Economic Development

Kama'aina families are leaving the island for a number of reasons, but the lack of economic opportunity is the biggest.  Without quality job opportunities, even highly educated Hawaii residents are forced to move to the mainland to secure a future.  Housing costs contribute to the exodus, but if kama'aina families had 

Our island's only major industry is tourism which does not provide the type of high quality jobs needed to live in the most expensive state in the nation.  Agriculture is a distant second and it continues to contract year after year and today there are no new opportunities in sight.  Even relatively successful new industries like aquaculture struggle to navigate regulations in Hawaii. 

Typically economies diversify as local small businesses grow to become large industries, but high costs and limited access to capital make Hawaii one of the worst states in the nation to start a new business.  The businesses that should be charting our path to the future are not succeeding in Hawaii.

Our best and brightest don't see how they can succeed in Hawaii and so they leave for the mainland.  Most never return.

How Core 24' Addresses Economic Development and Diversification

Unless Hawaii is going to join mainland states by providing big businesses with subsidies to re-locate, entrepreneurship is our island's only path to economic prosperity and diversity.

Entrepreneurship is the fire that fuels the furnace of the future.  Whether they are starting a small business or a building a global empire, entrepreneurs are at the heart of all economic growth.

So what can local government provide to encourage entrepreneurs to start small businesses?  How do we help them grow locally or create global enterprises?

To succeed, entrepreneurs need wiling customers, quality employees, regulatory freedom, mentorship and basic infrastructure.  Notice that we didn't mention access to capital.  in a working capital market like the United States, entrepreneurs who are executing on their vision attract the capital they need.

Lowering Cost
Our affordable housing and cost of living reduction efforts will bring down labor costs to make local businesses more globally competitive.

Providing Infrastructure
Startups and small businesses need basic infrastructure to succeed.  For many companies this takes the form of office space, meeting rooms and network access.  To provide this to new companies, Hawaii County will purchase or build three large spaces suitable for co-working.  One in Hilo, one in Kona and the other in Puna, Mountain View or Volcano.  These spaces will be administered by a private company and will be available to local companies at an affordable rate.

The goal of these spaces is to provide a central hub where small businesses, entrepreneurs and remote workers can interact.  It is also to create an environment of hope for communities that have little in the way of economic opportunity.  This is a key part of the Core '24 law enforcement plan which is focused on reforming, connecting and creating opportunity for the young men and women who might otherwise turn to crime.

Connecting Mentors
Hawaii County will recruit and provide matching funding for a nationally recognized startup accelerator program like Techstars or 500 Global.   These programs provide mentorship, seed funding, training and established professional networks to entrepreneurs who are building scalable businesses in their local communities.  They bring in new entrepreneurs to the community and provide local entrepreneurs with unique opportunities to meet customers, recruit talent, access capital and grow quickly.