July 23, 2020

Pine: City should lead in helping small business get federal contracts Hawai‘i is behind other states

HONOLULU, HAWAI‘I — “Local businesses are losing out on lucrative contracts that could keep much-needed money in our economy,” said Honolulu City Councilmember Kym Pine, after a virtual town hall today. “By the end of this year we can ensure that more military-, federal- and commercial-contracts are awarded to Hawai‘i-based minority-owned, women-owned, veteran-owned and otherwise certified businesses. These contracts will help our small businesses stabilize, keep their workers employed and contribute to the economic diversification I have been working toward for years.”

Presenters included John Greene, Defense Industry Specialist from the State Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism; Dr. Dana Hauanio director of the Minority Business Development Agency’s Honolulu Business Center; Ron Jarrett, founder of Nā ‘Ōiwi Kāne, the first Native Hawaiian-Owned organization certified to do business under the SBA 8A program, as well as Jose Villa, co-founder of Villa Business Consulting, LLC.

Villa pointed out that the custodial contract for Hawai‘i’s Whole Foods Market stores is handled by an Arizona-based company. Villa says that while consulting with Disney’s Aulani Resort, he learned that there were some 350 certified Minority Business Enterprises in Puerto Rico, which is not even a U.S. state, but that Hawai‘i had only 22.

For military and government contracting certification, “there should be no expense whatsoever,” for local small businesses, said Greene, of DBEDT.

Certifications can “level the playing field” for local small businesses, said Hauanio, of the Minority Business Development Agency.

Being certified granted Nā ‘Ōiwi Kāne access to larger contracts, more staff and a better revenue source to enhance its ability to give back to the Native Hawaiian community, Jarrett said.

“We need to attract more of these dollars for our local small businesses, which in turn will keep more of those dollars in our people’s hands, to build up our economy again,” Pine said.

Video link:

Councilmember Kym Pine represents residents of District One (ʻEwa, ʻEwa Beach, Kapolei, Honokai Hale, Ko ʻOlina, Nānākuli, Mā‘ili, Wai‘anae, Mākaha, Kea‘au, Mākua) and is chair of the City Council’s Committee on Business Economic Development and Tourism.

Media Contact:
Erika Engle
Communications Director
erika [dot] engle honolulu [dot] gov