Hawai’i Student Entrepreneurs (HSE) started accepting our first members in the Fall 2012 semester. Within the first year, HSE has had 13 student businesses part of the club, with 2 of those businesses launching in that year. One, an online e-commerce store (Pacific Roots Apparel) and the other, a brick-and-mortar Vietnamese restaurant in the Ward area (Ngon Vietnamese Restaurant). The number of student businesses have increased and since 2015, we’ve had 26 student-run businesses part of the club. Check out the other student businesses here.
In the short year, HSE has grown to be one of the top collegiate entrepreneurs club in the state of Hawai’i. We’ve been privileged to gain tremendous support from the local business & startup community. In our first year, we had the opportunity to have our meetings at The Box Jelly Co-working Space, thanks to Rechung Fujihira (CEO) and Tony Stanford, Co-founders of The Box Jelly. We’ve participated in all of the Startup Weekend Honolulu events since 2012 and have been promotional sponsors. Our members have been part of the 2nd and 3rd place teams. We’ve also participated in Entrepreneurs’ Day at the State Capitol to show our support for entrepreneurship in Hawai’i.
The Pacific Asian Center of Entrepreneurship (PACE) at the Shilder College of Business is one of our biggest supporters. PACE supports us with office space and offers students at UH Manoa valuable programs, resources and opportunities. HSE members get the chance to volunteer at the High School Business and Marketing Plan Competition and the UH Business Plan Competition held by PACE. HSE members have also participated in Startup Weekend UH hosted by PACE in the past.
HSE members have also volunteered for Lemonade Alley, a Kids Business Competition. We’ve also put together breakout sessions for high school students at the Career and Technical Education Performance-Based Assessments – Business Pathway.
In the Spring 2013 semester, four HSE members had the opportunity to intern for the Blue Startups Venture Accelerator, which was founded by Henk Roger’s (famous for securing the rights to Tetris and founder of The Tetris Company).
Starting from the Fall 2013 semester, we’ve expanded and opened our club up to all UH students interested in entrepreneurship and have allowed students to have the opportunity to learn how to start a business in Hawai’i, hear from entrepreneurs and professionals on a variety of entrepreneurial topics, meet established entrepreneurs, and have access to resources and opportunities that they can use to start and grow their own business (Programs).
We also encourage our members to get out of the UH bubble, attend community events, and start networking. We’ve attended events hosted by the Entrepreneurs Foundation of Hawaii, High Technology Development Corporation, The Box Jelly, The Founders Institute, and Hawaii Venture Capital Association to name a few. We also encourage our members to extend their learning and attend workshops put on by the community, like workshops put on by the Hawaii Small Business Development Center.
In the Spring 2015 semester, the Hawaii Student Entrepreneurs club and The Entrepreneurs Club at UH Manoa merged organizations, keeping the HSE brand identity. Both organizations have had similiar missions and programs, and with a combined effort, can now provide greater value for student entrepreneurship. See press release here.
We strive not only to empower our members with the skills, knowledge, network and resources to start and run a successful business now, but to also be prepared to utilize community resources in the future, to continue their education for success after they’ve graduated.
We are the future entrepreneurs of Hawai’i.