Mana Up Brand Accelerator Selects 11 Companies for Eighth Cohort

This year’s companies, chosen from among 149 applications, all have at least one female founder, and seven are family-owned.

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Mana Up, a local accelerator for Hawaii-based consumer brands, announces 11 companies that will participate in its annual six-month program this year, joining 74 companies who have graduated from Mana Up’s accelerator since it started its accelerator in 2018.

Following Mana Up’s history of receiving a record-breaking number of applications with each cohort, this year is no different. Mana Up saw 149 local companies apply for its eighth cohort, interviewed 56, and announced the 11 companies accepted into this year’s program.

The companies will participate in a six month accelerator that includes weekly workshops, curated mentor introductions, access to sales channels and customized goal setting. Special perks of this year’s program include a customized brand brief articulating each company’s key narratives, a 2-minute video spotlight, and a feature in the 2023 Mana Up Showcase, among many other benefits.

“With another year of record-breaking applications, we’re even more convinced of the continuing need and opportunity to support this industry with resources, capital and growth channels,” says Meli James, co-founder, Mana Up. “We’ve got an impressive group this year, who will join the Mana Up Alumni that generate $61 million in annual revenue in aggregate and are growing on average 33% annually.  All of these companies are 100% headquartered in Hawaiʻi, adding jobs, revenue, community giveback and so much more.”

Here are the 11 companies that make up Cohort 8:

  1. Liquid Life Hawaii creates super-food products such as cold-pressed juices and nutraceuticals using locally sourced ingredients with three health cafes on the Island of Hawaii. Founded by Ola and Puna Tripp from Hilo, Hawaii Island.
  1. Hobbs Tea offers a variety of organic and sustainably-grown tea from Hawaii that helps protect endemic Hawaiian species and their habitats. Founded by Jamie Chambers Lyons from Kalaheo, Kauai.
  1. Brianne & Co. is a handmade jewelry line crafted by Brianne Light. Her simple, minimalist jewelry collection features a variety of materials from local Kauai sea glass and shells to unique stones, genuine pearls and precious metals. Founded by Brianne Light from Koloa, Kauai.
  1. Maui Chili Chili Oil offers a condiment with a unique flavor that’s growing in popularity. Started during the pandemic, the company handcrafts small batch Szechuan-style chili oil with garlic and locally grown Maui onion. Founded by Deron and Kit Furukawa from Wailuku, Maui.
  1. Sweet Land Farm is a goat dairy and farmstead creamery born from founder Emma’s passion – combining her culinary training and family tradition of dairy farming. Founded by Emma Bello McCaulley and her father, Eric Bello from Waialua, Oahu.
  1. Kaka’ako Kasuals is a Native Hawaiian and wahine-owned footwear company that provides comfortable slippers and water shoes featuring designs that reflect the Islands – made for the entire ‘ohana. Founded by mother-daughter duo Napualani and Kiani Wong from Kakaako, Oahu.
  1. UBAE is a local confectionery inspired by the founders’ Filipino roots offering sweet treats made with ube from cheesecake to cookies. Founded by Adrienne-Joy and Jeremy Jataas from Honolulu, Oahu.
  1. Averylily is an interior design studio curating offering a move-in basics collection for new homeowners; bedding, bath, decorative throw pillows and tabletop. Founded by Avery Solmssen and Lily Kanter from Honolulu, Hawaii.
  1. Lotus & Lime is a mother-daughter fashion brand designed by Kim and Jade-Alexis Ryusaki that perpetuates both their Native Hawaiian and Japanese cultures through unique designs. Founded by Kim and Jade-Alexis Ryusaki from Honolulu, Oahu.
  1. Hawaiian Rainforest Naturals creates an exceptional line of healing flower essences, body care products and spa treatments using locally grown ingredients and inspired by the healing energy of Hawaii Island’s rain forests and the teachings of their Kumu. Using their training in Hawaiian plant medicine, energy healing and focusing on locally. Founded by Melia Goodenow from Keaau, Hawaii Island.
  1. Hawaiian Soda Co. crafts a healthier alternative to sodas inspired by the flavors of Hawaii and made with real fruit juice, crisp fizz, and prebiotics. The fizzy beverages have no added sugar or preservatives. Founded by Caesar and Gina Ho from Honolulu, Oahu.

Mana Up Cohort 8 officially kicks off May 30 and culminates with its annual Mana Up Showcase event taking place on November 8 and 9, 2023.

The eighth cohort application cycle yielded the following data:

  • Island: O‘ahu (58%), Hawaii Island (20%), Maui (14%), Kaua‘i (7%), and Moloka‘i (1%)
  • Income breakdown: $500,000+ (13%), $100,000-$500,00 (36%), under $100,000 (51%), representing at least $25 million in annual revenue combined.
  • Average percent of revenue generated from e-commerce: 40%
  • Top areas of needed improvement as reported by applicants: e-commerce, sales, distribution, and branding & packaging
  • Average employees: 3.51

About Mana Up

Mana Up is a business program for Hawaiʻi product entrepreneurs who are looking to grow to markets globally, with the mission to increase economic opportunity and jobs for the people of Hawaiʻi. To date, 74 local companies graduated from the six-month accelerator program that provides expansion opportunities and helps solve business challenges. House of Mana Up is our retail initiative with an online store and retail stores at the Royal Hawaiian Center and Prince Waikiki and Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, which highlights products and entrepreneurs who have participated in the accelerator. For more information about the accelerator program, visit www.manauphawaii.com.

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