New business plan award honors venture capitalist Billy Richardson

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Dolly M Omiya, (808) 956-5645
Public Info Officer, College of Business-External Relations Office
Posted: May 16, 2019

See caption in article.
See caption in article.

Local incubator HiBEAM (Hawaiʻi Business and Entrepreneur Acceleration Mentors) has funded a business plan competition award in honor of late entrepreneur and educator Billy Richardson at the Pacific Asian Center for Entrepreneurship (PACE) at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Shidler College of Business. The $25,000 Billy Richardson award was presented at this year’s UH Business Plan Competition on April 25 to the third-place winners, “Okara Kitchen.”

“I’m grateful for HiBEAM’s gift in honor of Billy’s contributions to the college. He was an inspiration to many of our students and faculty,” said Vance Roley, dean of the Shidler College of Business. “He was deeply committed to mentoring and educating our entrepreneurial students, and in doing so greatly impacted not only the PACE programs but the entire entrepreneurial community in Hawai‘i.”

Richardson passed away in 2017 at the age of 62. He founded and built a series of venture funds that invested in 17 Hawai‘i companies, two of which went public on the NASDAQ exchange. In recent years, he was deeply involved in educating, mentoring and supporting young leaders in Hawai‘i’s innovative community.

“Billy was a major force in creating an entrepreneurial ecosystem in Hawai‘i, from creating the first Hawai‘i venture capital fund to help local startups to founding HiBEAM to his executive and teaching roles at the University of Hawai‘i. He was deeply committed to the Hawaiian community, the community as a whole and to his friends and family. He will be sorely missed," said Mike O’Malley, president of HiBEAM.

Among his many accomplishments, Richardson co-founded HiBEAM, an incubator for fast-growing start-up companies, started UH Connections with former UH President David McClain and was interim director of the UH Office of Technology Transfer and Economic Development.

He was a board member of PACE and the Hawaiian Homes Commission, and served as a trustee for UH Foundation, the Trust for Public Land and the Entrepreneurs Foundation. Richardson earned a BA from the University of California at Santa Barbara, and a JD from the Duke University School of Law. He is the son of the namesake of the William S. Richardson School of Law.


From left, HiBEAM Executive Director Bee Leng Chua, PACE Executive Director Peter Rowan and Pineapple Tweed founder and HiBEAM board member Piia Aarma are recognized for donating $25,000 to support the “UH BPC Award in Honor of Pioneer Billy Richardson by HiBEAM.” The prize is named in Bill Richardson's memory and will fund the third-place prize for years to come.