Maui Business

First “Women in Business Seminar Series” Presentation Focuses on Opening New Doors of Opportunity

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  • Leslie Wilkins, President and CEO, MEDB. Courtesy image.
  • Shan Wirt, Director of MBDA Enterprising Women of Color Business Center. Courtesy image.
  • Wayne Wong, Small Business Development Center Maui. Courtesy image.
  • Gary Albitz, Business Consultant, MEDB. Courtesy image.

More than 600 people participated in a webinar hosted by the Maui Economic Development Board in partnership with the YWCA Oʻahu’s Minority Business Development Agency’s Enterprising Women of Color Business Center. The event on March 24, kicked off their “Women in Business Seminar Series.”

This information-packed webinar entitled “Getting SBA Certified as a Woman-Owned Small Business: Opening New Doors of Opportunity,” featured presenters: Leslie Wilkin, President & CEO of MEDB; Shan Wirt, Director of YWCA Oahu’s Minority Business Development Agency’s Enterprising Women of Color Business Center; Gary Albitz, Business Consultant for MEDB; and Wayne Wong, Small Business Development Center Maui.

According to Wilkins, “We selected the timing of our first webinar to celebrate Women’s History Month. According to the State of Hawaiʻi Data Book 2019, Hawaiʻi’s 44,000+ women-owned businesses generate $7 million a year – 47 percent of women-owned businesses nationally are women of color. Our panelists and their teams represent programs, technical assistance, first-hand experience and coaching expertise available to help guide Hawaiʻi’s entrepreneurs to becoming certified as an SBA Woman-Owned Small Business. They are pleased to share a number of resources for growing one’s business.”


“Women have made tremendous strides in their contributes to our state’s workforce and economy,” said Wirt. “Today, opportunities are abundant for minority women-owned small businesses and we’re here to help level the playing field.”

The following were some of the opportunities and resources shared during the March 24th Women in Business Seminar:

  • Maui Economic Development Board (MEDB) offers a number of experienced consultants who can coach and guide businesses at all stages. Visit
  • The MBDA Enterprising Women of Color Business Center at YWCA Oahu supports minority women-owned businesses with free financial and business counseling, workshops and other resources. Visit
  • MBDA EWOC Certification Course ­(Cohort 3) – This 10-week certification aims to expand contracting opportunities for local entrepreneurs. Classes will cover the benefits and application processes of primary federal government and national corporate certification programs.  Cohort 3 applications available starting May 10, 2021. Call 808-695-2627 or visit
  • SBA Women’s Business Center Program helps women overcome continuing barriers to success such as the Patsy T. Mink Center for Business & Leadership in Hawaii. Visit
  • Both Maui County and Hawaii State Have Special Programs for WO/MO/VO/DO. Visit State’s Hawaii Awards & Notices Data System (HANDS) website
  • Over 2,400 grants are available on the U.S. Government website
  • Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) provides opportunities for socially and economically disadvantaged small businesses (SDB) and women-owned small businesses (WOSB). Visit
  • The Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) funds early-stage research and development in three technology areas: photovoltaics (PV), concentrating solar-thermal power (CSP), and systems integration with the goal of improving the affordability, reliability, and domestic benefit of solar technologies on the grid. Visit

A full list of opportunities and resources shared during the Women in Business Seminar kickoff presentation is available online.


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