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Kama‘aina First program encourages locals to support Maui County businesses

By Staff | Jul 2, 2020

Companies offering Kama‘aina First specials include Hawaiian Paddle Sports.

WAILUKU – The County of Maui Office of Economic Development announced the launch of its refreshed www.KamaainaFirst.com website.

This website kicked off on May 8, and it has been redesigned recently to enhance the user-friendly experience and to better showcase the various offers and/or discounts extended by Maui County’s businesses.

This exciting website offers an opportunity for Maui County businesses to share their kama’aina deals at no cost and for Hawaii residents to take advantage of great discounts/specials on “staycations,” meals, activities, services, products and more. To date, there are over 440 offers listed, and this number continues to grow.

In addition to the website, the County of Maui also offers a “Kama’aina First” Facebook Group, where Maui Nui businesses can post information (not just discounts), and the public can hear the latest updates and connect with local entrepreneurs.

As of today, there are over 8,800 members on this Facebook group.

“Kama’aina First serves as a one-stop online hub to help jump start Maui County’s economy,” Mayor Michael Victorino said.

“Because updates are made daily, we encourage locals to visit these online resources often. With the moratorium lifted on interisland travel, both the KamaainaFirst.com website and Facebook group offer the perfect opportunity to try a variety of experiences, products and services on the islands of Maui, Molokai and Lanai. We extend a big mahalo to all our locals supporting locals, who continue to kokua one another during these unprecedented times of COVID-19.”

In related news, Mayor Victorino recently announced the extension of the Micro Business Loan Program with an additional $750,000 of funding from the County of Maui.

“This program started in April and has been very popular in extending help to our smallest businesses, those with ten or fewer employees,” Mayor Victorino said. “The first $1 million has been exhausted, so we’ve added $750,000 to keep the program going and to help more of our local businesses. This is another important step to restarting our economy as we continue on the road to recovery from COVID-19.”

Maui Chamber of Commerce, which has administered the program, has approved and funded 60 small businesses with the initial $1 million. Another 52 applications are pending, with one business approved and pending additional funds.

“We are very excited and grateful to the county and Mayor Victorino for their continued support of our small business community,” Maui Chamber of Commerce President Pamela Tumpap said.

“These additional funds will go a long way to assist our business owners during this difficult time as well as employ many of our working families and residents.”

Businesses supported have included retail stores, restaurants, activity providers, printers, manufacturers, art galleries and construction-related services.

Applicants receive five-year loans of $7,500 to $15,000 and seven-year loans of $15,001 to $25,000.

To qualify, businesses need to have: ten or fewer employees; sales revenue of $750,000 or less; be located in Maui County and registered to do business for at least a year prior to March 4, 2020; ability to create full- or part-time employment for low- to moderate- income residents; ability to repay the loan; and reasonable credit history and payment records.

For more information on how to apply, visit www.MauiChamber.com or call (808) 244-0081.