Members of the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Community in Hawaii

The following is the Call to action email sent by Karl Fooks. 


Governor Abercrombie announced the HI Growth Initiative in his State of the State address on January 22.  The HI Growth Initiative has been introduced to the Legislature as HB 858 and is scheduled to be heard on February 1 at 9:00am in Room 312 of the State Capitol.  

We need you to show your support for this important initiative by submitting testimony and attending the hearing if you are able.  Instructions for submitting testimony are provided at the end of this email.

Testimony must be submitted online by 9:00am January 31.  Please forward this information to people in your network.

The HI Growth Initiative is a new $20 million of investment program that will focus on the critical building blocks of new business formation: research commercialization, entrepreneur mentoring and the mobilization of startup investment capital.  Passing this bill will help create high growth businesses here in Hawaii and create Hawaii-based funds that can support their growth.  The HI Growth Initiative will allow us to continue the momentum created in our entrepreneurial community over the past several years.  I include a passage from the TechHui January Newsletter:

Having emerged from the ashes of 2009-2011 (a faltering economy, Act 221 fallout, etc.), 2012 saw the emergence of a new set of scrappier startups, a slew of co-working / maker spaces (The Box Jelly, HI Capacity, Maui Makers, HI Green House, and MIC’s shared office space program), as well as incubators such as Henk Rogers’ BlueStartups, Mike Prasad’s Kinetiq Labs and Darius “Bubs” Monsef’s Nalukai Foundation. The Hawaii Strategic Development Corporation (HSDC), an agency of the state, invested $1.6M in support of these accelerators with considerably more funding allocated in the Governor’s proposed budget. New regular events such as Startup Weekend, WetWare Wednesdays and Ignite demonstrate the energy of a new generation of developers and interactive designers while Unconferenz and Hawaii Geek Meet continue their tradition of providing a venue for stimulating conversation and geeky socializing.

The HI Growth Initiative is positioned to support high growth businesses in many different business sectors including digital media, food tech, med tech, IT, clean energy, creative industries and the fashion sector.  Please support this initiative if you are in favor of supporting the growth of the knowledge and creative industry sectors in Hawaii.

To help you in preparing testimony please feel free to utilize the outline below for guidance and use the short description of the HI Growth Initiative in your testimony.  HSDC’s testimony to the Legislature and the Bill text are attached for more information.

Outline for testimony

I.  Statement of Support: “We strongly support this bill”

II. Describe who you are: your company; what you do; how this bill can help you

III. HI Growth Initiative Paragraph

“The HI Growth Initiative will provide $20 million of investment capital that will invest in the critical building blocks of new business formation: research commercialization, entrepreneur mentoring and the mobilization of startup investment capital.  Passing this bill will help to create high growth businesses, and provide new opportunities to grow and diversify Hawaii’s economy.   Most importantly, the HI Growth Initiative will support an entrepreneurial ecosystem that creates high wage jobs that will keep talented people here and bring talented kamaainas home.”

Testimony must be submitted by 9:00am January 31.  You can submit your testimony online by clicking on this link and clicking the “Submit Testimony” button:

After clicking on the “Submit Testimony” button you will input your name and email address.  You will then have the opportunity to select the “support” button for this bill.  If you wish to upload your written testimony you may do so, or provide some brief comments in the comment box provided on the page.

Click “Next” at the bottom of the page when you are finished.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions and follow the progress on

Thank you for your support.

Karl Fooks