Maui Discussion

Ask The Mayor: How Can I Start My Own Business?

February 24, 2019, 1:00 PM HST
* Updated February 22, 10:08 PM
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Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino answers some of the most-asked questions submitted to his staff.

Q: Aloha Mayor Victorino. I’ve been working in the hospitality industry for years, but I’ve always dreamed of making a career change or even running my own business. It all seems a bit daunting, though, and I’m honestly a little afraid of taking the plunge. Are there any resources or people that I could get help from on Maui?

A:  Running your own business or changing careers can sometimes be a very scary and lonely venture, but we can and want to help you. Maui County provides many programs and resources for residents and partners with numerous organizations.

A prime example is the Core Four program administered by Maui Economic Opportunity Inc.’s Business Development Center. The program is a six-week, 36-hour course in how to write a business plan while providing the information entrepreneurs need to start or grow their business.

Last week, I was fortunate to meet the program’s latest graduates and each one of them has a bright future. Around 130 residents go through this program each year and over 2,000 have graduated since it started nearly 20 years ago under the direction of Gladys Baisa – who now serves as one of my community liaisons.


The Core Four program is offered 10 times per year on Maui, Molokai and Lānaʻi. The course is funded by grants from Maui County, the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development, Central Pacific Bank Foundation and the Agape Foundation.


The next series of classes starts Feb. 26.

To download the application and register for the program, visit MEO’s website at Applications can be submitted via email to [email protected] or dropped off at the office located at 99 Mahalani St. in Wailuku.

For more information, please call MEO’s Business Development Center at (808) 249-2990.


Another great tool people can take advantage of is our very own Maui County Business Resource Center located at the Maui Mall. This center is an extension project of the Office of Economic Development and serves as a resource for new and existing business owners who need assistance and consultation.

The Kuha`o Business Resource Center, located in Kaunakakai, serves business owners on Moloka‘i.

To access online business research tools, browse business publications, obtain forms and applications for business licenses and download a handbook on starting a business in Maui County, visit To view the calendar of workshops from the MCBRC webpage, click on “Training Opportunities.”

You can call the MCBRC at (808) 873-8247 for more information on services provided at the center.

Want to ask the Mayor?

Submit your Maui County related questions to Mayor Michael Victorino by email at [email protected], by phone at (808) 270-7855 or via mail to 200 S. High Street, ninth floor, Wailuku, Hawaiʻi 96793.

Questions submitted will be considered for inclusion in the “Ask the Mayor” column.

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