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First Foundation VP & Commercial Loan Officer Ann Tanouye, OHA Native Hawaiian Revolving Loan Program Fund Manager Timmy Wailehua, Michael Ching owner of Hawaii Gourmet Cookies, OHA Ka Pouhana Kamanaʻopono Crabbe, Technical Assistance Provider Rebecca Soon and OHA Technical Assistance Specialist Robert Crowell at loan signing and check presentation ceremony.

OHA issues $500,000 loan to support Native Hawaiian owned business

HONOLULU (Dec. 29, 2016) – Before 2016 comes to a close, the OHA Native Hawaiian Revolving Loan Fund Program finalized a Hua Kanu business loan that provides $500,000 to Native Hawaiian business owner Michael Ching to expand his business, Hawaii Gourmet Cookies. This is the largest business loan that OHA has disbursed this year to support Native Hawaiian entrepreneurs. A signing ceremony was held at First Foundation, OHA’s financial lending partner, at it’s offices in Restaurant Row in Kakaʻako. 

Ching says he will use the loan to improve business efficiency and update machinery used to bake his popular products lines such as Island Lava cookie brittle available in lilikoi, coconut, chocolate and coffee flavors. Funds will also be used to build up his product inventory and market his products to new vendors.

Ching’s advice to other entrepreneurs: “You better love what you are doing. The love better not be making money… instead it is the fulfillment you get seeing your work accomplish something and seeing your work matter. That ought to be your driving force.”

Through low-interest business loans from OHA, Ching has gotten access to capital that will allow him to take his products, like Island Lava cookies, from three stores (CostCo, Sam’s Club, and NEX) to over 500 stores in 2017.

“I have a great sense of fulfillment when I am able to assist a Native Hawaiian with a loan,” said OHA Native Hawaiian Revolving Loan Program Fund Manager Timmy Wailehua.  “Just knowing that I’ve helped one Native Hawaiian in the community get closer to achieving their goals makes my life so much more complete.”

OHA’s Hua Kanu Business Loan offers highly-qualified business owners 7-year low interest rate loans ranging from $200,000 to $1 million. Earlier this year, OHA issued a $236,000 business loan to Mahealani Strong to support the growth of her insurance brokerage company, I A Maui Associates.

OHA’s Hua Kanu and Mālama Loans tap into a federal funding stream available through the Administration for Native Americans and makes the federal funds available locally to Native Hawaiians to expand their businesses, improve their homes and pay for educational expenses.

Learn more about OHA loans at www.oha.org/loans or call (808) 594-1924.

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