American Savings Bank donates $30,000 to entrepreneurship center

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Dolly M Omiya, (808) 956-5645
Public Info Officer, College of Business-External Relations Office
Posted: Mar 13, 2013

American Savings Bank donates $30,000 to UH Entrepreneurship Center
American Savings Bank donates $30,000 to UH Entrepreneurship Center
American Savings Bank (American), one of Hawai‘i’s leading financial institutions, donated $30,000 to become the title sponsor of the 2013 UH Business Plan Competition organized by the Pacific Asian Center for Entrepreneurship (PACE) at the UH Mānoa Shidler College of Business.
“Hawai‘i needs a vibrant spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation in our business sector" said Rich Wacker, President & CEO of American Savings Bank. "We support the efforts of PACE and the Shidler College to promote those values, and we are glad to have the opportunity to encourage new ideas and new business models."
Established in 2000, PACE at the Shidler College of Business is home to an integrated set of leading-edge entrepreneurship programs at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. The annual UH Business Plan Competition (BPC) is one of PACE’s signature programs. With over 150 competitors and 120 business community volunteers, it has grown into the State’s largest competition of its kind.
The BPC is an intense, experiential program that provides mentorship, training, and resources to UH students who seek to start a business venture. The program encourages interdisciplinary collaboration to create a network of entrepreneurial-focused individuals across campuses. This cross-collaboration spurs the commercialization of technologies that are born at UH, which can lead to economic development opportunities for Hawai‘i.

The 2013 BPC will run all spring semester and culminate on April 30 where four teams will present to a panel of judges. There will be cash prizes totaling $17,500 and in-kind gifts of marketing, accounting, and legal services valued at $32,500. Prize packages will be supplemented with services from PACE, including introductions to mentors and advisors, invitations to investment group meetings, and incubation space. As part of the sponsorship, American will present the 1st place prize.
“We are excited to have American as our partner to support budding entrepreneurs,” said Susan Yamada, executive director of PACE. “The BPC creates new companies each year by encouraging students with business ideas to move them from concept to action and implementation and gets business leaders involved as coaches to build a support network for entrepreneurship that includes entrepreneurs, seasoned managers, professionals, and investors.”
“We are grateful to American Savings Bank for their support of our Entrepreneurship Center,” said Vance Roley, dean of the Shidler College of Business. “This gift will support the Center’s initiatives to foster the entrepreneurial spirit to all members of the University and local community.”
American Savings Bank has been serving Hawai‘i’s businesses and communities for over 88 years providing a full range of financial products and services, including commercial and consumer banking, insurance, and investments.
American has also helped Hawai‘i’s businesses and communities prosper through its philanthropic giving, volunteerism, educational support, affordable housing initiatives, and the celebration of cultural diversity.
For information on how to support PACE, contact Unyong Nakata, director of Development, at (808) 956-3597 or