By Sonia Isotov
Last Friday, Noni Biotech International (NBI) headquarters in Haiku, Maui, was the site of a small business roundtable discussion that included Congresswoman Mazie K. Hirono.
Hirono’s visit was prompted by the selection of Maui-based neutraceutical producer Noni Biotech as a finalist in the APEC Statewide Business Innovation Showcase.
“We have high quality affordable products available to all. The fact that APEC is working on reducing tariffs and other trade barriers across the Asia-Pacific region is crucial for our company,” said Marie-Laure Ankaoua, chief operating officer, NBI, in a written statement. Currently exporting to over 50 countries, Noni BioTech averaged 100% annual sales growth over the last five years, with non-US sales representing over 55% of total sales. The company is currently doing business with several APEC members and looking to have distributors and business partners in all 21 APEC member economies.
Roundtable discussions revolved around the upcoming APEC Hawaii conference, trade, sustainability, and other concerns of the small business community. Participants included: David Backstrom, chief executive officer, Noni Biotech; Marie-Laure Anakaoua, vice president and chief operating officer, Noni Biotech; Paul Nordone, Director of R&D, Noni Biotech; James Krueger – Krueger & Wong; Clarence Tavares, Sunny Vick; Mimi Hu, Levin & Hu LLP, CPA; Bernard Mohan, Island Pacifica; James IPO Mossman, County of Maui, Office of Economic Development; and Fred Rickert, Hawaii Small Business Development Center.