Mayor Michael Victorino answers weekly questions submitted to his office staff.
Question: I see a lot of out-of-state business ventures coming here and setting up shop. What are you going to do to keep local businesses intact and more local businesses to get started? It’s kind of sad to see Mainland companies come here and use “aloha” as a marketing tool.
Answer: I completely agree with you, and I think we all remember one of the worst examples of this exploitation of Native Hawaiian culture in the Aloha Poke Co. cease and desist letters.
I have been lifelong supporter of local businesses and helping people, who were born and raised in Maui County find success. I don’t want to see our small business owners just survive, I want them to thrive.
The County provides a number of programs and resources for future business owners, and partners with numerous organizations. Currently, we’re partnering with the Maui Chamber of Commerce to sponsor the “Shop Small Maui” campaign, which will be highlighted by “Small Business Saturday” on Nov. 30.
There are more than 250 merchants participating in Shop Small Maui and I strongly encourage everyone to shop locally this holiday season rather than buying gifts online from national mega retailers. Many of our local shops serve as community hubs that brings friends and families together, and supporting them helps build a healthier and more self-sufficient economy.
Other County initiatives include Maui Economic Opportunity’s Core Four program, which teaches aspiring entrepreneurs how to start/grow their businesses and how to write a business plan. Well over 2,000 Maui County residents have graduated from this program, which is offered 10 times per year on Maui, Molokai and Lanai.
For more information on Shop Small Maui or to join the campaign, click here or call Business Development Specialist Tokie Ogawa at 270-7415.
To access online business research tools, browse business publications, obtain forms and applications for business licenses and download a handbook on starting a business in Maui County, click here. To view the calendar of workshops from the Maui County Resource Center webpage, click on “Training Opportunities.” You can call 873-8247 for more information on services provided at the center.
Want to Ask the Mayor? Submit your Maui County related questions to Mayor Michael Victorino by email at [email protected], by phone at 270-7855 or by mail at 200 S. High St., ninth floor, Wailuku 96793. Questions submitted will be considered for inclusion in the “Ask the Mayor” column; to request a personal response to a concern, email [email protected]