Maui News

Gov. Ige and Local Business Leaders Share Vision for Hawai‘i’s Digital Economy

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TRUE Digital Economy Event. Photo credit: Rex Maximilian

As Hawai‘i continues its economic recovery coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic, leaders from the public and private sector are suggesting building a more robust digital economy as a key component of business within the state.

That was the message Governor David Ige and top business leaders shared at the Entrepreneurs Sandbox for the event, “Invest in Hawai‘i’s Digital Economy,” a catalyst for technological progress, Wednesday.

In his remarks, Gov. Ige elaborated on the vision he shared in his State of the State Address in January, which centered around a digital economy to make Hawai‘i a more resilient and sustainable state.

TRUE Digital Economy Event. Photo credit: Rex Maximilian

“We’ve all seen what COVID-19 has done to our state, our country and the world. It has super accelerated the advancement to the digital economy because every single organization on the planet had to embrace it or perish,” Gov. Ige said.

A big part of the mission is “building education and up-skilling technology to help those who don’t have the skills because they will need them in the Hawai‘i of the future,” according to Gov. Ige.

The event was sponsored by the TRUE Initiative, a committee of 25 organizations that aims to create tech-enabled jobs by accelerating the adoption of technology.


Paul Yonamine, the chair of the TRUE Initiative and executive chairman of Central Pacific Bank, encouraged local businesses and organizations to participate in the webinars and events offered by TRUE. “We need to come together and share information, and make sure that the knowledge stays in Hawai‘i,” said Yonamine.

Gov. Ige thanked TRUE, Transform Hawai‘i Government and the Hawai‘i Technology Development Corporation for collaborating to enable Hawai‘i’s digital shift.

He also highlighted some successes of state departments using technology to make government more efficient, such as service and user experience enhancements at the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs and State Travels Program, the Financial Modernization System and HTDC’s eCommerce and digital marketing programs to support local manufacturers.

Governor Ige spoke at the TRUE Digital Economy Event on Wednesday. Photo credit: Rex Maximilian

“The State of Hawai‘i is all in,” said Gov. Ige in his closing remarks.

Director of the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, Mike McCarthy, noted that the state’s Safe Travels Program “was an amazing feat to get people, technology, and our number one industry together.” He added, “The key to digital convergence is also leadership and setting an example. TRUE has shown us the competitive advantage is us and how we can work together.”

Edward Ontai, president of DataHouse Consulting, spoke about the Community Innovation Mentorship Program, one of the resources that TRUE offers. “There’s power in connecting assets with community. We developed the CIMP framework and process to help organizations drive toward the digital economy. It’s about connecting ideas and assets, and collaborating together for solutions to put into action.”

Peter Dames, executive vice president of Servco said, “As technology gets more complex, we wanted to make it easier for businesses to adopt it. TRUE provides a forum where we can share our learnings with other companies and government. We must continue to build out this area to achieve a successful digital future.”

To learn more about TRUE and sign up for upcoming events, visit

TRUE Digital Economy Event. Photo credit: Rex Maximilian

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