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OHA: Office of Hawaiian Affairs

Kāhea for Native Hawaiian businesses: Purple Maiʻa announces culturally rooted accelerator program

HONOLULU, OʻAHU, HAWAIʻI (Nov. 17, 2022) – Purple Maiʻa Foundation announced the launch of Mālama Design Studio (MDS) with support from a Community Grant Award for Economic Stability from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) totaling funds of $498,660. The program will select and support 20 Native Hawaiian business owners over 2 years by implementing Purple Maiʻa’s in-house MDS team filled with digital creatives to hoʻolana (propel) their companies to the next level.

The MDS creative team will spend nine months guiding the companies through design-thinking processes rooted in Hawaiian culture to evaluate revenue models and implement technology solutions aimed at scaling each business. The accelerator will provide branding, marketing, website development, UI/UX, SEO, and business strategy services to develop a network of Kānaka Maoli businesses working together across the pae ʻāina to cultivate waiwai (community wealth) for our islands.

“Mālama Design Studio is incredibly excited to partner with local, talented Kānaka Maoli entrepreneurs to pursue Hawaiian economic acceleration and to create a more fertile ecosystem,” says Keoni DeFranco, Managing Director of Mālama. “Our intention is to build a coalition of Kānaka-owned businesses working together to create local, high-wage jobs and steer Hawai’i towards self-sufficiency. We believe this is merely the beginning of a deep economic and systemic shift on our shores. This is a kāhea for aloha ʻāina and regenerative revenue models focused on sustainability,” he adds.

MDS seeks companies that are majority Native Hawaiian-owned, early stage, revenue-generating, and based in Hawaiʻi. Businesses should also participate in the core markets of Hawaiʻi’s economy: Tech, Health and Wellness, Food Systems, Clean Energy, Fashion, and Keiki Education. “Most importantly, MDS seeks entrepreneurs focused on social impact, aiming to strengthen and empower our lāhui. We must always be thinking forward to the next seven generations and leave behind a better future for our kēiki,” DeFranco states.

The Mālama Design Studio Application is available now. For more information, go to purplemaia.org/mds.

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