Resources For Hawaii Entrepreneurs

In less than two weeks, Startup Weekend will be happening for the first time in Hawaii. This is a very exciting news for the state’s growing number of high-tech entrepreneurs.

If you’re interested in founding your own startup company in Hawaii — in the high-tech, biotech, telecom, alternative energy, agriculture, medical, or other industry — below are more local resources that can help. (My recent list of small business resources is also applicable to startups.)

General Resources

Aloha StartUps – This blog covers Hawaii’s startup scene, highlighting new companies, up-and-coming entrepreneurs, product launches, recommended reading and tools, and local events for those interested in founding, joining, or investing in a startup in Hawaii.

High Technology Development Corporation (HTDC) – Offers services for tech startups in Hawaii, including office space, teleconferencing equipment, funding assistance, and workshops.

TechHui – If you’re interested in starting up a tech venture in Hawaii, this online forum will help you network with other techies, find employees and contractors, promote your startup, and keep abreast of the tech scene in Hawaii.

High Tech Maui – If you’re looking to start a high-tech business on Maui, this project of the Maui Economic Development Board offers workshops, networking events, info on business incentives, a directory of current high-tech businesses on Maui, and more.

Office Space

The Box Jelly – Billed as “Hawaii’s first coworking space,” The Box Jelly offers independent workers and entrepreneurs a creative, communal workspace in Honolulu with office and presentation equipment for $10/hour, $35/day, $100/week, or $300/month.

HTDC Incubation – The High Tech Development Corporation (HTCD) offers two types of workspace assistance for Hawaii startups: Its Tech Center Program, which provides state-of-the-art facilities and shared support services, and its Virtual Incubation Program, which provides home-based entrepreneurs with facilities, equipment, and conference rooms on an as-needed basis.

Funding & Mentorship

Hawaii Venture Capital Association (HVCA) – This business club works with the state legislature to develop bills and policies that will encourage entrepreneurship and technological development in Hawaii. It holds a monthly luncheon meeting that’s open to the public, where entrepreneurs, investors, and other business people can network and listen to keynote speakers. HVCA has a collection of videos on its site from past meetings and special events.

Hawaii Angels -This club of private “angel” investors accepts online submissions of business plans from “start-up companies with strong teams, proprietary technology, and large potential markets.” Each month, they select two business plans for presentation at their monthly meeting, where they will consider funding the ventures and mentoring the entrepreneurs involved.

Hawaii Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program – This federal program awards grants of up to $25,000 to qualifying early-stage companies in Hawaii for research and development.

Hawaii Strategic Development Corporation (HSDC) – This state agency invests in local venture capital funds, which in turn invest in Hawaii-based companies. HSDC is particularly interested in funding companies in tech industries, and is legally prohibited from investing in companies in the retail, housing construction, and tourism industries. HSDC will administer the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI), a recent federal allocation of $13 million to the state that is to be invested in Hawaii-based startups. For more details on SSBCI, read the FAQS, program overview, and program profile.

Hawaii Business and Entrepreneur Acceleration Mentors (HiBEAM) – This nonprofit provides a team of advisors to function as a “shadow” board of directors for Hawaii startups in the high-tech, biotech, and life science industries. This team of mentors provides the startup with expert advice and access to funding sources.

Tax Credits & Incentives

High Technology Business Investment Tax Credit – A nonrefundable 100% tax credit for those who invest in a qualifying high-tech company located in Hawaii.

Motion Picture, Digital Media & Film Production Income Tax Credit – A refundable 15-20% tax credit based on expenditures in Hawaii while producing a film, TV show, commercial, or digital media product. This tax credit is expected to increase to 35-40% in 2012.

Hawaii Enterprise Zone Partnership Program – For businesses that move into areas of Hawaii that could benefit from job growth. Qualifying locations are in areas of Oahu, Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island.

Industry-Specific Resources

Pacific International Center For High Technology Research (PICHTR) – Supports the research and development of renewable energy technologies for the Hawaii and Asia-Pacific region.

Hawaii Renewable Energy Development Venture (HREDV) – In partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy, HREDV invests in “clean energy” ventures in Hawaii and provides training and mentorship for entrepreneurs in the state’s clean-energy industry.

Hawaii Technology Development Venture (HTDV) – Invests in the development and commercialization of defense and homeland security technologies for use by the U.S. Department of Defense.

Center of Excellence For Research In Ocean Sciences (CEROS) – Invests in research and development of ocean science technologies for use by the U.S. Department of Defense.

Pacific Telehealth & Technology Hui – A joint venture of the U.S. Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs that supports the research and development of health-care technologies for veterans, members of the military and their dependents, and federal beneficiaries in the Pacific region.