Schatz, Hirono, Gabbard Announce More Than $1 Million for Economic Development Projects in Hawaii

UH and State Agencies to Receive Federal Funds

Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Senators Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) and Mazie Hirono (D-Hawai‘i), and Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) announced more than $1 million in federal funding for programs aimed to incentivize and further generate economic growth, innovation, and entrepreneurship.

“Investing in programs that spur innovation and boost startup businesses is one of the best ways to create jobs,” Senator Schatz said.  “These investments will give UH and state agencies the resources to develop business and research programs that will create jobs and grow our local economy.”

“These grants will help provide Hawai‘i entrepreneurs with assistance that allows them to take their ideas and turn them into new businesses,” said Senator Hirono.  "Innovation is a key ingredient for a thriving economy. While Hawai‘i businesses face unique challenges, they also face unique opportunities and this support from the U.S. Economic Development Administration will help our businesses grow, create jobs, and increase production of local consumer goods."

“These federal economic development grants will provide more than $1 million to local programs supporting our most innovative entrepreneurs,” said Congresswoman Gabbard. “We have so much homegrown talent right here in Hawai‘i; we need to make sure we are empowering people who will strengthen our local economy and create jobs through innovation. In my conversations with local start-up leaders, I have been so impressed by their drive to make Hawai‘i a ‘Start-Up Paradise.’ Their work, combined with support like this, creates great opportunity for Hawai‘i’s bright economic future.”

“Thank you to Senators Schatz and Hirono, and Congresswoman Gabbard for supporting our application for these funds,” said Richard Lim, Director, Hawai‘i State Department of Business Economic Development and Tourism. “These funds will help expand the global reach and export of Hawai‘i's creative entrepreneurs in the broadband, film, television, new media, music and design clusters,” said Georja Skinner, Administrator, Creative Industries Division, Hawai‘i State Department of Business Economic Development and Tourism.

The Hawai‘i Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism will receive a $400,000 investment to support a technical assistance program for entrepreneurs in Hawai‘i.  The program focuses on launching new businesses and products for export in the film, creative media, new media, music, and fashion design industries.

The University of Hawai‘i will receive $510,000 to help renovate the Shidler School of Business.  The facility will serve as an accelerator to commercialize and license research ideas at the main campus of the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa.

The State of Hawai‘i Office of Planning will receive $180,000 to fund a major revision and update of the Hawai‘i Statewide Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS).  The CEDS process is designed to bring together the public and private sectors in the creation of an economic development roadmap to diversify and strengthen the regional economy.