The U.S. Small Business Administration announced an award of $450,000 to the state to continue its “Buy Hawaii, Give Aloha” program, which provides training, grants and trade shows for local companies looking to export their goods.
The SBA began the program, formally known as the Hawaii State Trade Export Program (HiSTEP), in fiscal year 2011 under the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism.
“With the help of this program, we’ve seen our export of Hawaii-made products increase substantially overseas,” said DBEDT Director Luis P. Salaveria in a news release. “The Hawaii brand continues to be iconic. We have significantly increased Hawaii-made products, especially in Japan where we have participated in several high-profile events.”
As part of the program, DBEDT and its partners organize a Hawaii pavilion at major trade shows to showcase local companies. In early September, DBEDT for the seventh consecutive year organized a Hawaii Pavilion at the 2018 Tokyo International Gift Show, the largest international trade show in Japan, featuring 80 Hawaii companies. The Hawaii Pavilion also won the Best in Show award.
“We are excited to see the Hawaii Pavilion grow each year in size and number of local companies exhibiting,” said DBEDT’s Business Development and Support Division administrator Dennis Ling in a news release. “The Hawaii brand is becoming more established and recognized for quality and authenticity, which is reflected in the dramatic increase in our sales in the Japan market.”
Among the participating vendors at the international gift show were Shawn Mawae of the Hawaii Coffee Company, Keoki Tavares of Aloha Elixir and Satomi Goo of Tea Chest Hawaii. This year’s exhibitors expect to top $10 million in export sales, DBEDT said.