Maui Business

Businesses “Embrace Their Financials” at Maui Startup Event

October 31, 2018, 12:29 PM HST
* Updated November 1, 6:26 AM
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MEDB’s Gerry Smith shared helpful tips on understanding one’s bottom line during MEDB’s “Pinching Your Pennies: Finance for Entrepreneurs” workshop held on October 30th.

Maui Economic Development Board kicked off their 2018 Startup Weekend Maui Series this week with “Pinching Your Pennies: Finance for Entrepreneurs.” Held at MEDB’s Malcolm Center, more than 20 attendees got a real taste of “beer math,” down and dirty math, minus the beer, at Tuesday’s event.

MEDB’s Director of Business Development, Gerry Smith, who led the workshop said, “When it comes to understanding one’s financials, often business owners elect to hand off this task to their CPA or other people whom they feel are better with numbers. But the reality is everyone is capable, and people need to be personally involved in understanding their company’s financials, to take ownership of it and to embrace it. It’s one of the keys to business success.”

Those who attended the Oct. 30 workshop learned how to run their business more profitably and avoid mistakes that cause businesses to fail. Smith, who works with businesses one-on-one as part of MEDB’s services, addressed questions such as: Are you covering ALL of your costs? How much should your product sell for? Should you offer your product Wholesale? What is Break-Even Analysis? What is cash flow and why is it so important? What are fixed vs. variable costs?

Wendy Acosta of Maui Sweet n Spicy, who is looking to take her business to the next level by exporting her high quality cacao products to China, shared, “There were points in this workshop that I needed to hear and that I felt were valuable. Before I take that next huge step of exporting my products, it’s critical for me to know that my foundational pieces are where they should to be and that all my ducks are in a row. This workshop was one way to double check myself.”

Lacey Abercrombie of Kīhei, a voiceover artist, commented, “I didn’t go to school for business so I feel the more I can learn about aspects of operating a successful company, especially the finances, the better.”


Matthew Barnes, CEO/founder of WeSharePro, a monetized social network company, shared, “I’ve already signed up for Startup Weekend Maui on Nov. 16-18 so I came to this financial workshop to meet people, see who else might be interested in mobile tech, to learn as much as I can, and to have fun.”


Fred Echeverria summed it up at the end of the class, relating the lessons to his past business experience and how he plans to move forward, “What I have learned now is that I need to be more involved with the business and keep a finger on the pulse.”

MEDB’s next workshop, “Lean Startup Canvas” will be held at the Malcolm Center on Nov. 6 from 5 to 8 p.m. The business model canvas is an important tool that people can use to help bring clarity to the question, “How will my business succeed?” During this hands-on workshop led by Sultan Ventures and XLR8UH, participants will learn about the business model canvas and can immediately apply their knowledge. The cost is $20 per person. Dinner will be provided.

Then it’s “Pitch Bootcamp” on Tuesday, Nov. 13, where attendees will receive helpful tips on crafting a strong 60-second pitch for their startup idea. Get feedback from peers and mentors and hone presentation skills through PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE. Event is free.


The culmination of the series will be Startup Weekend Maui on Nov. 16-18. In just 54 hours, participants will experience the highs, lows, fun, and pressure that make up life at a startup. They will learn how to create a real company and meet the very best mentors, investors, cofounders, and sponsors who are ready to help them get started. With the best tools and approaches at their disposal, they will take giant leaps in learning skills to create a business, work on a startup team, and connect with the right people and resources.

For event details and to register for any or all of the Startup Weekend Maui Series, visit  Reservations are required for all events and space is limited. 

Startup Weekend Maui is part of a global grassroots movement of active and empowered entrepreneurs with various skill sets who are determined to learn the basics of founding startups and launching successful ventures. The Startup Weekend movement is the largest community of passionate entrepreneurs with over 2,900 past events in 150 countries around the world.

The Startup Weekend Maui Series is presented by Maui Economic Development Board. Sponsored by County of Maui, Mayor’s Office of Economic Development, Hawaiʻi SCORE, HTDC, Maui Brewing Company, The Maui News, Pacific Media Group, Startup Capital Ventures, Sultan Ventures, University of Hawaiʻi Maui College, and XLR8HI.

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