FoundHer announces second cohort of Native Hawaiian & AAPI women-led businesses
FoundHer, a business accelerator dedicated to supporting Native Hawaiian and AAPI women entrepreneurs announced the five women-led businesses of the 2022/23 cohort.
“We’re excited to embark on another year of FoundHer and uplift these five women in the Native Hawaiian and AAPI entrepreneur community,” shared FoundHer Director Darien Siguenza. “We’re proud to launch this second cohort that shows how Hawaiʻi is at the forefront of innovation toward equity in business accelerators as we begin to expand beyond Hawaiʻi to the US continent.”
In June 2022 FoundHer put out the call for women business owners throughout Hawaiʻi to apply for the cohort. The team vetted and met face to face with hundreds of applicants, arriving at a final cohort that gathers entrepreneurs from across the state including three counties – Iwi Nails and [Ep-ik] Style of Molokaʻi, Kamuela Gourmet and Island Swim from Hawaiʻi island and Haʻa and Co of Kauaʻi. In its previous year FoundHer companies across three islands grew 200% on average and created 12 jobs in the local economy.
Native Hawaiian and AAPI women-led businesses are growing, increasing by 43% from 2014-2019, or twice the rate of non-minority female-owned businesses and nearly five times the rate of all businesses. Many Native Hawaiian and AAPI women business owners face gender bias compounded by racism and, for indigenous founders, the ongoing effects of colonization. FoundHer was started in 2020 to address these issues and develop opportunities for AAPI and indigenous women entrepreneurs with an unprecedented program of family care support and “no strings” grants of capital, along with traditional accelerator offerings like mentorship and skill-building.