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Mana Up selected 10 local companies, all sourcing from Hawaii’s agriculture, to be the first participants in a Hawaii-based product accelerator, the first of its kind in the state.

The program, the latest venture from Hawaii Venture Capital Association President Meli James, 1776 General Counsel Brittany Heyd and e-commerce strategist Michael Cheski, seeks to invest in Hawaii companies earning $100,000 or more in annual revenue, by emphasizing the strength of the Hawaii brand.

The companies, selected from a pool of 85 applicants, will participate in the 12-week program, which begins on Wednesday.

“The 10 companies we selected for our first cohort represent the future of our economy by showing how a product from Hawaii can be a competitive advantage rather than a prohibitive cost,” James said in a statement. “This cohort has already achieved remarkable success by taking advantage of Hawaii’s strengths and authentically integrating Hawaii’s brand into their own. Yet, the deciding factor was that we see tremendous potential for each company to grow internationally because of the caliber of the product and entrepreneurs.”

Mana Up also plans to start an e-commerce platform to serve as a distribution channel for companies that graduate the program.

The 10 companies participating in Mana Up’s first cohort include:

Hawaiian Pie Company (Oahu)

Founders: Jan Hori and Joel Hori

Hawaiian Rainbow Bees (Oahu)

Founders: Malcolm Yorkston and Mitsuko Yorkston

Hawaiian Vanilla Company (Hawaii Island)

Founders: Jim Reddekopp and Tracy Reddekopp

Kunoa Cattle Company (Oahu)

Founders: Jack Beuttell and Bobby Farias

Mamalani (Oahu)

Founder: Mele Kalama-Kingma

Manoa Chocolate (Oahu)

Founder: Dylan Butterbaugh 

Manulele Distillers (Oahu)

Founders: Jason Brand and Robert Dawson

Monkeypod Jam (Kauai)

Founder: Aletha Thomas

The Tea Chest (Oahu)

Founder: Byron Goo 

Voyaging Foods (Oahu)

Founder: Brynn Foster

Anna Hrushka
Pacific Business News