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Small businesses will learn pathways to success at Hawaii Small Business Conference 

By Staff | Apr 12, 2018

Conference presenters include Gwen Woltz, co-owner of Wahine Media, and Omar Sultan, co-founder of Sultan Ventures and founding and managing partner of XLR8UH.

KIHEI – Maui Economic Development Board (MEDB) and the County of Maui Mayor’s Office of Economic Development announced the 2018 program for their upcoming Hawaii Small Business Conference set for May 2-3 at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center.

“The theme of this year’s conference is ‘Plan, Build, Grow: Mapping A Pathway to Success,’ ” said Leslie Wilkins, president and CEO of MEDB.

“This is an ideal opportunity for anyone interested in learning important strategies for business success. You’ll hear from national and local business leaders and successful business owners on customer service, business growth and scaling, social media management, entrepreneurial psychology, innovation, tax strategies and more while networking with fellow business community leaders.”

Do you want to see better results in your business? Improve your customer and employee relationship? Create a work environment where employees can thrive? Promote your business, even on a limited budget? Keep up with social media trends? Know the latest tax strategies that can benefit your business? Adapt to an ever-changing business world?

People can attend the all-day conference on Wednesday, May 2, and/or any of the smaller group workshops on Thursday, May 3.

The full-day conference is set for Wednesday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. The schedule features:

Opening Keynote: “Building The CustomerEmployee Relationship” by Millennial Evangelist Karen McCullough;

“Getting the Work Done/Staffing For Success” moderated by McCullough; Charen Kepler, director of leadership development, Na Hoaloha Ekolu; Cassie Akina, general manager, Akina Tours; and Judy Bishop, Bishop & Company;

“Talk Story: How You Start Matters” by Ashley Takitani Leahey, co-owner of Maui Thing;

“Scaling Your Business” by Omar Sultan, co-founder of Sultan Ventures and founding and managing partner of XLR8UH;

“Shaping a Game Plan For Growth” moderated by Sultan; Eriko Dowd, founder, Zellee Organic; and Travis Morrin, co-owner, Three’s Bar and Grill and Ululani’s Shave Ice;

“Pivoting: Listen, Watch, and Act” moderated by Frank De Rego Jr., director of business development projects, Maui Economic Development Board; Sumner Erdman, president, Ulupalakua Ranch; Gary Greenberg, founder, Edge 3-D LLC; and Dan O’Connell, chief executive officer, HNU Photonics and HNU Energy;

“Social Media Reality Check: Gone Are The Days of ‘Free’ ” by Gwen Woltz, co-owner of Wahine Media;

“Social Media Maui Style” moderated by Woltz, with panelists to be announced;

“Speed Networking: Quizzing the Experts;”

“Talk Story: Innovation – Learning From the Past, Creating the Future” by Kim Ball, owner, Hi-Tech Maui;

“The Future of Small Business” moderated by Leslie Wilkins, president and CEO, Maui Economic Development Board; McCullough; Sultan; and Woltz.

On Thursday, three-hour sessions will run parallel both morning and afternoon. Workshops include:

“Customer and Employee Engagement” with McCullough;

“Tax Strategies for Small Business” with Robert Kawahara, CPA, managing member, Kawahara + Hu LLC;

“Social Media Engagement” with Woltz.

“Small businesses dominate Hawaii’s economic landscape, making up over 90 percent of the business community and employing half of our state’s employees,” said Mayor Alan Arakawa.

“By helping our local businesses navigate pathways for their success, we’re also helping to encourage ingenuity and profitability that ultimately impacts our community and economy.”

The Hawaii Small Business Conference coincides with National Small Business Week, a celebration of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners.

Cost is $95 per person for the full-day conference on May 2 (includes lunch). The May 3 workshops are $35 per workshop with an additional charge for lunch.

To register online, visit www.HawaiiSmall.Biz. For additional information, e-mail smallbiz@medb.org or call (808) 875-2300. Various sponsorship opportunities are available.

Conference sponsors include Pacific Media Group, The Maui News, Small Business Administration, Maui Chamber of Commerce, Molokai Chamber of Commerce, Lanai Chamber of Commerce, Maui Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce, Maui Filipino Chamber of Commerce and Maui Printing Company.