2021 in Review

2021 Highlights Main Banner


2021 is the year of re-building Hawaii.
Our team has been focused on securing funding opportunities, deepening industry partnerships,
strengthening stakeholder and community engagement, investing in program optimization
and accelerating innovation-based initiatives.

( for the full report – view online or download here )


2021 Highlights Economic Revitalization Banner

Secured federal funding and grants to assist organizations with digital transformation and enhanced resiliency

2021 Highlight Funding For ManufacturersExtensive support for manufacturers, makers and value-added producers continues

NIST Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP):
* Amassed $709,000 in funding to focus on priorities including SBIR, food safety, e-commerce, automation, cybersecurity, and workforce development
* Accelerated full website modernization revamps to prepare for e-commerce (Aloha Tofu, For J’s Hawaii, Jade Food, Noe’s Creations, Taishan Farms)

Through U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA):
* Awarded $600,000 CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant to provide technical assistance to small businesses in the state. This EDA grant, matched with $150,000 in local investment, is expected to create or retain 600 jobs

Through partnership with DBEDT's HiSTEP Program:
* Expanded e-commerce support to include internationalization to help Hawaii’s businesses optimize for expansion into Japan
2021 Highlights AcceleratorsBolstering Hawaii's innovation game through local accelerators

Awarded $200,000 in funding and sponsorship support to assist startups and entrepreneurs through leading entities fostering innovation and economic growth - Blue Startups, XLR8HI, Impact Hub, Mana Up, Purple Mai'a
* Blue Startups launches Cohort #13
* XLR8HI unveils 2nd preX cohort of Hawaii startups
* Mana Up accelerator brings Hawaii's companies global
* Purple Mai'a kickstarts new accelerator program for female entrepreneurs
2021 Highlights NI3Strengthening economic assistance for Kauai, Maui and Big Island companies

Through NI3 Program:
* Awarded $250K to support neighbor island SBIR and manufacturers
* Big Island: Assisted (19) companies with go-to-market, manufacturing, and grant applications
* Kauai: Provided business development support to (11) companies, resulting in job creation and a +7% increase in revenue
* Maui: Assisted (25) companies with SBIR and business development; helped in the creation of 3 jobs

Through Kauai Grant:
* Facilitated e-commerce and digital marketing transformation projects for (3) Kauai-based companies


2021 Highlights Infrastructure Support

Facilitated collaboration, networking, co-working and creative production opportunities for local communities

2021 Highlights SandboxBringing together innovators, creatives and changemakers to foster the entrepreneurial spirit

* Hosted major events: Governor Ige’s TRUE Event, ID8 Studios Grand Opening, Community Innovation Mentorship Program Intern Demo Day, PRP Executive Leadership Series, Hawaii Film Festival XR Showcase

* Served as headquarters to change-making organizations - Center for Tomorrow’s Leaders; innovation-focused satellite offices for major Hawaii companies - Central Pacific Bank, Servco Pacific, Hawaiian Airlines, Pacxa

* Production backdrop for Hoku Nights, Made in Hawaii, NCIS series

* ID8 Studios build-out completed; used as production set for local banks, ad agencies, fashion designers, musicians and film production companies


2021 Highlights Workforce Development

Hosted learning programs for local entrepreneurs, developers, and individuals for upskilling and direct application of knowledge garnered to their businesses

2021 Highlights AutomationHelping manufacturers level up through automation

* Hosted manufacturing equipment consultations
* Facilitated machine audits
* Introduced "Bakerbot" - watch a demo in La Tour's factory tour on Manufacturing Demo Day 2021
2021 Highlights SBIREnhancing the competitiveness of Hawaii's emerging technology companies

Hosted (7) expert-led webinars in partnership with the University of Hawaii’s Office of Innovation and Commercialization to help tech entrepreneurs and inventors in numerous areas such as commercial viability, intellectual property and more
2021 Highlights E-CommerceAssisting Hawaii's local businesses in strengthening direct to consumer digital sales competencies

* Hosted (11) webinars covering new topics (selling on Shopify, e-commerce in Japan); 660 registrants

* Launched Cohort #3: Helped (13) manufacturers refine their digital stores and marketing practices

* Established thought leadership in developing e-commerce and digital marketing training program which was adopted as a template to train manufacturers in Oregon (and other states in 2022)

* Kicked off partnership with Shopify in Hawaii with the first developers training program
2021 Highlights TalentPositioning manufacturers for growth opportunities

* Hosted online FSMA training sessions, facilitated Costco Audit Prep workshops and food safety certification programs (Global Food Safety Initiative)

* Two apprentices completed an apprenticeship program in partnership with Diamond Bakery and Leeward Community College

* High School Manufacturing Certification Program Cohort #1: (17) students from (4) high schools earned the Tooling U-SME Certified Manufacturing Associate certification, learned from guest speakers and virtually toured manufacturing facilities through a scholarship from HTDC Innovate Hawaii.

* High School Manufacturing Certification Program Cohort #2: (38) students from (3) high schools are working towards earning the Tooling U-SME Certified Manufacturing Associate certification.
2021 Highlights Career DevelopmentInspiring individuals pursuing tech and entrepreneurial careers

* Hosted (12) Women in Tech webinars interviewing female leaders in different tech positions, entrepreneurs and trail-blazers; 360 registrants

* Partnered with Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) Hawaii to highlight (6) women leaders empowering other female entrepreneurs through a 5-week series


Technology pursuits and enablement to uncover potential economic growth opportunities

2021 Highlights DCILPicking up steam with consumer education, pilot projects and community engagement

* Admitted (4) additional participating companies through Cohort #2; 15 companies in total

* Hosted (12) crypto-related webinars covering fundamentals of crypto education, non-fungible tokens (NFT), non-profit fundraising; 634 registrants

* Launched “NFT For Good” initiative; facilitated a public-private collaboration between Worldwide Walls (POW! WOW! Hawaii) and MakersPlace to establish a virtual gallery with a fundraising component
2021 Highlights TRUE InitiativeContinuous push towards a tech-enabled Hawaii

* Supporter and sponsor of the TRUE Initiative to highlight technology best practices

* Hosted (3) TRUE Initiative events and partner workshops including Governor Ige’s TRUE Event and training sessions with AWS and Tableau at our co-working facility, the Entrepreneurs Sandbox
2021 Highlights HCATTFurthering the adoption of hydrogen in the future of transportation

* PEARL Microgrid Demonstration Project


2021 Highlights Accolades

2021 Highlights AccoladesHTDC’s team recognized for their contributions to the state

* HVCA Startup Paradise Champion of 2021
Awarded to Len Higashi, Acting Executive Director for his consistent contribution to the success of Hawaiʻi’s innovation community

* Pacific Business News 40 Under 40
Ellen Ng, Economic Development Specialist was selected as an Honoree for 2021