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By Andrew Rosen, NHCC Executive Director


It is well documented that 50% of micro and small businesses will go out of business after five years. Native Hawaiian business stats are even worse.

There are several reasons for failure, however, we will focus on ways to increase the growth and sustainability of Native Hawaiian micro and small business, the lifeblood of our economy.

As a nonprofit, the Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce (NHCC), has been serving our community since 1974. Our mission is to “mālama Native Hawaiians in business and commerce through leadership, relationships and connections to economic resources and opportunities.” Much of our membership consists of micro and small businesses – which is what led to the creation of Hoʻomana.

Project Hoʻomana will support and educate micro and small business owners to accelerate growth and increase their chances to thrive. The goal is to increase the success rate of these businesses by 20% over five years.

This summer, NHCC is launching a pilot program beginning with 10 micro businesses. The City & County of Honolulu’s Office of Economic Revitalization is a supporter and recognizes the importance of this much-needed training.

We are hoping that we can secure a 2024 earmark from Sen. Brian Schatz so we can expand this program for up to 150 micro and small businesses.

Hoʻomana will help level the playing field, providing the necessary training and support that micro and small businesses need to get through the hurdle of the first five years of operation.

At the conclusion of the program, our goal is that participants will better focus on defining the core values of their company, identify the characteristics of their best customers, learn how to create a brand identity, and leave with a stronger business plan.

Once they have a stronger business plan and a brand identity, program participants will learn how to reach customers effectively and efficiently, including the use of e-commerce. This should help ensure long-term success and sustainability.

This is an exciting time for the chamber as we are increasing our investment in ways that will help Native Hawaiian commerce thrive.

Me ke aloha pumehana.