Business Center

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Tools for a More Resilient Business

We are working to build a comprehensive list of resources to help your Hawaiʻi Island business succeed and be more resilient! New content is being added all the time. Please contact us if you would like to add a resource or report a broken link.

💼 General Business Resources

Hawaii State Department of Commerce & Consumer Affairs, Business Registration Division (BREG)—visit the Business Action Center, which includes a checklist and resources for starting a small business!

Internal Revenue Service (IRS)—get your Federal Employment Identification Number (FEIN).

Hawaiʻi Department of Taxation—get your Hawaiʻi General Excise Tax (GET) license (BB-1 Packet); under Registration, click “Register New Business License.”

Hawaii Small Business Development Center (SBDC)—check out this great video introduction to learn more! SBDC has offices in Hilo and Kona.

Kohala Center—the Kahiau Rural Business Development Microloan Program and the Hawai‘i Food Producers Fund are two microloan programs aimed at increasing access to capital for rural businesses in Hawai‘i.

Community-Based Economic Development Loans—DBEDT loans supporting economic development in communities; with loans usually in the range of $50K to $125K with current focus on businesses in agricultural and food production, manufacturing, and wholesaling.

Hawaiʻi Agricultural Loan Program—loans to promote agricultural and aquacultural development available to farmers and food manufacturers; applicants be denied credit from private sector lenders prior to applying.

Hawaiʻi State Trade Expansion Program (HiSTEP)—comprehensive program designed to assist Hawaii small businesses with their export development, including funding for trade shows and missions.

Manufacturing Assistance Grant Program (MAP)—Hawaiʻi Technology Development Center offers Hawaii-based manufacturers up to a 20% reimbursement (up to $100K) on qualified expenses to help them become globally competitive.

Slow Food Hawaii—bringing farmers and food entrepreneurs together with community members interested in making small loans.

Hawaiʻi Angels—The premier investment network for seed-level private equity investors in Hawaiʻi. Business plans submitted will are reviewed by a screening committee and two plans are chosen each month to present at the monthly meeting.

ALTRES—Hawaii’s largest staffing company which has been supporting our island community for more than 50 years.

Hawaii Agricultural Labor Solutions—HR firm specializing in agricultural hiring; providing labor referrals, translations services, help with licensing and permits, etc.

Mana Up—Honolulu-based business accelerator working to create Hawaii’s next 100 local companies earning over $10 million in annual revenue, supporting products rooted in Hawai’i that elevate authentic Hawaii stories through their brands.

Koi Tank: Investing in Hawaiʻi Island—(PDF) Sponsored by the County of Hawaiʻi Mayor’s Office, interested businesses will have the opportunity to submit their business plans and reports to the “Koi Tank” for investment consideration.

INNOVATE Hawaii—INNOVATE Hawaii builds the strength and competitiveness of Hawaii manufacturers through an array of programs and services, including coaching and training, consulting, collaboration-focused industry programs, and grant opportunities. INNOVATE Hawaii offers a FREE one-hour consultation on the first Tuesday of every month!

Purple Maiʻa—empowers kamaʻāina to create impactful technology startups rooted in Hawaiian values through theri Ka Maka ʻĪnana business award program.

Hawaii Investment Ready—HIR is a business accelerator designed to help social enterprises better understand and scale their impact and business models; and to assist them in accessing resources to implement their next level of growth. A scholarship program is available to help businesses cover tuition costs.

🌱 Sustainable & Resilient Business

Compost Hawaiʻi—offers monthly membership subscriptions for home and office compost collection.

CirclePack Hawaiʻi—operates a mobile cardboard shredding service; sells recycled cardboard products, including packaging and composting materials.

Kohala Center—provides cooperative and business development services to farmers, value-added producers, and small businesses. Check out (and support) their current list of cooperatives in Hawaiʻi!

CSA stands for “Community Supported Agriculture,” where customers can subscribe to the harvest of a certain farm or group of farms.

GoFarm Hawaiʻi—”Find Your Farmer” directory, with information for farmers providing CSA, delivery, and on-farm pick-up options.

Hawaiʻi Island Farmers’ Markets—full list curated by Edible Hawaiian Islands.

Hawaiʻi Farm-to-Car—a weekly virtual farmer’s market which allows shoppers to select their items before curbside pickup at a designated location; an innovative way for farmers and vendors to sell directly to consumers more safely and conveniently.

Fresh Feast CSA—by Adaptations, Inc., subscription-based service supporting sustainable farms on Hawaiʻi Island; itʻs the next best thing to growing food yourself!

Hawaiʻi Food Basket “Da Box” Program—purchases island-grown produce from local farmers and resells to customers island-wide.

The Locavore Store—Hilo’s all-local grocer, providing in-season produce and hand-crafted goods and products from local makers.

Hawaiʻi Food Basket—nonprofit with the mission of ending hunger in Hawaiʻi County. Get Supplemental Nutrition Access Program (SNAP) benefits information and learn how you, as a business or farmer, can donate!

Hawaii SNAP Hui—dig into the Double Up Food Bucks resource page to learn more about the program and to spread the word about the program to others!

CDC Healthier Worksite Initiative—Toolkits to help your business plan, implement, and evaluate worksite wellness programs.

Wellness Council of America (WELCOA)—has a variety of free information, including this Well Workplace Checklist (PDF).

Here’s 101 Low-Cost Ideas for Worksite Wellness.

Right Direction—helps employers identify and address depression in the workplace.

American Psychiatric Association Foundation—The Center for Workplace Mental Health has lots of great free resources.

  • Recycle Hawaiʻi—nonprofit organization serving the Island of Hawaiʻi, offering waste reduction resources for employers and employees!

Coming soon!

CirclePack Hawaiʻi—operates a mobile cardboard shredding service; sells recycled cardboard products, including packaging and composting materials.

Sustainable Island Products—family-owned, Hawaiʻi-based distributor of eco-friendly, compostable and recyclable alternatives to everyday single-use items.—Utilizes patented blends of PHA to create the world’s first, fully backyard compostable, child-resistant packaging. Materials are biosynthesized by a bacterium fed by inexpensive oils, grown in the US and Canada. All packaging is biodegradable, renewable, and sustainable.

👩🏽‍🌾 Value-Added Ag Products

Value-added agricultural products are produced in a way that increases value and shelf life. Generally they are prepared or processed, packaged or bottled, labeled, and marketed to a wide consumer base. Examples include jams, jellies, butters, cremes, soaps, lotions, roasted coffees, dried teas, baked goods, honey and bee products, etc.

GoFarm Hawaii—value-added agricultural product guide and frequently asked questions.

Certified Kitchen Tookit (Checklist)—great resource from the Hawaiʻi Island Food Alliance with information on who needs to use a certified kitchen and where to find them.

Hilo Food Hub—commercial kitchen in Keaukaha (Hilo) where local food businesses can establish and grow their brand.

The Arc of Hilo—offers a fully-permitted commercial cold kitchen available for rent to producers. Click here to email CEO Robert Efford for more information.

Hawaiʻi Master Food Preservers Facebook Group—Program created by the Hawaiʻi Tropical Fruit Growers Association for those interested in learning preservation techniques for value-added products. Contact Ken Love for more info.

Homemade Food Operation & Special Events Permits—video presentation by Food Safety Specialist Kyla Arruda from the Dept. of Health Sanitation Branch on Hawaiʻi Island (begins at 1:17min).

Hawaiʻi State Sanitation Branch—permit applications, forms, guidelines, and informational handouts for food establishments.

Hawaiʻi Foodservice Alliance LLC—HFA’s platform connects Hawaiʻi to the world, enabling local farmers and producers to expand their markets to all islands including export.

⭐️ Equity & Empowerment

Full Life Hawaiʻi—nonprofit empowering people with disabilities on Hawaiʻi Island! #renaissanceofinclusion

The Arc of Hilo—nonprofit providing vocational training for people with developmental and other disabilities.

Abled Hawaiʻi Artists—Celebrating the spectrum of creativity and promoting inclusive entrepreneurship in the arts!

ADA Fact Sheet Page—information on ADA employment, facilities, parking, service animals, etc.

Hiring Employees with Disabilities—U.S. SBA resource on hiring disabled individuals and as well as information on financial incentive programs.

Disability:IN—resources to achieve disability inclusion and equality in your business.

Small Business & Disability Employment: Steps to Success—excellent online guide from the Employer Assistance & Resource Network on Disability Inclusion.

North Hawaiʻi Action Network—The North Hawaii Action Network is a group of Hawaii Island community members committed to protecting human rights, civil liberties, equality, and the health of our home planet. They offer local businesses the chance to proudly welcome EVERYONE to their store, office, or service center with an Equality Pledge that they can proudly display.

Catholic Charities Hawaii—provides assistance with preparing and filing appropriate documents to individuals stabilize their immigration status.

Micronesians United—nonprofit empowering Micronesians for greater self reliance and educating the community at large about Micronesian culture.

Pacific Gateway Center—nonprofit providing various social services for immigrants and refugees as well as programs that provide job training, creation and placement.

Goodwill Industries of Hawaiʻi—Goodwill’s mission is to help people with employment barriers to reach their full potential and become self-sufficient.

Hawaiʻi Legacy Foundation—nonprofit whose mission is to support, empower, educate, unify, and facilitate LGBT organizations and individuals in Hawaiʻi. We’ve linked to their great list of resources.

Kumukahi Health + Wellness—nonprofit dedicated to building a healthier, stronger community with an emphasis on HIV and related health issues.

NGLCC—provides nationally recognized LGBT-owned business certification as well as resources to help those businesses grow.

Equality HI—newly formed nonprofit whose goal is to create an inclusive and diverse queer community through aloha, leadership, resources, services, and education.

Hawaiʻi Island LGBTQ Pride—annual gathering and festivities, usually in June. Local businesses are encouraged to celebrate and participate!

Minority Business Development Agency (U.S. Dept. of Commerce)—The MBDA Business Center Honolulu works with minority business enterprises to generate increased financing and contract opportunities.

The Pōpolo Project—Hawai‘i-based nonprofit redefining what it means to be Black in Hawai‘i.

Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA)—OHA offers Mālama Business Loans, providing working capital for Native Hawaiians to help establish or build upon a small business.

Hawaiʻi Island Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce—strengthening the Native Hawaiian community and businesses by supporting a thriving economy rooted in language, culture, and aloha.

Pop-Up Mākekestarted by the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement (CNHA) and community partners to help uplift small business owners in Hawaiʻi.—a directory project to help direct more customers to Native Hawaiian-owned businesses.

KūHana Business Program | Mahi‘ai Match-Up—a 10-week business plan course for Hawaiian and local entrepreneurs offered by the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement; partial scholarships available.

Purple Maiʻa—The Hiapo Program is designed to give Native Hawaiians and other indigenous groups the opportunity to transition into a new career in tech.

Nalukai Academy Startup Camp—a free, intensive ten-day entrepreneurship, technology, and design camp for high school students hosted with the goal of ushering in the next generation of intelligent, collaborative business professionals.

Hawaiʻi Island Business Plan Competition Student Tuition Scholarship—annual scholarship competition open to UH-Hilo, HCC, HCC Palamanui Campus, and Hawaii High School students.

Hoʻōla Veteran Services—serving military veterans, caregivers, first-responders and their families by providing opportunities to heal, connect, learn, grow and thrive.

USDA Opportunities for Veterans in Rural Business—supports entrepreneurial veterans who want start or grow a rural business with more than 40 loan, grant, and technical assistance programs available to help you get started.

Veterans Business Outreach Center of the Pacific—program of the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo, designed to provide entrepreneurial development services such as business training, counseling and mentoring, and referrals for eligible veterans owning or considering starting a small business.

U.S. Small Business Administration—information on funding programs, training, and federal contracting opportunities for veteran-owned businesses. Veteran Entrepreneur Portal—quickly connects Veteran entrepreneurs to relevant ‘best-practices’ and information.

Ladies Artisan Market—Empowering “Ladypreneurs” on the Big Island!

Patsy T. Mink Center for Business & Leadership—was established by YWCA O‘ahu, the U.S. Small Business Administration and a community of partners to become the only Women’s Business Center (WBC) in Hawai‘i.

Zonta Club of Hilo—Zonta Club of Hilo is part of Zonta International, an organization of professionals dedicated to empowering women worldwide through service and advocacy.

SCORE Women’s Initiative (Hawaiʻi)—comprised of female mentors, entrepreneurs, and business women; provides business support education and fellowship for its members.

Hawaii Biz Babes—monthly women-focused entrepreneurial workshops where grassroots businesses, healers, artists, and teachers are invited to network, learn and share.

U.S. Small Business Administration—federal resources for women-owned businesses.

🛍 Retail Opportunities

Big Island Boxa Hawaiʻi-Island-themed subscription gift box service, featuring vendors exclusively from the Big Island.

My Locker Program—HouseMart Ben Franklin Craft Stores support local crafters by providing them a space to display and promote their products or services in their stores.

Pop-Up Mākekestarted by the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement (CNHA) and community partners to help uplift small business owners in Hawaiʻi.

Etsy—e-commerce platform featuring millions of handmade and vintage items from independent sellers around the world; sellers manage their own orders and inventory through the platform.

📢 Marketing & Branding

Hawaiʻi Agriculture & Food Products Database—connects the world to local farmers, ranchers, and manufacturers that add value to the Hawaii-grown agricultural products. Allows vendors to upload their information and products to the searchable database.

Hawaiʻi Visitors & Convention Bureau—nonprofit marketing organization offering memberships which include directory and GoHawaii app listings focused on U.S. Mainland visitors to Hawaiʻi.

Joey Ann Marshall Design—offers visual branding for small businesses, including logos, print, and websites; based in Kailua-Kona.

Kaliko Designs—professional logo design and branding company based in Hilo which embraces the cultures and artwork of the Pacific.

Smart Shark Designs—Waikoloa-based digital artist offering logo creation and graphic design services.

Big Island MadeThat’s us! Members may use our branding on packaging, point-of-sale materials, collateral, or anything related to your business.

Hawaiʻi Seal of Quality—branding program managed by the Hawaiʻi Agricultural Development Division established to protect the integrity and value of local agricultural products, which must be entirely produced in Hawaiʻi to meet program standards.

Made in Hawaiʻi with Aloha—branding program managed by the Hawaiʻi Department of Agriculture (HDOA) and is promoted jointly by various departments at the state level.

808Decal—Get your automotive decals, stickers, shirts, and crafts made right here on Hawaiʻi Island for a great price!

Big Island Merch—family-owned embroidery and print service offering custom-branded apparel and merchandise in Kona.

Big Island Ink—Hilo business offering graphic design, screenprinting, embroidery, and more!

Creative Arts Hawaiʻi—offers wide range of services in Hilo and Kona including screenprinting, embroidery, promotional products, graphic design, banner printing, and more!

Yelp—Search for or claim your business on Yelp!

🎓 Business Education & Training

ThinkTech Hawaiʻi—check out the Adventures in Small Business educational video series for local businesses.

SCORE Hawaii—SCORE’s mission is to foster vibrant small business communities through mentoring and education. Donate, volunteer, find a mentor, or take a workshop!