Hawaiians Join Pacific Business Partnership Initiative to grow Business Opportunities


March 22, 2011

Honolulu, Hawaii – The Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement (CNHA), a nonprofit advocacy organization dedicated to the cultural, economic and community development of Native Hawaiians has officially joined the Pacific Business Partnership Initiative to strengthen and grow small business in the Pacific region. The Pacific Business Partnership will coordinate an annual business summit, establish a qualifying process for small business to meet the requirements of big business for contracts, deliver profiles of small business firms to big business contracting officers and identify public policies that grow small business in the Pacific.


“We have many members of CNHA that are business owners or business advocates, and certainly economic development is important to all of our members,” said Robin Puanani Danner, CNHA President. “This work unifies their best ideas and joins an initiative to move the needle on the dial to increase business, increase job creation and increase collaborative business partnerships. We are dedicating some of our senior officers to work with other vital partners of this new Initiative.”

The core principals embodied in the Pacific Business Partnership were developed by business and community leaders during the 9th Annual Native Hawaiian Convention in 2010. Leaders called on Department of Interior Assistant Secretary, Anthony Babauta, from Washington DC to chair a Policy Forum on Pacific Island Priorities at the Convention. Babauta has oversight of the Pacific Region, including Hawaii and much of the Pacific Island Nations. He is a Guam Native, and a former staffer of Congressman Underwood.

“The opportunity to share the challenges of small business in the Pacific was extraordinary,” said Li Garcia-Ballard, a CNHA board member and small business owner. “Assistant Secretary Babauta is not only knowledgeable about the realities, he was also very supportive of business leaders engaging with each other and moving a pro-active agenda for the entire Pacific.”

The Obama Administration also sent high ranking officials from the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to discuss business and other policy issues with Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders. Leaders from Guam, Palau, Hawaii, American Samoa, and other locations in the Pacific discussed topics ranging from cultural strength to federal government contracting.

“The Pacific Business Partnership is really an outgrowth of those conversations,” Danner remarked. “There is no silver bullet for every issue, but this initiative has been created to embrace the aspirations of Pacific business leaders and I think it’s a positive approach to making change where these business leaders see they can make a difference. I was recently in Guam, and the similarities are amazing. I’m really looking forward to working with the remarkable business leaders here in Hawaii, in Guam and across the Pacific, it’s exciting.”
CNHA is a national network of Native Hawaiian Organizations, providing assistance in accessing capital and technical resources, and is a policy voice on issues important to Native Hawaiian communities. Its mission is to enhance the well-being of Hawaii through the cultural, economic, and community development of Native Hawaiians. For more information about CNHA please contact us at 808.596.8155, toll-free at 1.800.709.2642, by e-mail at info@hawaiiancouncil.org, or visit our website at www.hawaiiancouncil.org.


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