April 08, 2024


Mana Up Overview:

Mana Up is a Hawai‘i economic development initiative to build and support the State’s ecosystem of entrepreneurs providing them with the resources and tools to grow their companies and scale globally. Many of the makers and artisans who have participated in Mana Up’s 6-month business accelerator program have been recognized internationally for their products and find their success in connection to home–from locally sourced ingredients to native culture, or an elevated sense of place and community. As these entrepreneurs continue to grow, they also help to sustainHawai‘i’s local community through economic diversification, high-quality jobs, givebacks, investment, and a regenerative culture of entrepreneurship. 

Mana Up's accelerator program is a six-month intensive program designed to uncover high-impact sales opportunities, tackle operational challenges, and develop executive leadership. The program includes weekly workshops, connections to a network of industry experts, guidance in crafting an engaging narrative for expansion, and access to distribution and sales channels. It is results-driven, focused on helping to grow companies and build the infrastructure to support their growth. To date, 85 companies have graduated from the program. 

About the House of Mana Up: House of Mana Up is a retail initiative including eight brick-and-mortar locations and an online store,www.houseofmanaup.com where you can find all local products from the companies that graduated from the Mana Up program. Find food, fashion, home, beauty, and art products that highlight the incredible ingredients grown and cultures found across the Hawaiian Islands.

Mana Up at a Glance:

  • 100% of Mana Up companies are headquartered inHawai’i
  • 70% are female-founded or led businesses
  • 51% are native Hawaiian owned businesses
  • 68% are AAPI-owned businesses
  • 74% of businesses manufacture inHawai’i
  • 60% source raw ingredients locally 
  • Mana Up companies have generated $84 million total in annual revenue & created 874 jobs inHawai’i

About the Founders: 

About Meli James:Meli James is cofounder at Mana Up and president of the Hawaii Venture Capital Association. Prior to Mana Up, Meli's career path led her to Silicon Valley where she cofounded her first company, Nirvino, a #1 ranked wine app, an Apple Platform Top 100 App, and Top Ten Lifestyles App in 2007. She later moved back home, bringing her experience to Hawaii accelerators Blue Startups and the University of Hawaii’s Venture Accelerator. Meli has been recognized by Entrepreneur Magazine as one of five Women to Watch and as one of eight Women Leaders Who Are Disrupting Entrepreneurship. She serves on the board of UHA Health Insurance and board of regents for Chaminade University. Meli is a graduate of and entrepreneur in residence at Cornell University.

About Brittany Heyd: Brittany Heyd is cofounder of Mana Up. Before Mana Up, Brittany was co-founder and managing director at 1776 where she grew the organization from idea to global business including a $12.5 million venture fund, five locations, events in 75 cities across the world, and a software platform called Union. Brittany also held positions at the White House Council of Economic Advisers, Latham & Watkins, and Mark IV Capital. In 2020, she was recognized by Hawaii Business Magazine on its 20 for the Next 20 list and in 2021, she was named by Pacific Business News as an honoree of its annual Women Who Mean Business Awards. Additionally, she serves on the boards of the Calvin Shindo Student Venture Fund (University of Hawaii) and the Hawaii Pacific Export Council. Heyd holds a Juris Doctor / Masters of Public Policy from Georgetown University and a Bachelor's of Arts from the University of San Diego.

Learn more about Mana Up at: www.manauphawaii.com