HIR Enterprises

Cohort 2:  2015 – 2016

26 Pioneering Entrepreneurs Representing 14 Innovative Enterprises: 5 For Profits (FP), 9 Nonprofits (NP).

Awaiaulu (NP)

awaiaulu-logoAwaiaulu was established in 2004 to generate resources and resource people to bridge the historical knowledge in the Hawaiian language repository to today.  Translation training is aligned with resource development to produce materials for both Hawaiian and English-reading audiences, while translators are trained to understand and translate historical texts for use today.

Participants: Kauʻi Sai-Dudoit and Spencer Kamuela Yim

 Hawaiʻi Island Youth Corps (NP)

hiyc-logoHawaii Island Youth Corps was born out of a need to support youth in the transition to young adulthood. HIYC provides opportunities for youth and young adults, allowing them to readily navigate their path to and through adulthood. We are focused on empowering the youth & young adults of Hawaii Island through experience based education, cultural studies, mentoring, entrepreneurial ventures, job training, and the pursuit of higher education.

Participant: Anthony Savvis and Leimamo Lind-Strauss

Hawaiʻi Food Basket (NP)

food-basket-logoFounded in 1989 and Incorporated as a 501(c)3 as a non-profit in 2007, The Food Basket, Hawai`i Island’s Food Bank has decades of experience in connecting Hawaii’s food with Hawaii’s people.  The Food Basket is exploring new ways of connecting the food system through our extensive distribution experience, striving to integrate our culture and values with modern economics. improve overall profitability. And we support our consumer clients by providing affordable access to unique mobile dining experiences.

Participants: En Young and JoAnn Abiliey

Hoʻokuaʻāina (NP)

hookuaaina-logoHo‘okua‘āina is a non-profit nestled in the ahupua’a of Kailua at Kapalai in Maunawili on the island of Oʻahu. It is a manifestation of Dean and Michele Wilhelm’s vision to create a gathering place for people in the community to connect with and care for the ‘āina, perpetuate Hawaiian culture through the cultivation and preparation of kalo, and to be a place that would ultimately bring healing to people, especially at-risk youth. Since 2007, the Wilhelms along with a hui of collaborators and community volunteers have restored 7.6 acres to an abundant and productive taro farm. Today the lo’i is an ideal outdoor learning environment and valuable asset to the Windward community as well as a productive farm enterprise. We are literally “rebuilding lives from the ground up” by offering life skills training and mentoring programs to at-risk youth, it’s the farming of kalo that is the means to this end.

Participants: Dean and Michele Wilhelm

 Holoholo General Store (FP)

holoholo-logoHoloholo General Store has the passion to make Hawaiʻi more food sustainable- and to improve the health of our communities- by increasing accessibility to local produce.  Our mission is to be Hawaiʻi’s preferred source of premium, locally-grown food and specialty items and to influence the strengthening of Hawaiʻi’s agriculture through non-conventional distribution. The Holoholo Farm, CSA and Food Hub strive to connect local food to local people; we aggregate, distribute and market farmers’ goods with the belief that farmers and producers are stronger when we work together.

Participants: Jamie Sexton and Jill Nordby

Kākoʻo ʻŌiwi (NP)

kakoo-oiwi-logoKākoʻo ʻŌiwi is a non-profit agricultural enterprise whose mission is to perpetuate the cultural and spiritual practices of Native Hawaiians. Since 2010, our organization has been working to restore agricultural and ecological productivity to a 405-acre area within the wetlands of Heʻeia, Oʻahu. We produce a variety of traditional and other high-value crops for local markets and provide ʻāina-based educational opportunities to the community.

Participants: Kanekoa Schultz, Jan Yoshioka and Nick Reppun

Kamaʻaha Education Initiative (NP)

kamaaha-logoKamaʻaha Education Initiative is a 501(c)(3) Hawaiʻi-based corporation leading the development of Lononuiākea a collective impact initiative that brings together a cross-sector of partners to create systemic change in order to increase Native Hawaiians in the science, technology, engineering, arts and math.   Through the Hawaiian language and the Papakū Makawalu methodology, our innovations have already spurred the next iteration of STEAM practices for Hawaiʻi and the world.

Participants: Olani Lilly and Louisa Lee

Kanu o ka ʻĀina New Century Public Charter School (NP)

kanu-o-ka-logoKanu o ka ʻĀina in its 15th year of operation, is the longest standing Hawaiian-focused charter school serving North Hawai’i students from kindergarten through 12th grades. As a community-based learning ‘ohana, KANU is a forerunner in contemporary Hawaiian medium education and is steadfast in cultivating compassionate, empowered, highly competent learners of all ages, grounded in Native Hawaiian culture and language.

Participant: Mahina Duarte

Kealopiko (FP)

kealopiko-logoKealopiko creates design and clothing inspired by the natural, cultural and historical landscapes of Hawai`i, our home. We strive to bring elements of the world of our kupuna (ancestors and elders) to contemporary design: native plants and animals, ʻōlelo Hawai`i (Hawaiian language), our aliʻi (chiefs and monarchs) and the moʻolelo (stories and history) of our existence in these islands. Each design created seeks inform and inspire, weaving together elements good aesthetic and moʻolelo. Part of our mission is to give back to these islands we are so thankful to be from. We do this by donating a portion of our profits to organizations that support cultural education and environmental conservation in Hawaii.

Participants: Ane Bakutis, Hina Kneubuhl, and Jamie Makasobe

Kōkua Kalihi Valley: ROOTS Program and Hoʻouluʻaina (NP)

kokua-logoLocated on 100 acres in the back of Kalihi valley, Hoʻoulu ʻĀina is welcoming place of refuge where people of all cultures sustain and propagate the connections between the health of the land and the health of the people. Through community-empowered native reforestation, organic farming, ancient site restoration, and the perpetuation of Hawaiian cultural practices, we work to remember that the breath of the land and the life of the people are one. ROOTS is an ʻāina-to-table program that uses food to connect individuals, families, communities and organizations to health. Centering around food as a source of nourishment, identity, and connection, project activities build bonds between community members as they cultivate food and medicine, cook together, share traditional practices for food preparation, and eat together in common spaces.

Participants: Kaiulani Odom and Puni Jackson

Local Iʻa (FP)

local-la-logoLocal I‘a is a sustainable seafood distributor – a Community Supported Fishery enterprise that provides fresh, local, and pono (sustainable) seafood direct from fishers to customers. Our mission is to improve consumer access to fresh, locally caught seafood, support sustainable fishing livelihoods, and invest in sustainable fisheries management to support seafood for future generations.

Participants: Jack Kittinger, Ashley Watts, and Jason Philibotte

Natural Resources Data Solutions (FP)

natural-resources-logoNatural Resource Data Solutions works with researchers, conservation teams, and land managers to help effectively conserve natural resources. Their data management solutions integrate day-to-day data collection, short and long term strategy, fiscal management, and reporting.

Participant: Sam Aruch

Oʻahu Fresh (FP)

oahu-fresh-logoSince 2009, Oʻahu Fresh has been Oʻahu’s food hub delivering produce direct from the farm to homes offices, restaurants, hotels, and schools.  Oʻahu Fresh also provides direct support to its farm partners through distribution, business planning, grant writing and project management services.

Participant: Matt Johnson

Founding Cohort: 2013 – 2014

HIR was privileged to co-create this program with 14 impactful ventures– most with deep roots in the Hawaiʻi community. This Cohort demonstrates the tremendous potential island enterprise embodies. Following is a snapshot of each enterprise impact thesis from a short video recorded at community presentations held August 2013. Note that “FP” indicates a For Profit structure and “NP” indicates a Nonprofit structure.

Hui Kū Maoli Ola (FP)

Transforming Land Back into ʻAina

Founded in 2009, Hui Kū Maoli Ola is the only company in Hawai’i specializing in all aspects of native habitat restoration and landscaping from seed collection to propagation, consultation, installation and maintenance.

Participants: Rick Kaponowaiwaiola Barboza and Kapaliku “Matt” Schirman

Kainalu Ranch (FP)

Making a Living Out of a Way of Life

For the Molokai community, residents of Hawaiʻi and beyond, who need place-based, culturally relevant land management to be reinvigorated and who need to play a role in that revival, Kainalu Ranch represents a unique opportunity as a private, family-owned enterprise to help bring ahupuaʻa based management into the 21st century, that provides opportunities for others so they might make a living out of our way of life, and do what is righteous/pono for themselves and their place, wherever that may be.

Participants: Stephanie Dunbar Co and Eric Co


Everywhere, anytime Hawaiian Language

Kū is a native Hawaiian practitioner, educator, scholar, researcher, Hawaiian language and culture expert and composer.  KŪ-A-KANAKA  offers affordable, fun, interactive, anytime, anywhere Hawaiian language programs to increase the use of Hawaiian language in every-day life.

Participants: Kū Kahakalau, PhD and Iʻini Kahakalau

A Hawai‘i-based non-profit founded in 2007, Kupu Hawaiʻi empowers youth to serve their communities through character-building, service learning and environmental stewardship.

Participants: Matthew Bauer and Ashley Lukens

Local Catch (FP)

Rebuilding Global Fisheries Through Improved Community Access to Local, Sustainable Seafood

Local Catch, founded in 2011, believes that healthy seafood comes from healthy oceans and healthy communities.  They recognize that investment in both conservation and the local fishing economy supports sustainable fisheries.  Local Catch is a membership based Community Supported Fishery that provides fresh seafood direct from local fisheries to local families.

Participant: Alan Lovewell

Lunalilo Home (NP)

Lunaliloʻs Promise, Dignity for our Kupuna

A non-profit founded in 1883 and established by the will of High Chief William Charles Lunalilo, Lunalilo Home provides compassionate residential care, adult day care, respite care, home-delivered meals, caregiver workshops and elder care assistance to kupuna, their families and the community.

Participants: Nalei Akina, Kuhio Asam and Kamani Kualaʻau

MA’O Organic Farms (NP)

Growing Young Leaders & Organic Food for a Sustainable Hawaiʻi

Founded in 2001, MAʻO utilizes the rigor of their organic farm in Waianae as the platform for working with Hawaiʻi’s youth – providing internship and co-management opportunities and a chance to earn their way to higher education while receiving training as farmers, empowering them to be leaders in solving the food security challenge for all Hawaiʻi nei.

Participants: Gary and Kukui Maunakea-Forth, Kamuela Enos, and Cheryse Kaui Sana

Nohopapa Hawai’i (FP) 

Linking Hawaiʻi’s Past with its Future

Nohopapa Hawaiʻi is the first and only Hawaiian owned cultural resource management firm that researches, documents and inspires communities to reconnect to their tangible and intangible past.  They provide a full range of services rooted in a Hawaiian worldview in regards to genealogical, historical, and archaeological research, as well as consultation regarding preservation, adaptive re-use, restoration, and all aspects of historic preservation compliance for government, private businesses and communities.

Participants: Kekuewa Kikiloi, PhD and Kelley Uyeoka, MA

ʻŌiwi TV (FP) 

Hawaiian Worldview on Demand 

Launched in 2009,  ʻŌiwi TV is the only video broadcaster focusing on Hawaiian and Hawaiian worldview programming that engages, educates and entertains from a Hawaiian perspective – reinforcing the Native Hawaiian identity through their ways of thinking, being, and acting. distinguishing them as a unique and relevant people locally, nationally, and globally.

Participants: Naʻalehu  Anthony and Keoni Lee

Paepae o Heʻeia (NP) 

Building Community One Pohāku at a Time

Founded in 2001 to mālama (care for) Heʻeia  Fishpond, Paepae o He‘eia is an 800-year old 88-acre brackish water pond on the Island of Oʻahu – one of the largest intact and producing fishponds in Hawai’i.

Participants: Keliʻi Kotubetey and Hiʻilei  Kawelo

Established in 2000 with a desire to improve Hawaiʻi’s environment and communities, Pono Pacific has become the premier conservation and natural resource management company offering comprehensive and sustainable land management solutions statewide.

Participants: Luke Estes, and Lei Leong

Street Grindz (FP)

Fueling Hawaiʻi’s Mobile Food Industry

Founded in 2010 Street Grindz is a mobile food industry event planning and capacity building company providing access and opportunities to Hawaii’s small and mobile food businesses.  We support our client entrepreneurs by – creating events and destinations to conduct business, marketing their services, providing business coaching, and sharing best practices designed  to improve overall profitability. And we support our consumer clients by providing affordable access to unique mobile dining experiences.

Founders: Poni Askew and Brandon Askew

Town (FP)

Town is reconnecting people to the food they east and those they eat with by offering the residents of Hawaiʻi community gathering places that serve delicious food and drink and are built on the foundation of “local first, organic whenever possible, and with aloha always.”

Participants: Ed Kenney, Gemma Hazen

Waipā Foundation (NP)

Connecting People to the Land Through Stewardship, Food and Culture

Waipā Foundation manages the 1,600 acre ahupuaʻa  of Waipā on Kaua‘i’s  north shore.  Founded in 1994, the foundation is a trusted partner to this remote rural community providing culturally relevant learning, innovative community-based economic development, and local food system support.

Participants: Stacy Sproat-Beck and Johanna Ventura