Categorized | Business, Education

Hawaii First creates 20 new small businesses and educational opportunities for Native Hawaiians


Kamuela, HI – March 3, 2011 –Hawaii First has assisted 20 Native Hawaiians in achieving their goals of continued education or small business creation. Out of these 20, 10 were for small business and 10 were for education.

Through Hawaii First’s OHA Individual Development Accounts program (OHAIDA) and with funding from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, these participants were able to set a goal, save $1,000 of their own money for that goal, and work towards that goal by achieving regularly set deposits, financial education, financial counseling, small business development, and much more. Upon obtaining all of the requirements, their $1,000 was then matched $4 for every $1 saved, giving them a credit of $5,000 towards necessary purchases required for their goal, which went directly from Hawaii First towards their asset purchases.

From this program, all participants were taught new found financial skills, while small business recipients obtained specialized small business development and support. Out of the 10 Hawaiian-owned businesses, there has been over 36 jobs and “First To Work” volunteer positions created.

“This program is the most cost-effective, realistic approach to employment creation and educational empowerment for our Hawaiian participants. We are so moved by the drive and motivation these participants show us every time they come to us for assistance. It has been such an amazing experience to watch goals, determination and idea’s turn into growing businesses and degree’s which are be applied right here in Hawaii. The best part has been knowing that we are delivering a long-term and cost-effective tool to struggling, lower-income families, which has provided the leverage they need to obtain their own sustainability on a long term basis. Cost effective economic empowerment at its finest!” – Alycia Juvik, Community Development Director

According to CFED (published Nov 2010) 18.8% of Hawaii County Native Hawaiian households are currently living in asset poverty; 14.5% have obtained a bachelors degree and 54.4% own a home.

Hawaii First’s Small Business IDA’s have included: Native bikini line; Native clothing line; Native cosmetic/ skin care company; culturally focused Hawaiian wood crafts; eco-friendly construction; eco-friendly landscaping; maintenance services; thrift store and 12 step book store; sustainable gardens; home remodeling; mechanical auto services.

Hawaii First’s Educational IDA’s have included: Nursing program -Hawaii Community College; Culinary Degree-UH Hilo; Graphic Design-Arizona State University; Environmental Engineering-San Diego State University; Degree in Wildlife/Wild land Conservation-Brigham Young University; Cosmetology License-HYTEC School of Cosmetology; Environmental Engineering-UH Hilo; Doctorate in Clinical Psychology-Argosy University; Degree in Hawaii Studies-UH Manoa; Degree in Psychology-UHHilo.

Hawaii First Federal Credit Union (HFFCU) is a not for profit, community-based, low income designated, Native CDFI Federal Credit Union, which was organized in 1956. Today, Hawaii First serves as a catalyst through providing Hawaii County with many no cost services focused on overall community revitalization and economic development. HFFCU proudly serves the entire Island of Hawaii through its multiple branches and programs such as the Hawaii first Community Resource Center.

The Hawaii First Community Resource Center (HFCRC) is a community outreach program of Hawaii First Federal Credit Union. This “first of its kind” no cost Community Resource Center, provides services to any residents of the Big Island of Hawaii, focusing on Hawaii’s much needed economic development, one family at a time. The HFCRC is there to help one reach their goal by providing the tools and resources necessary to obtain self sustainability in many areas.

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