HEI Charitable Foundation and Hawaiian Electric donate $30,000 for UH Business Plan Competition

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Dolly Omiya, (808) 956-5645
Public Information Officer, College of Business-External Relations Office
Posted: Feb 22, 2016

From left, Connie Lau, Alan Oshima, Susan Yamada, Donna Vuchinich, Vance Roley and Unyong Nakata.
From left, Connie Lau, Alan Oshima, Susan Yamada, Donna Vuchinich, Vance Roley and Unyong Nakata.

The HEI Charitable Foundation and the Hawaiian Electric Companies (HEI/Hawaiian Electric) have donated $30,000 to become the title sponsor of the 2016 UH Business Plan Competition (BPC) organized by the Pacific Asian Center for Entrepreneurship (PACE) at the UH 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.”

The 2016 BPC 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 first-place prize.

“We are excited to have HEI and Hawaiian Electric as our partners to support budding entrepreneurs,” said Susan Yamada, executive director of PACE. “The BPC 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.”

HEI/Hawaiian Electric’s gift counts toward 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 initiative will also be used to renovate and expand the current location in the Shidler College of Business. The new center will enable PACE to create a vibrant co-working space for entrepreneurial activity at the University. Additionally the new center will double the number of entrepreneurial programs offered, introduce an entrepreneurial curriculum to other UH colleges, train key faculty on current entrepreneurial instruction, support the commercialization of UH technology and innovation, and establish UH as a leader in entrepreneurial education.

HEI and its subsidiaries have a cumulative giving history of over $2.5 million in donations to the UH Foundation for the benefit of the University of Hawaiʻi, with Hawaiian Electric alone contributing more than $1.5 million of that amount.

(Full caption, 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.