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Hawaiian Airlines has become the exclusive airline partner of Hawaii-based product accelerator Mana Up, which will debut its inaugural cohort in January.

The Honolulu-based accelerator program and e-commerce platform for Hawaii companies is the latest project from Hawaii Venture Capital Association President Meli James, e-commerce strategist Michael Cheski and startup veteran Brittany Heyd.

“Our flights are the ideal platform to introduce millions of visitors and our kamaaina to Hawaii-made products, but companies often have difficulty scaling their operations to meet our high volume and global supply chain,” Avi Mannis, senior vice president of marketing at Hawaiian Airlines (Nasdaq: HA), said in a statement. “Mana Up can bridge this gap by helping companies adapt their production to the demands of larger businesses such as Hawaiian’s.”

Hawaiian Airlines joins the program’s existing list of corporate sponsors, which include Kamehameha Schools, Ulupono Initiative, American Savings Bank and Castle and Cooke/Dole Plantation.

Mana Up, which is leasing a 3,500- square-foot space at the Dole Cannery Office Building, seeks to invest in Hawaii companies earning $100,000 or more in annual revenue, by capitalizing on the Hawaii brand.

Ten local companies will be selected to participate in Mana Up’s first 12-week accelerator program, which kicks off in January. 

Anna Hrushka
Pacific Business News