Mana Up Accelerator Program

Our 12-week accelerator starts in January 2018 and will include 10 local product companies in its first cohort. The goal of the program is to find opportunities to grow sales and tackle production challenges that typically come with fast-growing revenue, such as sourcing, manufacturing and shipping. The program will provide workshops, connections to a network of advisers, help in crafting an attractive narrative for expansion, and access to distribution channels through partners and digital platforms.


The application for our first cohort is now closed and the selected companies have been announced in the media. If you are interested in applying for our second cohort which will start in August 2018, you can submit an early application here.


The criteria for application includes:

  • Hawaiʻi-based founder and company
  • Retail or value-added food product
  • Owner has full-time commitment to company
  • Elevates Hawaiʻi or Hawaiʻi brand through authentic connection, resource or story
  • Quality of product and potential for international expansion
  • Prefer companies who have $100,000+ in annual revenue currently

Kamehameha Schools will select two of the ten companies that join each cohort. Their criteria are the same as the general Mana Up accelerator program.

Program Benefits: 

Our team brings a wealth of experience to help companies grow and we’re excited to dive deep into supporting each and every company that joins our program. The 12-week accelerator will include the following benefits:

  • Weekly workshops
  • Weekly check-ins
  • Matches to industry-expert mentors based on business needs and stage
  • Support on branding and narrative
  • Access to discounted services and resources (for example, production of marketing, video, photography, and design content)
  • Access to distribution and funding partners
  • Special programs such as fellows opportunity to work with King’s Hawaiian and National Hawaiʻi Foods Week
  • Invitation to sell products on Mana Up e-commerce channels
  • Invitations to events and meetings to showcase product
  • Alumni support (monthly check-ins and continuing resources and connections after graduation)
  • Presentation of product at Mana Up’s Showcase, our event at the end of each cohort to present products to buyers, distributors, and other potential partners for companies.

Program Requirements:

There is no cost to join our accelerator program. We ask that the committed companies give Mana Up the right to distribute their product on our e-commerce channels (non-exclusive). 

We require that all companies who join our accelerator program attend all workshops and check-ins. Each week will consist of one workshop and one 30-minute check-in. Workshops will take place in the afternoons and must be attended in person. Check-ins will be scheduled individually with each company and may be attended virtually. 

Cohort 1 Tentative Schedule:

  • November 30, 2017: Cohort 1 Application Deadline
  • December 15, 2017: Invite accepted applicants to Cohort 1
  • Week of January 8, 2018: Public announcement of Cohort 1 and Workshop (Introduction to Program)
  • Week of January 15, 2018: Workshop (Branding & Narrative)
  • Week of January 24, 2018: Workshop (Positioning your company for Growth)
  • Week of January 29, 2018: Workshop (Digital Presence)
  • Week of February 5, 2018: Workshop (Evolving Manufacturing as you Grow)
  • Week February 12, 2018: Workshop (Distribution and Partners)
  • Week of February 19, 2018: Workshop (E-commerce)
  • Week of February 26, 2018: Workshop (Growing Your Team)
  • Week of March 5, 2018: Workshop (Exporting)
  • Week of March 12, 2018: Workshop (Legal & Regulation)
  • Week of March 19, 2018: Workshop (Maximizing Booths at Trade Shows and Events)
  • Week of March 26, 2018: Workshop (Presentation Prep)
  • April 27, 2018: Cohort 1 Showcase

* Weekly check-ins and mentor meetings scheduled individually with companies.
* Workshop topics may (and probably will!) change based on cohort profile and preferences

“As both an educator and investor in our community, Kamehameha Schools sees entrepreneurship and business ownership as a strong career option that needs a more viable pathway for students and young adults. Through Mana Up, we are investing in key capacity-building critical for the success and growth of Native Hawaiian-owned businesses whose success will model what’s possible for others.”

Lauren Nahme

Vice President of Strategy & Innovation, Kamehameha Schools

“Mana Up is exactly what I need. I want to live and work in Hawaiʻi and still grow my business. Mana Up’s programs will help me position my product more effectively and undoubtedly increase my sales.”

Brynn Foster

Founder, Voyaging Foods

“Through working with and investing in local food entrepreneurs, we’ve seen the many challenges they face when growing companies here in Hawaii. Mana Up seeks to tackle those challenges in innovative ways and we’re looking forward to supporting this key area of our economy.”

Murray Clay

Managing Partner, Ulupono Initiative