaii, said, “After a thorough search, we are excited to have Sandra join PACE and continue to grow its impact. Today, businesses are evolving very rapidly following the disruptions from COVID; Hawaiʻi is seeking to build up entrepreneurship to strengthen our economy, and PACE is expanding its impact with the RISE development and enhanced programming. We look forward to Sandra’s leadership, collaboration and partnership with the board of directors and the business community.”
More on Fujiyama
Prior to joining UH, Fujiyama worked for Dentons U.S. LLP in Honolulu and before that spent nearly 15 years specializing in intellectual property law at various firms in Los Angeles, including Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati PC and Sidley Austin, where she prosecuted patent and trademark applications at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, litigated intellectual property matters involving patents, trademarks and copyright, and provided intellectual property strategy and counseling to a range of clients, including startups.
Born and raised in Hawaiʻi, Fujiyama earned her bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and her law degree from the UCLA School of Law. She is authorized to practice in California, Hawaiʻi and before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Fujiyama currently serves on the board of the Entrepreneurs Foundation of Hawaiʻi. She has also served with California Bar Foundation, the Japanese American Bar Association Educational Foundation and the Asian Pacific American Women Lawyers Alliance. She was recognized by the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association as a “Best Lawyer Under 40” and was recently recognized as a 2021 honoree of Pacific Business News’ “Women Who Mean Business” awards.
This work is an example of UH Mānoa’s goal of Excellence in Research: Advancing the Research and Creative Work Enterprise (PDF), one of four goals identified in the 2015–25 Strategic Plan (PDF), updated in December 2020.