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SBA looking for leadership trainees

The U.S. Small Business Administration has opened recruitment for its Emerging Leadership Initiative, an executive-level training program open to small businesses. The course will begin in late April with completion in November. The SBA said similar courses on the market cost thousands of dollars, but this is offered to selected applicants at no cost.

To be eligible, the small-business owner must have been in business for a minimum of three years, attained annual revenues of at least $300,000 and have at least one employee. In Hawaii the initiative targets small businesses owned by native Hawaiians. Applications are available through the SBA District Office and are due April 6. For more information, contact the Hawaii SBA office at 541-2990.

Isles shut out of James Beard Awards

The 2011 James Beard Award finalists list is absent any Hawaii restaurants or chefs, as it was last year and the year before that. The James Beard Awards were established in 1990 and are one of the top awards for chefs and restaurants in the nation.

Lahaina’s Star Noodle restaurant was among the semifinalists for best new restaurant this year, and its chef, Sheldon Simeon, was a semifinalist for the Rising Star Chef of the Year award.

Kevin Chong, chef de cuisine at Chef Mavro restaurant in Hono­lulu, was up for a third time and was the only Hawaii chef in the semifinalist ranks — all others in the running for Best Chef: Pacific are from California.

Hawaii’s most recent James Beard Foundation Award winner is Hamura’s Saimin Stand on Kauai, which won a 2006 America’s Classics regional restaurant award, as did Sam Choy’s Kaloko in 2004 and Helena Hawaiian Foods in 2000.

Chefs and restaurateurs Roy Yama­gu­chi, Alan Wong and George Mav­ro­tha­las­si­tis each won Best Chef: Northwest-Hawaii in 1993, 1996 and 2003, respectively.

HMAA, Ceridian enter relationship

Hawaii Medical Assurance Association, a health insurance company, and Ceridian Corp., a human resource company, signed a serv­ices agreement yesterday to cross-market serv­ices to customers.

The affiliation, which takes effect Friday, will make HMAA and Ceridian serv­ices and products available to the companies’ clients.

On the Move

» The Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce will honor the 2011 ‘O’o awards to the following:

— Alfred Souza Jr. is a partner in Hawaii Box and Packaging Co. and has been vice president and partner of Tri-Star Restaurant Corp.

Dr. Benjamin Young is a minister, physician and psychiatrist. He was the first native Hawaiian to graduate with a medical degree from Howard University Medical School.

Dr. Richard Kekuni Blaisdell is trained in medicine, hematology and pathology as well as founder of E Ola Ma U, an organization of kanaka maoli healers.

» First Insurance Co. of Hawaii has been rated "A" for its financial strength by A.M. Best Co., a global credit rating agency dedicated to serving the financial and health care serv­ice industries. First Insurance has earned the "A" rating every year since 1997.

» Commercial Data Systems has announced that Mike Curtis has joined the company as controller and vice president of finance. He has more than 20 years’ experience as a director, executive and consultant in the technology and banking and finance industries.

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