Congratulations to Kaua‘i’s APEC Showcase finalists

During the past six months, the APEC 2011 Hawai‘i Host Committee — Kaua‘i has revved up our island’s opportunities to have some exposure at the APEC 2011 Leader’s Week in November by inviting Kaua‘i businesses to participate in the Hawai‘i Business Innovation Showcase competition.

The Showcase will allow a Kaua‘i business to exhibit its product during the Leaders Week in Honolulu. Three Kaua‘i finalists were selected and one will have the opportunity to participate and market its products to more than 20,000 attendees, including about 2,000 members of the global press corps.

Aqua Engineers (water and waste water management), Malie (spa and beauty products using only indigenous and local plants and florals) and TREX Enterprises Corporation (optical and structural components from proprietary TREX CVC SRC) are the finalists.

These three showcase the diversity of some of the small business entrepreneurs on Kaua‘i. These companies have about 100 employees and contribute to our economy, including extensive community involvement. While they are “home grown” and Kaua‘i-based, they also have experience in doing business among the 21 member nations of APEC.

On behalf of the Chamber and Kaua‘i Host Committee, I would like to extend congratulations to them for their ability to not only succeed and participate in the global and highly competitive marketplace, but also for providing job opportunities for Kaua‘i residents that range from scientific and knowledge-based industry skill sets, from high tech to retail and manufacturing.

The public is welcome to join sponsors, County of Kaua‘i, Waimea Plantation Cottages and Kaua‘i Chamber of Commerce for an awards event on Sept. 8 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Waimea Plantation Cottages. Reservations, on a first-come-first served basis, may be made online at www.kauaichamber.org or by calling 245-7363.

Beginning in August and continuing throughout the fall, prior to the start of APEC, Kaua‘i will also host several visiting delegations from APEC countries, including press groups from China, travel agents, government and business leaders from the Philippines and dignitaries from sister cities in Japan. I invite members of the community to continue to extend aloha should you see your Kaua‘i hosts and visiting guests as we showcase some of the best of Kaua‘i as you do every day to visitors who may be shopping in your town, dining at a restaurant or simply taking souvenir photographs of some of our historic and cultural landscapes, such as the Waimea Canyon, Hanapepe and Koke‘e lookouts.

During the past three years, I have focused my attention on the West Kaua‘i, Lihu‘e and, recently, the North Shore communities in order to gain a better understanding of the business and community make up and needs of our neighbors across the island.

I started 2011 with several visits to the Hanalei, Kilauea and Princeville communities, which represent the old and the new, including the Chamber’s First Quarter Membership Meeting at the rechristened St. Regis Princeville Resort. The Resort provided a beautiful setting to have Chair of the Board and CEO Peter Ho of Bank of Hawai‘i introduce attendees to APEC and describe potential opportunities for Kaua‘i businesses to participate.

The recent Green Drinks Kaua‘i event sponsored by Pacific Edge Magazine/Element Media and Common Ground in Kilauea and a community meeting with Department of Land and Natural Resources Director William Aila concluded my August schedule.

I’ll be looking forward to spending time in the East Kaua‘i area, which encompasses the towns of Kealia, Kapa‘a and Wailua and to work in partnership with the members of the Kapa‘a Business Association in understanding their challenges and opportunities they have faced in this tough yet recovering economy. This area also represents the islands’ fastest growing business community and corridor.

I’d like to also thank Chamber member Kaua‘i Publishing Co./The Garden Island newspaper in launching this new column that replaces the Kaua‘i Business Report and provides an expanded Business Week section for residents and visitors.

Since August has three Mondays, a third Chamber Page will be ready for readers in the Aug. 29 paper; and the next Chamber column henceforth, will be on the third Sunday of each month.

Aloha.

• To learn more about the Chamber, visit www.kauaichamber.org, send an email to info@kauaichamber.org, call 245-7363 or visit 4268-H Rice St. in downtown Lihu‘e.

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