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Maui County Receives Excellence Award from International Council

September 27, 2017, 1:00 PM HST · Updated September 27, 1:05 PM
Nikki Schenfeld · 0 Comments
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The County of Maui Mayor’s Office of Economic Development announced it won the Gold Excellence in Economic Development Award for its 2017 Made in Maui County Festival.

F. Michael Langley, FM, CEO of GREATER MSP, Minneapolis–St. Paul, MN, and 2017 IEDC Board Chair, presents Teena Rasmussen of the County of Maui Mayor’s Office of Economic Development with IEDC’s Gold Award. Photo credit: IEDC

The award was presented at an award ceremony held on Tuesday, Sept. 19, during the International Economic Development Council’s annual conference in Toronto, Canada.

“Not only did they (County of Maui Mayor’s Office of Economic Development) work to provide a necessary service to their community; but also, their participation in the awards program sheds light on their stellar projects which other communities can now use as a benchmark,” said Michael Langley, FM, CEO of GREATER MSP, Minneapolis–St. Paul, MN, and 2017 IEDC Board Chair.

The Made in Maui County Festival was established in 2014 by the County of Maui Mayor’s Office of Economic Development and the Maui Chamber of Commerce. The festival was created to help grow the islands’ value-added and small manufacturing businesses based within the county’s three islands of Maui, Molokai and Lanai.

“I was thrilled to be at this conference in Toronto to receive our award on behalf of Maui County,” said said Teena Rasmussen, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development. “IEDC announced that they had a record 625 entries for the Excellence in Economic Development Awards this year. It is extremely gratifying that the Made In Maui County Festival rose to the top of our category by receiving the Gold award. It is great validation that the Festival has become an economic engine for our community.”

According to Rasmussen, “Vital to vendors’ success and the Festival’s overall economic impact is the ‘Buyers Preview,’ a B2B event where pre-qualified buyers, wholesalers and distributors receive a complimentary admission to meet with vendors and find new locally made products.

“Invitations are sent to 700+ wholesalers and distributors in Hawaii, the US Mainland, Canada, Australia, and Japan. The relationships built and resulting purchases are taking Maui County businesses to new heights and to markets with both domestic and international export potential. This event also spurs economic development to our fledgling companies that are given the opportunity to attract major buyers and are urged to consider the implications of scaling up production,” she said.

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When the festival first began four years ago there were 60 participating companies. Now, the festival has over 260.

Officials say being a juried show, the festival is the most sought-after products show on Maui, with the promise of unveiling new products, meeting with prospective wholesalers and distributors, and connecting with new customers.

The festival features 14 business development partners that offer a wealth of programs, grants, consulting, micro-loans and workshops to further the success of the companies. Companies who do not get selected to showcase their products are offered a free 1-hour business consult.

The 4th annual Made in Maui County Festival will be held on Nov. 3 and 4, 2017 and will feature over 140 vendors offering a wide variety of made in Maui County products; along with food trucks, product demonstrations, fashion shows and drawings.

For more information, visit here or call (808) 270-7710.

Nikki Schenfeld
Nikki joined the Maui Now team in 2016 as a writer/reporter. Originally from Chicago, she has had internships with CBS2 Chicago and Comcast SportsNet Chicago where she had the opportunity to interview some of Chicago's best athletes. She graduated from Columbia College Chicago in 2010 with a Bachelor's degree in Broadcast Journalism. She moved to Maui in 2013.
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