Fledgling biz chamber hopes to be heard on Maui
The Maui Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce and a few of its well-heeled friends are staging a two-day Business Fest at the Grand Wailea Resort
Tuesday and Wednesday.
The resort, Maui Petroleum Inc., Dowling Co., A&B Foundation and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs have made the free, but invitation-only conference a reality.
The two-and-a-half-year-old chamber has about 100 members but hopes to grow, said board member and conference chairman Mercer Vicens. A Web site is in the works, too.
The event "is a way of being able to allow small businesses to communicate and collaborate," in order to become "a voice in the Maui community," he said.
"The lieutenant governor is going to be there, the mayor is going to be there and we have interesting panelists ... so that we can keep (attendees) busy and on the tip of their seats."
Attendees run the gamut, including construction and transportation companies, the electrical and plumbing trades, mom-and-pop businesses and more, Vicens said.
The program covers a ton of bases, as this is organizers' first effort and they want conference seeds spread far and wide, or, broadcast, as farmers used to put it.
More on the broadcast aspect in a moment.
"The Fish and Poi of Hawaiian Business in a Kukui Nut Shell," is one presentation title. Other sessions will cover affordable and work-force housing; establishing and marketing a business; the business of entertainment; and keeping one's business Hawaiian -- and that's just the first day.
Retired judge Boyd Mossman was the chamber's first president and is still on the board. "We're trying to hit everybody at once in a short time," Mossman said.
He is also a trustee for OHA, which is co-sponsoring the event "with the intent and purpose being to ... educate and inform Hawaiians that they can be successful in business, and, how to do it."
A second-day topic sure to resonate long after the singing of "Hawaii Aloha," is the announcement of OHA's revolving loan fund. Long dormant, "it's going to be expanded," and won't be officially unveiled on Oahu until Thursday, Mossman said.
The OHA radio show, "Na Oiwi Olino," hosted by Brickwood Galuteria and Kimo Kahoano, will give listeners a taste of the event each day from 7 to 9 a.m. on the air or online via KKNE-AM 940.
is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin. Call 529-4747, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210, Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org