Business Conference ‘Inspirational’

Photo by Cynthia Rawlins

Molokai’s sixth annual Business Conference brought resources, information and inspiration to the fingertips of local entrepreneurs two weeks ago. Whether aspiring business people seeking startup basics or established shop owners looking to sharpen their toolboxes, attendees got to learn from experts in the field, both from Molokai and around the state.

“The Molokai Small Business Conference was truly inspirational,” said Kay Fukomoto, director for the County’s Office of Economic Development, which helped put on the event. “Hearing successful business owners attribute their success to the workshops offered at the conference and at the Kuha’o Business Center speaks volumes of the power of education. The County of Maui Office of Economic Development is committed to bringing strategic business workshops to the Molokai community.”

This year’s 40 participants chose workshops that best fit their needs and interested throughout the day, from topics ranging from social media and marketing to business law, trademarks, taxes and regulations. The event was held at UH Maui College’s Molokai campus.

“As a business resource center, we strive to empower local entrepreneurs and small business owners with the tools and knowledge they need to succeed and continue to grow,” said Cynthia Rawlins, Small Business Advocate at Molokai’s Kuha’o Business Center. “The Molokai Business Conference is designed to help create new ideas that inspire local businesses to take their business to the next level. It is our hope that participants take full advantage of the opportunity to network and connect with the resources they need to help them excel.”

Arabella Ark, owner of Ark Ceramics, said attending the event helped her catch up to the times as an older business person.

“As a dinosaur from the Jurassic Period, I needed more than a prehistoric amount of information to begin a social media campaign for Ark Ceramics here on Molokai as well as on the world-wide web, even though I have been in the art business for almost 50 years,” she said. “The Molokai Office of the County of Maui’s Office of Economic Development offered a special program tailored for business people like me, people who run successful businesses but who need help getting their art or product exposed in this digital, internet age… The conference held special value to me as it was held conveniently on Molokai and addressed many of my concerns.”

This year’s Business Conference was scheduled earlier in the summer but was rescheduled to Oct. 18 after a storm threatened to pose logistical challenges on the original date.


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