In Brief | Island Inc.


Technology accelerator accepting applicants

Blue Startups, a Hawaii-based technology accelerator with an Asia and Pacific focus, is accepting applications for a second cohort of startup companies. Founded by Henk Rogers of Blue Planet Software, Blue Startups provides investment capital and mentorship to startup companies in Hawaii.

“Blue Startups’ first cohort has outperformed our expectations,” said Rogers.

The first eight companies that have gone through the Blue Startups program have collectively attracted more than $3 million in investment capital. According to program alumni, the mentorship and support received at Blue Startups was critical in moving their business to the next level

“The mentorship was right on point and highly relevant to our company,” said Dave Kosuki, chief executive officer of Tow Choice.

Blue Startups is recruiting capital-efficient and scalable-technology companies, including Internet, software, mobile, gaming and e-commerce. The program accepts up to ten companies for each cohort. The next application deadline is July 31.

Blue Startups is introducing an opportunity to the second cohort: “Henk’s Wild Card.” In addition to the regular program, entrepreneurs will be able to apply for the opportunity to develop Rogers’ next business idea.

Blue Startups has a network of more than 50 mentors who assist in accelerating the startup companies in the program. Blue Startups has funding from the State of Hawaii, Hawaii Strategic Development Corporation and private investors.

“Our island state is earning the brand of ‘Startup Paradise’ as the word spreads about the globally competitive nature of our entrepreneurs,” said Chenoa Farnsworth, Blue Startups managing director.

Each participating company receives an up-front investment of $20,000 and access to more than $500,000 in services. Workspace for each founding team (up to three people) is provided at Blue Startups Honolulu offices. In exchange for the capital and in-kind services provided, Blue Startups takes an equity stake in each company.

For more information, visit bluestartups.com.

Strong second quarter for bank

The most recent First Hawaiian Bank Business Activity Report showed aN 8.40 percent increase in second quarter “same store sales” over the comparable period of 2012, making it the strongest second quarter in the past four years, according to an announcement today by Keith Nagata, senior vice president and business services manager. For the first six months of 2013, overall card sales transactions for both debit and credit cards are up 9.68 percent over the first half of 2012.

“The hotels and shipping sectors have posted solid double digit increases for four consecutive quarters to date which is further indication of a healthy, thriving economy,” Nagata said. “Tourism remains the economic driver with hotels showing positive growth in 13 out of the 14 quarters measured.”

The 8.40 percent is the highest second quarter increase in four years and is the 14th consecutive quarter of positive growth. Previous second quarter increases were: 8.05 percent in 2012, 7.99 percent in 2011, and 4.07 percent in 2010. The BAR tracks sales activity in 16 different economic sectors including automobile, retail, hotels, home improvement, restaurants, shipping and travel, among other categories.

First Hawaiian Bank is the largest local processor of credit and debit card transactions in Hawaii. In 2012, the bank processed $4.3 billion worth of customer credit and debit card sales transactions. The bank provides merchant services to nearly 7,000 First Hawaiian Bank merchant locations throughout Hawaii, Guam, CNMI and the U.S. mainland.

First Hawaiian Bank (fhb.com) with total assets of $16.4 billion was founded in 1858 and is Hawaii’s largest and oldest bank. The bank processes all major U.S. credit cards as well as JCB, China Union Pay and BC Global Card.

Forum to deliver economic forecast

First Hawaiian Bank’s 38th annual Hawaii County Business Outlook Forum will take place Aug. 22 at the Hapuna Beach Prince Resort.

Registration is at 4 p.m. and the presentation begins at 4:30 p.m., followed by a cocktail reception.

Jack Suyderhoud is a business economics professor at the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s Shidler College of Business. He will present the Big Island economic forecast for 2014.

Ken Miller is the chief investment strategist and director of investment services at First Hawaiian Bank. He will give the U.S. and global economic forecast and market analysis.

This event is presented by First Hawaiian Bank and the Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce. The cost is $45 for Chamber and Rotary members or $55 for non-members. Reservations are required and should be done by Aug. 22.

For more information, call the Chamber at 329-1758.

Business expo next month in Waimea

The first Waimea Business Expo will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Aug. 2 at Kanu o ka Aina New Century Public Charter School on Hiiaka Street in Waimea. Business community exhibitors are invited. Space is limited and there’s a $25 booth fee.

The event is free and open to the public. Workshops include “Is Entrepreneurship For You?” by Hazel Beck; “Social Media for your Business” and “Top 20 Business Apps” with Liz Zagorodney; and “Business Strategic Planning” with Kari Waldhaus.

For more information, call Jackie Muller at 327-3650 or email jacqueline.muller@hisbdc.org. To sign up for a booth, go to waimeabusinessexpo.eventbrite.com.

Fundraising professionals to lead workshop

The Association of Fundraising Professionals Aloha Chapter is bringing its “AFP Planning to Keep Your Donors” workshop to Hawaii Island. This workshop has been held on Maui and Kauai and the chapter is encouraging Big Island fundraisers to attend.

This six-hour workshop, presented by AFP Aloha Chapter President Sarah Tenney, includes a lecture and discussion. Following the workshop, participants will be able to identify best practices to retain donors to improve the effectiveness of an organizations fundraising efforts.

The workshop will take place from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 2 at Parker School in Waimea. The fee is $25 for AFP Aloha Chapter members and $60 for nonmembers.

In addition to fundraising professionals, the workshop is also open to executive directors and board members from all nonprofits on the Big Island. The chapter hopes to increase awareness of its 30th anniversary and new strategic plan, which includes strengthening education and engagement of fundraising professionals and nonprofit staff statewide.

There’s an opportunity on Hawaii Island to increase the number of professional fundraisers with the Certified Fundraising Executive credential. Without more Certified Fundraising Executive credential holders on each island in Hawaii, the delivery of best practices that helps transfer the basics of professional fundraising and advances philanthropy is severely challenged,” said Tenney, one of the 14 credential holders in Hawaii and an instructor in the Chaminade University Nonprofit MBA program.

The workshop will also feature discussion on more networking opportunities for Hawaii Island members. One possible option is the chapter’s monthly networking event, “Lunch & Laugh.” During the workshop’s lunch, attendees will brainstorm future topics and possible locations to hold “Lunch & Laugh” events.

For more information or to register for the limited seating event, visit afphawaii.com. For AFP chapter membership, email office@afphawaii.org.

— MOVERS & SHAKERS —

Two promoted to finance leadership positions

Hawaiian Airlines recently announced the appointments of Donna Ishii to the position of director of corporate reporting and Keith Asato to the position of director of Securities and Exchange Commission reporting.

As director of corporate reporting, Ishii is responsible for overseeing internal financial reporting. She brings 21 years of accounting and financial analysis experience to Hawaiian, having previously served as reporting and analysis manager at Servco Pacific Inc. for six years. Prior to this, she served as senior financial analyst at Starbucks Coffee Hawaii and business analyst at Louis Vuitton Hawaii Inc.

Ishii is a graduate of Waiakea High School and holds a bachelor’s of business administration degree in accounting from the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

As director of SEC reporting and SOX compliance, Asato is responsible for overseeing Hawaiian’s financial reporting to Securities and Exchange Commission, as well as ensuring the company’s accurate reporting in compliance with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. He brings to Hawaiian 12 years of experience in accounting, auditing and financial reporting in Hawaii, having previously served as corporate controller at Hoku Corporation; manager, assurance & advisory services at Accuity LLP; and senior associate, assurance and advisory services at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP.

Asato is a graduate of Kaiser High School and holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting and finance from Georgetown University.

By local sources.