Native Hawaiian firms have billion-dollar clout
The Census releases new data detailing the size of the growing sector
Companies owned by native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders on Oahu passed the $1 billion revenue mark in 2002, according to newly released data by the U.S. Census Bureau, which found 5,052 of those firms.
The survey data, released yesterday by the bureau, also revealed growing economic clout of the native businesses, tallied for the first time in a separate category.
In the five-year span between 1997 and 2002, the number of native Hawaiian- and Pacific Island-owned businesses grew 49.4 percent nationwide, more than triple the overall average of 10.3 percent.
The 28,948 businesses nationwide generated about $4.3 billion in revenue, 3.4 percent higher than in 1997.
More than half -- or 58 percent -- were native Hawaiian-owned businesses.
The survey also counted the number of firms owned by Guamanians, Chamorrans, Samoans and other Pacific Islanders.
Of all the categories of business, construction seemed the most popular, accounting for 21.2 percent of all native Hawaiian- and other Pacific Islander-owned business revenue.
A significant number -- nearly 21,000 -- operated health care and social assistance-related businesses. Others fell into retail trade, professional and technical services, administrative support and waste management.
Being counted in their own report was significant for many native Hawaiian leaders and business owners, such as Maile Meyer, co-owner of Native Books/Na Mea Hawaii.
Haunani Apoliona, chairwoman of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, applauded the U.S. Census for issuing separate estimates. Apoliona, who served on the bureau's race ethnic advisory council, said the data shined a light on the success and leadership role of native Hawaiian businesses.
The 2002 survey took data from a sample of more than 2.4 million businesses.
The bureau defined native Hawaiian- and Pacific Islander-owned business as those with a 51 percent or more ownership. In August, the bureau will issue data by gender of ownership by all race groups and people of Hispanic or Latino origin.
STATISTICS ON NATIVE HAWAIIAN BUSINESS
» Native Hawaiian firms with paid employees generated $3.5 billion and created 29,000 positions across the nation.
» A total of 727 native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander-owned firms had receipts of $1 million or more.
» Honolulu county tabulated 5,052 firms generating a total $1 billion in receipts.
» Hawaii and California accounted for 62.3 percent ($2.7 billion) of all native Hawaiian- and other Pacific Islander-owned business revenue.
» The state of Hawaii had the highest number of native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander owned firms (8,359), followed by California (7,074), New York (3,005), Florida (1,480) and Texas (1,391).