Preparing For The Future

By Dana Hauanio
Wednesday - June 27, 2007
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The Minority Business Center team (from left) Ryan Kanda, Dana Hauanio and Wayne Fujino
The Minority Business Center team (from left) Ryan Kanda,
Dana Hauanio and Wayne Fujino

As a mother of a 2 1/2-year-old daughter, I am constantly reminded of the necessity of planning for her future. What steps do I take to prepare my child for the “road of life” and set a firm foundation for her future success? I’ve come to realize that in many ways, I am her guide, helping her navigate the challenges that have and will present themselves over the years.

Similarly, my role as the director of the University of Hawaii’s Honolulu Minority Business Enterprise Center (HMBEC) is to guide new and expanding business owners to systematically “think” their business. Planning and preparation are key indicators to sustained success in business enterprise. In other words, businesses don’t succeed year in and year out by accident.

HMBEC’s mission is to foster business growth and stability, as well as to improve the long-term economic vitality of the larger Honolulu community through the creation of revenues and jobs. Our organization advocates for Honolulu’s minority business community by increasing its access to capital and markets through technical and business assistance. This includes the development and expansion of medium-to-large minority business enterprises to increase their size, scale and revenues, as well as to impact the overall job creation for Hawaii.

At HMBEC, we promote and support minority-owned enterprises through professional business and technical assistance. Our staff conducts business assessments, analyzing the financial, marketing and operational health of our client’s organization. We help identify new markets and provide assistance to help target those customers and contracts. HMBEC provides access to financial information and funding, including loans from a variety of sources. We help develop lean and effective business processes to improve a firm’s quality and efficiency. And we provide strategic business consulting to guide and grow the enterprise.

In a broad sense, my staff and I spend most of our day assisting minority business owners to prepare for future opportunities.

Much like establishing a professional career after college, the HMBEC staff prepares entrepreneurs for that moment when a business prospect presents itself.

A perfect example occurred when an HMBEC client was preparing to bid on a multimil-lion-dollar commercial construction project on Oahu. As the client had begun to expand his commercial construction portfolio, there was a necessity to strategize for this new emerging target market. HMBEC, in partnership with the UH’s Pacific Business Center, assisted in the preparation for this opportunity by creating a business plan and cash flow analysis that was used to negotiate increased capital funding with a local bank. We are proud to report that our client was awarded a $10 million-plus contract for the future development of much-needed affordable housing for Oahu and additional job creation in our community.

Part of our strength comes from the partnerships that we can bring to the table. The HMBEC is part of a nationwide network established to increase the number of minority-owned businesses and to strengthen existing ones. All minority business enterprise centers are federally funded by the U.S. Department of Commerce Minority Business Development Agency. The HMBEC is housed at the University Of Hawaii’s Shidler College of Business to best utilize established resources, including the Shidler’s faculty and graduate business students.

There is power in these partnerships. We work with the common goal of strengthening minority enterprise in Hawaii because that improves the community as a whole for all of us - even for 2-1/2-year-old girls.

For more information about the Honolulu Minority Business Enterprise Center, visit or call at 956-0850.

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