Mana Up opens applications for seventh cohort of Hawaii entrepreneurs

January 27, 2022

By   –  Web Editor, Pacific Business News 
Hawaii-based consumer brand accelerator Mana Up has opened applications for its seventh cohort of Island business owners.
This year, Mana Up is selecting 10 local companies that are looking to scale to global markets. The six-month program includes several resources for participants — with the goal of growing each business's revenue and address challenges that may come with expansion — including workshops, connections with mentors, access to sales channels, and free access to tools, among other aid.
The program begins in May and will ends in November.

In 2021, Mana Up received more than 130 applications for its sixth cohort, 12 of which were selected, including local toy brand Keiki Kaukau, farm, cafe, garden and product concept Kahuku Farms, macadamia nut farm and retail operation Island Harvest, Hawaii Island salt farm and retailer Sea Salts of Hawaii, and flavored syrup company Pono Potions, among other small businesses.

The participants of Mana up's sixth cohort graduated in November of 2021 with a live-streamed showcase event that had more than 100,000 viewers across the globe. So far,

Since its inception, the accelerator has accumulated a lineup of 63 Hawaii businesses, and in 2020 the Mana Up portfolio reported $43.4 million in revenue, as well as 315 jobs, with a median growth rate of 17.6%, according to officials with Mana Up. According to Mana Up's 2021 Economic Impact Report, 63% of its alumni companies are female led, 48% are Native Hawaiian owned and 68% are Asian-American Pacific Islander owned.

Recently, in addition to its yearly accelerator program, Mana Up also launched its first venture capital fund in October last year with $6.3 million in capital commitments, according to previous reporting by Pacific Business News.

“Since launching Mana Up in 2018, we have reviewed over 560 applications," said Meli James, co-founder of Mana Up, in a statement. "With each year, we continue to be impressed by new and innovative products emerging across the islands. We’re excited to meet more entrepreneurs this year and select participants for our next cohort.”

Mana Up will host two upcoming info sessions for interested applicants on Tuesday, Feb. 1 at 4 p.m. and Wednesday, Feb. 9 at 10 a.m.

Companies interested in applying for Mana Up's seventh cohort, must submit applications by Friday, Feb. 18. Click here to apply.