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Bogar’s pitch recognized during Mana Up Hawaii

By BY LOUISE ROCKETT - | Dec 4, 2020

Monica Bogar (left) of Napili Flo Farm receives her $2,500 award from Tannya Joaquin, co-host of KHON2’s “Living808.” Bogar’s pitch won the People’s Choice contest at the Mana Up Showcase.

NAPILI — For the second time in 2020, Monica Bogar has been spotlighted in the winner’s circle.

The diminutive powerhouse, Lahainaluna High School Class of ’96 graduate, is walking the talk of a successful entrepreneur.

The year started well for the co-founder of Napili Flo Farm at the 2020 Good Food awards in San Francisco, where Bogar took first place in two categories.

The national competition annually recognizes artisan food producers in 16 different divisions. Bogar snatched the top award in the Pickle category with the farm’s Pineapple-Ginger-Tumeric Sauerkraut; and it was the Kim Chi Gut Shots that got the judges’ attention in the Elixir division.

Not one to rest on her laurels, on her return to Maui, Bogar joined the Mana Up Hawaii 12-week accelerator program in the spring

“You have to apply to Mana up,” Bogar explained, “and they pick ten local (Hawaii) companies from hundreds of applicants.”

Their website, https://manauphawaii.com/pages/overview, describes the results-driven accelerator “designed to uncover high-impact sales opportunities, tackle production challenges and develop executive leadership. The program includes workshops, connections to a network of advisers, help in crafting an attractive narrative for expansion and access to distribution channels through partners and digital platforms.”

With the COVID-19 pandemic taking hold in our island state, Bogar said, “We did it virtually for six months, and I did have to go twice to Oahu during that time.”

Each program ends with a Product Showcase, during which graduating companies present a three-minute pitch to a crowd of over 500 people.

Meli James is the co-founder of Mana Up.

“The People’s Choice contest was part of our Mana Up (end of the accelerator program) Showcase,” James advised, “that happened on Friday, Nov. 20th. It was a voting done by our viewers to vote for their favorite entrepreneur and pitch.”

“People’s Choice,” James advised, “picked the pitch winner,” and the top pitch was given to Bogar of Napili Flo Farm.

Bogar said she was “blown away and in disbelief” about the win and the $2,500 award

The 40-year-old mother of two was humbled.

“Our whole cohort was an amazing lineup,” Bogar observed, “and everyone’s pitch was so good. To be honest, when I started the program, it took me months to believe I even got accepted. I still can’t believe the group of professional business owners I was with; so to win the pitch has truly given me the confidence to know that our products deserve to be in every grocer!”

“My heart is full and so grateful for everyone who voted for our company and to continue to support us, and for Mana Up for choosing us and believing in our small company from Napili. Makes me so happy to make our community proud,” she added.

“My love for good ono food and my island Maui drives me to want to create a biz that supports our agricultural and health for our people without compromising the Earth!

“Helping to change our food sovereignty as well as our food system to be more sustainable” is an underlying goal that drives her.

Bogar’s objectives are in line with those of Mana Up.

Located in Honolulu, Mana Up is a statewide economic development initiative, with companies from all the island participating.

The first accelerator was in January 2018; 51 companies have graduated so far.

“Mana up founders and partners truly believe in supporting our local economy in such a sustainable, positive way. I’m so forever grateful for the networking, mentoring support and guidance they teach all their cohorts. The culture and community they are building feels just like home in Hawaii –so much aloha and good intentions for all of Hawaii, not just for the business owners,” Bogar said.