Business owners and entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to learn and hear stories from Hawaii-based female business owners this week during a Women in Business Seminar Series.
Presented by nonprofit Maui Economic Development Board, with support of the Small Business Administration, Maui County, and Women’s Business Enterprise Council, the webinar will be held online at 12 p.m. Wednesday.
Four speakers will share why they decided to pursue certifications as a Women/Minority Owned Small Business, how they overcame doubts or questions to proceed, and how it has impacted their business, according to a news release.
Maui-based business woman Nina Hans is the co-founder and creative director at Weekday Studio, a brand design studio. Clients include Nike, Converse, CBRE, Hawaii State Art Museum, 20th Century Fox and more.
“I’m passionate about turning businesses into brands, helping one stand out in the market and creating a greater connection with customers,” said Hans.
Jennifer Schettewi, who has been a resident of Maui since July 2014, will also speak at the webinar about how she’s a practicing attorney with a real estate license and a co-founder of Pono Chocolate, LLC with her business partner and friend Janet Allen.
Donating much of their profits to local charities, Pono Chocolate is sold locally and looking to expand its brand.
“I’ve always loved creating things on my own and have been an entrepreneur most of my life,” said Melia Foster, president and sole owner of Meli Wraps on Kauai, who will be one of the speakers. “I started Meli Wraps with one of my best friends in 2015 as a way to reduce plastic waste on our planet. I had created a few small businesses before but none of them fed my soul like this one.”
Meli Wraps produce high quality Beeswax Wraps and Rolls as a sustainable alternative to plastic wrap for food storage.
Lori Silva, owner of Napua’ala, learned how to make soaps and lotions while enrolled at Honolulu Community College-Cosmetology School.
Though she moved to Utah awhile ago with her husband, Silva often visits Hawaii and would search to find a body care product that smelled like pikake, her favorite Hawaii flower.
“Making these products by hand fascinated me. I graduated and became a cosmetologist in 1984,” Silva said. “I hoped that one day I’d have my own body care line, but my dreams of my body care line were put on the back burner.”
However, 18 years later, Napua’ala was born.
The Women in Business Seminar series was created to guide businesses in Maui and Hawaii towards SBA Women Owned Small Business certifications.
Each of the speakers will give a short presentation on their business journey followed by a round of questions by a moderator and by the audience.
“We have partnered with the Women’s Business Enterprise Council (WBEC) to help facilitate the certification process,” MEDB’s President and CEO Leslie Wilkins said. “MEDB is offering scholarships for Maui-based women-owned businesses to join the WBEC program.”
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