Pacific Business Center Program Wins Third Consecutive National Award for Technical Assistance

PBCP recognized for business planning assistance provided to Native Hawaiian entrepreneurs

University of Hawaiʻi
Dorothy Chen, (808) 956-2495
Research & Administrative Manager
Kristen Bonilla, (808) 956-5039
Public Information Officer
Posted: Oct 15, 2004

The University of Hawaiʻi‘s Pacific Business Center Program (PBCP) has been named the recipient of the University Economic Development Association‘s (UEDA) 2004 Outstanding Project of the Year award for technical assistance provided to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs‘ (OHA) Native Hawaiian Revolving Loan Fund. This is the third consecutive year that PBCP has been recognized nationally by UEDA for its work to support economic, business, and community development in Hawaiʻi and U.S.-Affiliated Pacific Islands.

The UEDA Project of the Year (POY) Award is a nationally recognized, highly coveted award bestowed upon UEDA members. Projects by UEDA members are identified for outstanding efforts in assisting clients to become more globally competitive, more effective in their fields of expertise, or more efficient in delivering services. PBCP will be recognized for its work with OHA at the 2004 UEDA annual conference, which will be held in Florida in November.

OHA‘s Native Hawaiian Revolving Loan Fund (NHRLF) is a lending program for Native Hawaiians intended to increase sustainable Native Hawaiian-owned businesses by fostering economic independence, commitment, and fiscal responsibility through entrepreneurial development. The program specifically expands entrepreneurial opportunities of Native Hawaiians unable to secure conventional financing through traditional lending sources.

"The Pacific Business Center Program is one of OHA‘s active service providers," said OHA Trustee Oswald Stender. "We recognize the effective role of PBCP in business and economic development in our state. PBCP has been successful in creating business start-up and expansion opportunities for Native Hawaiian entrepreneurs and businesses. We will continue to collaborate with PBCP to support business and community development in Hawaiʻi."

The OHA program sought assistance from PBCP in developing business plans for their loan applicants. PBCP utilized MBA students from UH Mānoa to address NHRLF‘s need for business plan development. Supervised by PBCP Senior Business Development Manager David Gillespie and PBCP Business Development Specialist Sharon Sakuma, the students worked hand-in-hand with each client and their NHRLF loan officer in developing the marketing, operational, and financial aspects of each potential business. The plans are a key component used by the NHRLF loan officers and the NHRLF Loan Review Board in assisting them to determine the merits of each loan request.

"PBCP‘s collaboration with OHA is an excellent vehicle for providing opportunities for students to apply their academic knowledge in real-world situations," said PBCP Director Failautusi Avegalio. "By hiring students from the University of Hawaiʻi system and various community colleges throughout the Pacific, PBCP helps to build local capacity, thereby increasing the pool of well-trained employees in Hawaiʻi and throughout the entire Pacific region."

Since the collaboration began in January 2003, PBCP has completed and/or reviewed 32 business plans, of which 13 resulted in loans to Native Hawaiian entrepreneurs in the amount of $614,000. Another 12 business plans are currently pending or otherwise on hold for a total of $525,000 in requested loan funds for other Native Hawaiian entrepreneurs.

In 2002, PBCP received the POY award in recognition of resettlement planning assistance the program provided to the Rongelap Atoll local government in the Marshall Islands. PBCP was honored again with the POY award in 2003 for technical assistance provided to the Development Bank of American Samoa.

UEDA is a not-for-profit association, providing advocacy, information and a forum to enhance the performance of university-based organizations and their affiliates that provide economic development, business and technical assistance to businesses and communities. UEDA is comprised of University centers, Small Business Development Centers, Minority Business Development Centers and other regional and state economic development organizations.


The Pacific Business Center Program was established in 1979 to provide governments, companies, and institutions in Hawai‘i with business-related services — financial analysis, management reviews, business plans, and other business technical support. Since its inception, PBCP has expanded its span of services to include the U.S.-Affiliated Pacific Islands, including the territories of American Samoa and Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Republics of Palau and the Marshall Islands. Current funders of PBCP include the U.S. Department of Commerce‘s Economic Development Administration, the U.S. Department of the Interior‘s Office of Insular Affairs, the UH Mānoa College of Business Administration, the Commonwealth Development Authority, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of Palau, and the Bank of the Orient.

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