Small businesses in Hawaii and the nation employ a majority of the workforce population, and their success proves vital to the overall health of our economy. The Small Business Administration (SBA) believes that small business is critical to economic recovery and strength, to building America’s future, and to helping the United States compete in today’s global marketplace.
To recognize the efforts and achievements of small business leaders, the SBA holds the annual Small Business Award, which also aims to promote entrepreneurship and business stewardship.
This year a total of 33 individuals in 25 businesses have been honored in separate categories. These business owners stand as the cream of the crop in their respective industries here in Hawaii and nationwide.
2007 Small Business Person of the Year – Malcolm Koga & Glenn Nohara, Koga Engineering. Koga Engineering & Construction, Inc. is headquartered in Honolulu, Hawaii with operations also on Kauai and Hawaii. Founded in 1973, Koga Engineering is licensed in the State of Hawaii to do both A-General Engineering and B-General Building construction work Its scope of work typically involves site grading, foundation excavation, earth retention, dewatering, subgrade preparation and site utilities. Customers include governmental agencies (Federal, State and County), private developers, municipalities and private industry. The company vision is “Think Sitework…Say Koga!” Koga moved on to compete in the national finals in Washington, DC.
Small Business Journalist – Evan & Kari Leong, Greater Good Radio. Greater Good Radio is a joint effort to use leverage to help businesses help the community in ways that will also benefit their bottom line profits. This is termed “social entrepreneurship” or dual bottom lines. Evan and Kari Leong interview top entrepreneurs to find out how they became successful and how their community involvement has been crucial to their success. By recording these interviews, archiving them and making them available through radio, print, internet and satellite, Greater Good Inc. is taking their message to thousands of people. They have the ability to mentor people at a ratio of 1:100,000 instead of 1:1. Greater Good Inc. aims to develop people’s businesses and entrepreneurial careers and implant a social message with a call to action at the same time. The Leongs also competed and won the Region IX finals where they competed head-on with California, Washington, Hawaii, Arizona, Guam and American Samoa.
Women in Business Champion – Barbara Hasting and Barbra Pleadwell, Hastings & Pleadwell LLC. Hastings & Pleadwell was founded in 1996 when partners Barbara A. Hastings and Barbra An Pleadwell merged their companies, House of Hastings and Pleadwell Ink. The Barb(a)ras joined forces to create a unique, boutique firm with a holistic approach to developing image and articulating issues. The Hastings & Pleadwell team has a strong track record for providing clients comprehensive, sophisticated strategies, from crisis communication to building a brand. Along with the Greater Good Inc., Hastings & Pleadwell LLC has won the Region IX finals.
Winners were also proclaimed in other categories for the State and various counties. State of Hawaii winners include: SBA Family-Owned Business of the Year – Alvin Makimoto – Uptown Service; SBA Young Entrepreneur of the Year – Anthony Yamada, David Inouye and Michael Inouye – Worldwide Business Network, dba Ideal Collectables; Small Business Exporter of the Year – Nobuo and Teruko Kuniyuki – Goodtimes Ltd.; Financial Services Champion of the Year – Brian Iwata – Taketa, Iwata, Hara and Associates; Home-Based Business Champion of the Year – Lani Welgert, Alii Chang and Marseu Simpson – The Lavender Farm Inc. dba Alii Kula; Minority Small Business Champion of the Year – Dr. Tin Myaing Thein – Pacific Gateway Center.
For the third year in a row, the U.S. Small Business Administration named Central Pacific Bank SBA Lender of the Year for providing more SBA loans than any other community bank (Category II) in Hawaii. Central Pacific Bank Vice President and Business Banking Officer Naomi Masuno, has been named the Small Business Administration’s 2006 Lending Officer of the Year.
For more information, visit www.sba.gov.