WAIPOULI — Kendall Andersland Zatrapa remembers when Aletha Thomas was her teacher in the fifth- and sixth-grades at Kahili Adventist School.
“Kendall could shuck fruits with the best of them,” said Laura Cristobal Andersland of The Salty Wahine Gourmet Salts Thursday at the Courtyard by Marriott at Coconut Beach.
Andersland said when Thomas started Monkeypod Jam in the uncertain times of teacher furloughs and reduced hours, Zatrapa was one of her workers helping process the local fruit.
Thomas was announced the winner of the 2017 Kauai Coffee Agricultural Business Plan Competition. She advanced through three major phases, culminating with Phase III, where the top eight of the original 27 teams did their final presentations.
“Equipment!” blurted out Andersland, the winner of the last business plan competition, as Kauai Coffee comptroller Darci Haustveit finished announcing Thomas’ winnings for being the 2017 winner — $20,000.
“Although prize money is awarded to the top three winners, everyone was a winner,” said Jaclyn Kaina, program manager for the Kauai Economic Development Board. “The true value of participating was the caliber of training and networking assembled into one program that is otherwise hard to access. In the end, all of the teams used these resources and now have a complete, well-thought-out business plan that they can bring to a landowner, bank or other potential investors to demonstrate that they are a great investment.”
Aloha Nui Farms with Corey Ansley and Kyle Miike finished the competition with $10,000 as the runner-up team.
Ferdinand, Tanya, Isaiah and Aaron Dosono of Kauai Kim Chee pocketed $5,000 for third place.
“As a surprise for this competition, KEDB was able to coordinate sufficient business resources from around the state to be able to award $500 honorable mentions to the remaining finalists,” Kaina said. “These teams included Baum Farms, Braddah Dave’s Taro Burgers, Po‘okela Sausage, Sal’s Salsa and Uncle D’s.”