Mana Up, Shopify partner to launch new program for Native Hawaiian entrepreneurs

January 28, 2022

Hawaii-based product accelerator Mana Up has partnered with Build Native with Shopify to launch a new program that supports Native Hawaiian entrepreneurs.

Starting February and running until October, the free program — called Hawaii Rising — will offer monthly workshops that covers skills needed to run a business online including marketing strategies, leadership, and how to create an online brand, among other offerings. Program participants will also receive mentorship from Indigenous-identifying merchants, one-on-one office hours with Shopify experts, and access to Build Native with Shopify’s perks as part of their global community.

Build Native with Shopify is a global initiative that provides Indigenous-identifying entrepreneurs with a culturally relevant platform.

“Having been involved in the Hawaii community with Mana Up for almost four years, we knew there was an opportunity to further expand our support to empower entrepreneurs,” said Harley Finkelstein, president of Shopify, in a statement. “Build Native with Shopify is a global Indigenous-led and built team focused on culturally relevant programming and inclusivity, and we're excited to extend these resources to Hawaii’s participants through the Hawaii Rising program.”

As part of the Hawaii Rising program, participants have monthly meetups across the Hawaiian Islands to create connections between founders and promote peer-based learning. The program's purpose is to fuel online revenue growth and success for both founders who don't have an online presence, and those who are looking to scale up.

To qualify, registrants must:

  • Be a Hawaii resident headquartered in Hawaii
  • Identify as a Native Hawaiian, Native, or Indigenous business owner
  • Be an existing product or service-based business with the intention of selling online or, currently selling online

Eligible entrepreneurs must apply by Tuesday, Feb. 8. The program starts on Tuesday, Feb. 10.

To learn more about the new program, click here to sign up for an information session on Wednesday, Feb. 3 at 12 p.m. HST. Qualifying applicants can apply to join Hawaii Rising here.

“We have already seen the massive impact Shopify’s resources and mentorship can have on businesses through our accelerator," said Meli James, cofounder of Mana Up, in a statement. "In 2020, almost 70% of the Mana Up portfolio earned the majority of their revenue from e-commerce, up from 40% the year prior.

"Shopify makes this possible and opens up the world as potential customers for Hawai‘i-based businesses. We couldn’t be more optimistic about bringing this program to our community."

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