Supporting Small Business

By Nicole Piesker
Wednesday - July 05, 2006
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Business development specialist Cherylle Morrow (left) counsels Michele Adamson on opportunities for marketing her tutoring services business
Business development specialist Cherylle Morrow (left)
counsels Michele Adamson on opportunities for
marketing her tutoring services business

As the new executive director of Hawaii Women’s Business Center (HWBC), it is with great excitement that I have met many of our current and past clients. Driving to work each morning, I spot the many businesses HWBC has been involved with and it makes me wonder what new business owners I will meet that day.

About a month ago, I received an e-mail from a past client, Jody Williams, who started her business in Hawaii and recently won Good Morning America‘s “You, Inc.” contest. Jody was a foster mother who created infant-wear to hold and disguise the tubes and medical devices for the medically fragile children in her care. With assistance from an HWBC counselor, she developed a plan and was soon marketing this revolutionary apparel on her web site, Jody continued to develop her business plan and submitted it to the “You, Inc.” contest. She was one of only two winners from 2,000 entrants because she had a unique product and a well-developed business plan. Jody received $5,000, ongoing counseling from the GMA “Dream Team,” and national television coverage.

I have been overwhelmed by the number of clients HWBC has helped since opening more than eight years ago. It is so rewarding to see past clients greet their counselor with hugs and expressions of gratitude, many with tears in their eyes. I often wonder how many hours were dedicated to that client during their free one-on-one counseling sessions. I know that Cherylle Morrow, one of HWBC’s counselors and a founder, has shared much more than pure business knowledge - she has provided a caring ear, helpful advice, encouragement and guidance to our clients.

Each day I am inspired by the innovative ideas and enthusiastic entrepreneurs who walk through the doors at HWBC. I often imagine what this island would be like without the small independent business owners that provide unique products and services - how Oahu would be an island of chain stores. After learning about the businesses that HWBC has assisted, such as Aloha Bridal Salon, Hokulani Cookie Co.,

Jaymen Technologies, Zen Chiropractic Center, those coming to HWBC develop the hope and motivation that one day, they too can be self-employed and contribute to the growth of Hawaii’s economy. Anyone can accomplish their goals if they take advantage of the resources and support available to them.

One of Hawaii’s most valuable resources, Hawaii Women’s Business Center is a place entrepreneurs and professionals go to for networking, education and business support. Since 1997, HWBC has supported more than 10,000 individuals by providing free business counseling, affordable education and networking opportunities. Whether operating a small business or a Fortune 500 company in Hawaii, owners rely on professional networks to keep connected to industry trends and people.

By participating in a class, purchasing a membership, becoming a corporate sponsor, or donating to HWBC, you can help the center to continue providing these resources to the women of Hawaii who aspire to achieve success in their business endeavors. I encourage those interested in learning more about HWBC to attend our Inspiring Success! Business Roundtable on July 11 from 5:30 to 8:30 at The Plaza Club. The program includes networking and a panel discussion by three media experts, Ann Botticelli, Howard Dicus and Lynette Lo Tom, about gaining and handling media for your small business. Please remember to tell family and friends who own or want to own a business about one of Hawaii’s best small business resources - the Hawaii Women’s Business Center. I can’t wait to meet you and learn about your business or dream!

For more information, please call 808-526-1001 or visit

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