SBA Hawaii-Pacific Islands District Office - News & Upcoming Events


u s small business administration


What a National Small Business Week we had!

First, it is our pleasure to congratulate again our National Small Business award winners!

Small Business Person of the Year

State Winner:  Scott Loomer - Truss Systems Hawaii, Inc. (located on Maui)

Honolulu County Winner:  Erin Kanno Uehara - Choco le’a

Maui County:  Kihei Rent A Car - Lynn Nalani Solu

Hawaii County:  Gypsea Gelato - Timothy & Sandra Heaton


Women In Business Champion

State Winner:  Susan Utsugi - Central Pacific Bank (Oahu)

Kauai County:  Brianna Greer - LEI Kauai

Hawaii County:  Aesha Shaprio - Ladies Artisan Market


Women-Owned Business of the Year

State Winner:  Ahu Hettema - Istanbul Restaurant (located on Oahu)

Honolulu County Winner:  Marie Kumabe - Kumabe HR

Maui County Winner:  Mitzi Toro - The Maui Cookie Lady


Veteran-Owned Business of the Year

State Winner:  Hideo Simon - Square Barrels (located on Oahu)


Family-Owned Business of the Year

State Winner:  Ronald Anthony Rodrigues - Commercial Tire Source (located on Maui)

Kauai County Winner:  Lori Koga - Tanaka Hardware


Young Entrepreneur of the Year

State Winner: Rennell Soro & Danielle Hawxhurst, Kona Crust (located on Big Island)

Our celebrations started off on Tuesday, May 3rd, when Mayor Rick Blangiardi honored the State & Honolulu County award winners in the City Council Chamber.

Winners at the City Council Chamber

Front Row L-R: Susan Utsugi, Erin Uehara, Mayor Rick Blangiardi, Nilgun Yildirim, Ahu Hettema, Hideo Simon.  Back Row L-R: District Director, Mark Spain, Deputy District Director, Hazel Beck, Councilman Calvin Say, Councilwoman Carol Fukunaga and Marie Kumabe.  

We had a fantastic National Small Business Week Friday!  We started off at the Hawaii State Capitol.  Most of our award winners were able to join Senator Glenn Waikai and Representative Patrick Branco for a ceremony in the Auditorium.

Winners at the State Capitol

Front Row L-R: Susan Utsugi, Aesha Shapiro, Erin Uehara and Danielle Hawxhurst.  Back Row L-R: Marie Kumabe, Brianna Greer, Scott Loomer, Mitzi Toro, Rennell Saro and Hideo Simon.

Later Friday evening, our week-long celebration continued for our 14 Hawaii SBA National Small Business Week award winners!  Our event was held at the historic YWCA in Honolulu and attended by over 135 people! 

Winners at the State Small Biz Event

L-R: Ahu Hettema, Mitzi Toro, Scott Loomer, Brianna Greer, Marie Kumabe, Erin Uehara, Lori Koga, Danielle Hawxhurst, Rennell Saro, Tim & Sandra Heaton, Aesha Shapiro, Ryan Simons, Susan Utsugi, Hideo Simon and Ronald Rodrigues

Our Emcee, Roseann Freitas, Public Relations & Communications Manager for the Better Business Bureau, Great West & Pacific was amazing!

Mahalo to all the nominators for bringing these companies forward for recognition!  Nominators included:  Hawaii National Bank, Central Pacific Bank, the Hawaii Small Business Development Centers (West Hawaii and Kauai), the Veterans Business Outreach Center of the Pacific, the Mink Center for Business & Leadership Women’s Business Center and the Maui Chamber of Commerce.

Special thanks to the Mayors on the Neighbor Islands for their recognition of the SBA NSBW award winners:  Mitch Roth – Hawaii County; Michael Victorino – Maui County; Derek Kawakami – Kauai County.

Special thanks to our Co-sponsor, the Maui Chamber of Commerce, for marketing & promoting the event and for expertly handling the fiscal agent responsibilities!  You are amazing, Pam Tumpap and Amber Coutsos!!

Mahalo to our Co-sponsor, The Patsy T Mink Center for Business & Leadership Women’s Business Center, Director Collen McAluney and her team for coordinating the menu, securing the lovely venue and supporting our event!  Mahalo to the staff at Café Julia!

Thanks to Naomi Hazelton, Element Media, for providing the current issue of Pacific Edge Magazine containing the program for the evening’s events.

Shout out to Wendy Chang, YWCA champion and social media influencer, for posting Roseann’s interviews!

Special thanks go out to Mitzi Toro - the one, the only - The Maui Cookie Lady for sharing her delicious treats with all our guests.

Our floral vendor for the event, The Kaimuki Lei Stand, created the incredible lei and centerpieces!

Mark Spain and I send a big Mahalo to HPIDO Staff who helped us make this event memorable – Michael Youth, Mary Dale, Sheila Taeza!

Working tirelessly behind the scenes to plan and coordinate our event to ensure that we had a celebration worthy of the amazing small businesses we honored, Mahalo nui loa to Valerie Kubota!  Her special touches were everywhere!

Last, but not least, thanks to our own Joyce Quinn and her sister, Nancy Zotter, for capturing our event in photos!  Job well done!

When you get a chance, stop by these businesses to offer them your congratulations and patronage!

It is not too early to start thinking about nominations for 2023!  Nominations will open in the Fall.  Watch for future details.

See you next month!


Go to and check out the Small Business Events section to register or find out about more events.

Thinking of Buying a Business? What are the first 5 steps before you buy?
Presented by: Hawaii SBDC
May 12, 2022, Thursday, 4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Cost: $15
Registration/more information: Thinking of Buying Business? What are the first 5 steps before you buy? (

Building Your Business Budget
Presented by: Patsy T. Mink Center for Business & Leadership (MCBL)
May 17, 2022, Tuesday, 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. (In-person Event)
Registration/more information:

Business Registration Training Class
Presented by: Patsy T. Mink Center for Business & Leadership (MCBL)
May 24, 2022, Tuesday, 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. via Zoom
Cost: $25
Registration/more information:

Market Research for Small Businesses Selling to Big Buyers
Presented by: Hawaii PTAC
May 25, 2022, Wednesday, 8:30 a.m. –10 a.m.
Registration/more information: Webinar Registration - Zoom

Starting a Business in Hawaii
Presented by: Hawaii SBDC
May 25, 2022, Wednesday, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon
Registration/more information: Starting a Business in Hawaii (

Marketing Success Depends on Effective Public Speaking
Presented by: SCORE
May 26, 2022, Thursday, 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
Registration/more information:

How to Write a Business Plan
Presented by: Hawaii SBDC
May 26, 2022, Thursday, 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Cost: $15
Registration/more information: Register (

Forecasts & Updates from US Army Corps of Engineers Honolulu District
Presented by: Hawaii PTAC
June 7, 2022, Tuesday, 1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Registration/more information: Webinar Registration - Zoom

8(a), HUBZone and Certifications Workshop
Presented by: SBA
June 9, 2022, Thursday, 2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. HST
June 10, 2022, Friday, 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Guam ST
Registration/more information:

WE by Rising Tide (Women Entrepreneurs Program)
Sponsored by: CPB Foundation and aio Foundation, in partnership with the Patsy T. Mink Center for Business & Leadership and Rising Tide Hawaii
August 3 – October 5, 2022, Wednesdays, 5:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Registration/more information: Rising Tide | Hawaii's Small Business Resource (
Apply by June 3, 2022

2022 Pacific Defense Contracting Summit (Virtual & In-Person)
Presented by Defense Leadership Forum
September 27 - 29, 2022, Tuesday - Thursday, 8:00 a.m.
Cost: $395 + fees for virtual attendee; $1,100 + fees for business attendee; no refunds
Registration/more information: 2022 Pacific Defense Contracting Summit Registration, Tue, Sep 27, 2022 at 7:00 AM | Eventbrite

About the U.S. Small Business Administration

The U.S. Small Business Administration makes the American dream of business ownership a reality. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow or expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit

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