Past Winners

2017 Winners 


NOVEMBER 5, 2017


By Cameron Miculka
West Hawaii Today


KAILUA-KONA — Sunshine Pediatric Clinic is coming back to Hilo with $25,000 to help it continue to grow and serve the families of East Hawaii after winning the 2017 Hawaii Island Business Plan Competition on Saturday.

Daniel and Dr. Shallon Craddock opened the clinic earlier this year. The clinic was one of 43 entries initially submitted to the competition, now in its second year.

The clinic, located in downtown Hilo, is focused on tackling a shortage of primary care doctors — including pediatricians — in the area.

“Sunshine Pediatric Clinic is a solution to this,” Shallon Craddock said in her “elevator pitch,” one of three parts of the competition’s final round on Saturday. “Since opening in February of 2017, we have increased our enrollment by over 800 patients and on average we add 10 patients a day.”

She added they personally have already invested their savings and 401ks into the enterprise and the $25,000 prize would go toward purchases that would allow them to expand the clinic’s services, such as medical equipment, computers and air conditioning.

“Our keiki are our most valuable and vulnerable population,” she added. “They are our investment in our future.”

Last month, 15 entries, including Sunshine, were given a chance to pitch their business plans to a group of judges. In the end, just eight of the competitors made it to the final round: a business “triathlon” in which finalists were scored on their business plans, a 15-minute presentation to judges and a final 2-minute elevator pitch for finalists to sell their visions.

The entrant with the top combined score from all three events was the winner.

Kelly Moran, HIplan co-chair, said after the competition that he’s seen a lot of progress between last year and this year in the professional evolution of the businesses taking part in the contest. And the quality and variety of participants, he added, speaks volumes about the potential that the island’s business community has to grow and develop.

“I think the Big Island has a reservoir of resources and talent that, given the proper venue, can blossom into some very effective businesses,” he said.

After the competition, the Craddocks said the experience of the competition exposed them to other businesses that are growing throughout the island and the sheer potential local entrepreneurs have.

“We may be on an island, but we can have a global reach,” Daniel Craddock said, adding he’s personally committed to staying connected with the other entrepreneurs in this year’s competition.

Shallon Craddock mentioned several of the other entrepreneurs who had found their own niche or market as well as identifying specific problems they’re trying to solve, such as improving access to water, exploring alternative energy production and developing local agribusinesses.

They also acknowledged the support they’ve received from other local entrepreneurs, such as Hawaii Jiu Jitsu, which donated $600 to the clinic after being inspired by the work Sunshine Pediatric Clinic was doing in the community.

“There’s so many people who want to make a difference, who want to have an impact. Sometimes it’s just knowing that there’s somebody doing something about the problems that we face around the island,” Daniel Craddock said.

Robbie Melton, executive director and chief executive officer of the Hawaii Technology Development Corp and one of the contest’s judges, said the Craddocks’ clear message and need they identified helped land them the top prize.

“It’s not about just the company itself,” she said. “It’s also how you present the company. And so they presented a need that we need to fill on the island. And I think they had a very clear path to get to where they wanted to go.”

Daniel Craddock said taking part in the contest — on top of keeping up the work they’re already doing in the community as well as raising their family — “certainly shows you what you’re made of.”

“It pushes you beyond your own limits,” he said. “So we’re thankful for that.”

Shallon Craddock echoed that point, saying the event pushed her out of her comfort zone.

The competition also pushed them to come together and really detail and analyze their vision, Daniel Craddock said, which strengthened their efforts to achieve what they had set out to accomplish.

“So I think whenever co-founders have the opportunity to take the time to dig deeper into the planning side, there’s always an extra level of benefit,” he said.

Moran also emphasized the importance for entrepreneurs to do that self-evaluation as their businesses grow and develop.

“The global vision of where you stand in the business market needs to happen on a daily basis,” he said. “You have to step back and look where you’re going every day.”

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Watch this special message from the 2017 winners:


Hawaii Tribune Herald
NOVEMBER 3, 2017

Business plans pay off for UH-Hilo, HCC students

Two undergraduates at the University of Hawaii at Hilo and Hawaii Community College each have won a year’s free tuition for the business plans they submitted to the Hawaii Island Business Plan Competition.

Juvette K. Kahawai‘i, 21, a senior at UH-Hilo’s School of Business and Economics, submitted a plan to launch Kupa‘a Tax and Accounting Corp. — a family business that would provide not only tax preparation but bookkeeping and payroll administration for Hawaii Island businesses. UH-Hilo will cover the cost of her next year’s tuition of about $7,200.

Kainen Kahiwahiwa Bohol, 26, who is taking classes at HCC, submitted a plan to create Lava Forge Metalcraft. It would make salable and exportable furniture, tools and decorative items from the scrap materials that are used and then typically discarded by HCC’s welding and machining program. HCC will cover the cost of his next year’s tuition of about $4,800.

“I’d like to thank Judy Mellon and Kanoe Puuohau at the Small Business Development Corporation who helped me develop my business plan,” Kahawai‘i said. “We are prepared to launch Kupa‘a Tax and Accounting this coming January.

“It’s hard for small businesses, especially new businesses, to have tax and accounting expertise in-house. We want to meet their needs. We already have two small-business clients lined up and are working to bring on two more.”

“I came to see myself as a ‘fabricator,’ able to make things to use here or to export,” said Bohol, a former Marine, after enrolling in HCC’s welding and machining program. “With the right equipment, we can turn leaf springs into kitchen knives or turn suspension springs into end tables or shelving. I’ll know what I want to make, when I need it.”

He intends to use his scholarship for liberal arts courses at HCC to round out his education — and potentially give him more ideas for things to make.

The tuition scholarships for student contestants are a new addition to the competition this year. HIplan will — as it did last year — award $25,000 in startup capital to one of the eight finalists who will make their presentations Saturday at the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority in Kailua-Kona. The event begins at 9 a.m. and is open to the public.

Primary sponsors for the awards were the Hawaii Island Chamber of Commerce and University of Hawaii at Hilo.

Pacific Media Group Advertising Prize

Alakai Academy was the winner of the Pacific Media Group $5000 Advertising Prize!



2016 Winner

winner-imageNOVEMBER 6, 2016



Ono Queens, of Pahoa, won $25,000 to help grow its business of raising queen bees. The prize, awarded November 5, came from HIplan, a local hui organized to help Hawaii Island entrepreneurs develop and implement successful business plans. Ono Queens ( is owned and operated by third-generation beekeeper Chris Klepps and his wife Wendy, whose business plan focused on producing top-quality queens and selling them to beekeepers on the Mainland. As Chris explained: “There is a never-ending demand for new queen bees.”

The HIplan competition began in September, with 49 business owners submitting draft plans. In October, after quarter- and semi-final rounds of judging, eight of them were named finalists. Those eight were required to submit a polished business plan, make a 15-minute PowerPoint presentation based on it, and deliver a two-minute oral summary – a so-called “elevator pitch” – all typical of what entrepreneurs have to do when seeking venture capital. Each of these components was scored numerically by the judges, and Ono Queens garnered the highest total points. The judges in this final round were Murray Clay, Managing Partner of the Ulupono Initiative; Jared Kushi, Program Director of Blue Startups; Howard Dicus, TV and Radio Business News Reporter; and Chuck Erskine, Hilo-based Vice President of First Hawaiian Bank. The contestants’ scores were tabulated and reported by CPA Greg Taketa, of Taketa Iwata & Hara.

“All in all, these eight presentations were uniformly strong and well delivered,” said judge Clay, “and the quality of presentations far exceeded my expectations.” Judge Kushi said he was “super impressed,” with the finalists’ plans. And judge Dicus said: “Big Island folks should be very proud of their entrepreneurs.”

HIplan is hosted by UH-Hilo, and sponsored by the Hawaii Island Chamber of Commerce. The co-chairs, originators and organizers of the project are aquaculture entrepreneur Jim Wyban and Realtor Kelly Moran, President of Hilo Brokers. “Our goal,” said Moran, “is to stimulate an entrepreneurial ecosystem here on Hawaii Island.” Wyban said that all the finalists’ tallied scores were close, but that, in the end, the two-minute pitch from Ono Queens outscored those of the other contestants. In second-place was Hawaii Family Health, in Hilo, a medical practice headed by Michelle Mitchell, MD; and in third place came Big Island Wasabi, an agricultural enterprise in Kona led by Sara Philipps and Trevor La Torre-Couch.

A second HIplan competition will be held in 2017 because, “There are too few ‘bridges’ between the island’s business community and the university,” said Moran. “So often, university graduates cannot find work here; so we want to expand their opportunities.” And Wyban noted, “The business communities of East and West Hawaii tend to be separate, so we feel that the Hiplan enterprise has stimulated collaboration. The Silicon Valley experience shows that networking is the ‘secret sauce’ of successful places.”

For more information, go to; or contact Jim Wyban: 808-938-2840;

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Watch this special message from the 2016 winners:


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