Touch a Heart’s Ho’oulu ‘Aina Enterprises was awarded the first place prize during this year’s Hogan and American Savings Bank Nonprofit Business Plan Competition.
Held every other year for nonprofits in the state of Hawaii planning to start new ventures, the Nonprofit Business Plan Competition aims to encourage excellence in nonprofit planning and help make new and innovative social enterprises a reality, as well as stimulate public interest in the nonprofit sector. Hosted by the Hogan Entrepreneurs Program, the competition exemplifies the program’s motto, “Doing business things that make social sense. Doing social things that make business sense.”
Touch a Heart is an organization dedicated to preserving and enhancing the dignity of the homeless and disadvantaged in Hawaii. Their winning business plan outlined how Ho’oulu ‘Aina Enterprises aims to yield net profits to help sustain the Ho’ololi Food Services Internship Program by adding unique Hawaii products to the nonprofit’s existing social enterprises. The new products will include ‘ulu (breadfruit), kalo (taro) and kiawe (mesquite).
The Ho’ololi Food Services Internship Program helps men and women become fully employable while building up the participants’ confidence and hope. The Internship accepts six interns at a time and over the course of 12 weeks provides the interns with culinary skills and paid on-the-job-training. Participants also receive mentoring, resume writing assistance, and interview coaching. Upon completion of the program participants have the option of beginning their professional career in the food industry, continuing their education at a Community College or becoming a paid apprentice in one of Touch a Heart’s Food Service Social Enterprises.
For the last five years, American Savings Bank (ASB) has partnered with the Hogan Entrepreneurs Program in support of the competition. During this year’s ceremony ASB’s FVP, Director of Communications and Community, Michelle Bartell, spoke on the importance of the competition, “[This competition] really encourages entrepreneurship in the nonprofit industry. It really enables local team leaders to make an even greater positive impact on our communities. She added, “We [ASB] really believe that Hawaii needs to diversify our economy. We need, especially in the nonprofit sector, to come up with innovative and sustainable new ways to approach our most pressing community challenges.” The Hogan and American Savings Bank Nonprofit Business Plan Competition provide nonprofits the funds to do just this.
Before announcing this year’s finalists Dr. John Webster, Director of Hogan Entrepreneurs Program, spoke on the importance of supporting the nonprofit sector, “This sector delivers countless services which are simply not provided by government or private sector. This sector is often as entrepreneurial as the for-profit sector.” He continued with, “Our aim therefore has been to make a modest contribution by helping some of those nonprofit organizations which are showing unusual entrepreneurial promise.”
The runner ups in this year’s competition included, Common Ground Collective: Maui’s Administrative & Mobile Farming Services in second place, Kauai North Shore Community Foundation: Help Me With My Homework in third place and Kids Hurt Too Hawaii: HI Rising in fourth place.