Hawaii’s First Conference on Startup Innovation Aims to Accelerate Local Economy & Support Entrepreneurs



Keynote speaker Steve Case to join local entrepreneurs, executives, and business accelerator experts from across the country at an event in Honolulu, August 2-3

Honolulu, HI, July 2, 2012 – Startup Hawaii, a Startup America region, and Hawaii Strategic Development Corporation, an agency of the State of Hawaii, today announced that they are co- sponsoring a conference designed to catalyze business innovation in Hawaii, a key element for growing the local economy. The event will help to fuel the momentum behind Hawaii’s startup ecosystem and explore ways to accelerate development of the sector, as well as highlight entrepreneurial businesses across the State.

The conference will feature a variety of speakers and workshops designed to explore methods for accelerating the local economy through startup innovation. “Accelerating Hawaii’s Startup Innovation” is being held on August 2-3, 2012 at the Sheraton Waikiki.

“The State has just provided $2 million to fund startup accelerators in Hawaii. Accelerators are a critical tool in the startup ecosystem – and none exist in Hawaii today. An accelerator puts very early-stage companies on a rapid path to being viable businesses by providing the mentoring and expertise they need to compete, and hopefully, succeed,” said Karl Fooks, president, Hawaii Strategic Development Corporation. “This conference will provide an excellent opportunity to hear from a wide range of entrepreneurs, from Steve Case to local startup CEOs to mainland startup accelerator managers. In addition, we’re excited to offer a workshop that will provide a unique learning opportunity that explores best practices from incubators and accelerators from across the country – many of which face similar challenges to those in Hawaii. This event is a natural next step in nurturing Hawaii’s talented entrepreneurs and finding ways to turn their ideas into action.”

The first day of the conference will feature keynote speaker Steve Case, chairman of Startup America Partnership, co-founder of AOL and CEO of Revolution LLC. Mr. Case will speak about his entrepreneurial and venture capital investing experience and share his thoughts on both successes and challenges he’s encountered along his journey. Mr. Case will also participate in a panel session with local executives, startup CEOs, and community leaders to discuss Hawaii’s shared responsibility in supporting its startup companies and entrepreneurs.

In addition, day one of the conference will include short pitches from Hawaii’s newest “startups to watch,” participation from local business support organizations, and a two-hour lunch expo where attendees can network with local startup CEOs, support organizations, investors, business executives, and government leaders, as well as mainland accelerator managers, venture capital investors, and Startup America representatives. The “startups to watch” were chosen to highlight a few of Hawaii’s most innovative startups, such as moxie3innovations, which is donating their time to create this event’s logo, programs, and collateral.

Some of the companies and organizations scheduled to participate are: TechStars, 500 Startups, Start Garden, Hawaii Angels, HiBEAM, UPSIDE Fund, Ukulele Underground, Nella Media Group, The Box Jelly, Undefeated Games, Lemonade Alley, High Technology Development Corporation, Hawaii Strategic Development Corporation, Kamehameha Schools, and many more.

“Every region of the country has the potential to nurture and grow a vibrant startup community,” said Donna Harris, Startup America Partnership’s Managing Director, Startup Regions. “We’re excited to see the progress that Hawaii has made, and we’re committed to helping continue that growth while helping the broader business community understand their shared responsibility in accelerating Hawaii’s startups.”

The second day of the conference will offer a focused “startup accelerator workshop,” delivered by seasoned accelerator leaders from throughout the country including California, Colorado, Michigan, Tennessee, and Virginia, among others. The workshop is designed for local teams that are planning to launch accelerators, businesses interested in learning more and contributing, potential mentors, and local entrepreneurs and startup teams considering applying for entry into one of Hawaii’s upcoming accelerators.

The “Accelerating Hawaii’s Startup Innovation” conference details are as follows:

When: August 2-3, 2012

Where: August 2: 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., The Sheraton Waikiki (speakers and panel sessions)
            August 3: 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., Location TBD (workshop)

Who: Business owners and managers, startup employees and founders, entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial enthusiasts, students, business support staff, investors.

Cost: Full conference pass: $60 OR Single Day Pass, Day One (speakers): $25; Student rate: $5 Single Day Pass, Day Two (workshop): $50
Registration: http://acceleratehi.eventbrite.com/

For more information about the conference, please visit

About Startup Hawaii 
Startup Hawaii is our local region of the national Startup America Partnership! We're bringing together the entrepreneurs, support organizations, investors, and mentors who have firsthand knowledge of the gaps in Hawaii's startup ecosystem. As we identify gaps, we work to persuade local government, corporations, and others to help fill those gaps and deliver strategic and substantive resources to help entrepreneurs start and scale high-growth companies in Hawaii. Learn more at hi.s.co, follow @StartupHI, or like us at www.facebook.com/StartupHawaii.

About HSDC 
The Hawaii Strategic Development Corporation (HSDC) is an agency of the State of Hawaii established in 1990 to promote technology based economic development and economic diversification in Hawaii through a return driven investment program in partnership with private capital. Learn more at www.hsdc.hawaii.gov.

About Startup America Partnership
The Startup America Partnership is a growing national movement of thousands of funders, experts and resources providing startups access to the corporations, investors, and services they need to grow. Launched at the White House in early 2011, the Partnership brings together startups and local champions from around the country focused on creating successful networks for young, high- growth companies to thrive. AOL co-founder Steve Case chairs the Partnership and the Kauffman and Case Foundations are its founding partners. American Airlines, American Express OPEN, Dell Inc., Intuit Inc., Microsoft and NYSE Euronext are corporate sponsors. For more information on the Partnership, visit www.s.co and follow us @startupamerica and www.facebook.com/startupamerica.

Name: Jason Rushin, Startup Hawaii
Phone: 808-778-2860

Email: startuphi@gmail.com