Maui Business

Students Take Business Ideas From Vision to Presentation

November 17, 2014, 11:05 AM HST
* Updated November 17, 11:07 AM
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ABIT students preparing for Thursday's event. Left to Right: Michelle Heller, Angela Thielk, Jeremy Bac. Courtesy photo.

ABIT students preparing for Thursday’s event. Left to Right: Michelle Heller, Angela Thielk, Jeremy Bac. Courtesy photo.

By Maui Now Staff

Students with the University of Hawaiʻi Maui College’s Applied Business and Information Technology Program are taking their business ideas from a vision to a professional presentation.

The public is invited to take a sneak peak of the kinds of small beta businesses that may be arriving in Maui County soon during two sessions planned for Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014: from 10:30 a.m. to 12 noon; and from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the campus’ Kaʻaʻike Building.

School administrators say student plans range from: an exotic, hand-made jewelry company using local sources, to a cyber-security consultancy, a company distributing culturally inspired Hāna-made products, a raw food restaurant, and a centrally located furniture refinisher/paint warehouse.

“This is an important next step for our students,” said ABIT program coordinator Dr. Debasis Bhattacharya in a university press release.


Bhattacharya said the students are looking forward to feedback from the community to hone their plan and launch a successful enterprise.  “The program’s goal is to incubate the next generation of small businesses that will help our local economy thrive,” she said.


Misty-Rayne Fontanilla, an ABIT student in her final year, will be presenting her project, Makana ʻo Hāna, which translates in English to “gift of Hāna.”  The business aims to provide guests and visitors with the opportunity to “take a piece of Hāna home” with them by offering “culturally inspired, Hāna-made products” handcrafted by area residents.

“The ABIT program has helped me to take a business idea and turn it into a working reality,” said Fontanilla in the announcement. “A Hawaiian proverb states, “ʻAʻohe pau ka ʻike i ka hālau hoʻokahi,” which can be understood as “one does not learn from one source alone.” “With the help of mentors and guides, I’m learning step-by-step how to start a successful business,” she said.

Another student, Jeremy Bac, who is developing a cyber-security startup said, “I’ve learned that when it comes to value propositions and researching your market, it comes down to going out and talking to people about their current problems and validating your hypothesis to create a successful business.”

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