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    Hawaii travel tech companies ride resurgence of tourism

    The global tourism economy and any businesses associated with it took a huge hit in 2020. In Hawaii, hundreds of them shut down, and those that survived did so at great cost and sacrifice.

    Now, with vaccination rates rising, the Hawaii tourist economy has roared back to life, nearing the record numbers seen two years ago. The crush of visitors has many questioning the sustainability of the current system, but it also brings some good news: local tourism-centric businesses like Shaka Guide, Activiter, and TurnoverBnB — all alumni of the Hawaii-based technology accelerator Blue Startups — have seen extreme growth since the start of the year.

    Shaka Guide

    After a dismal 2020 and having to furlough most of its team, Shaka Guide went from 0-100mph starting in April. Offering over 20 audio tours encompassing our culture’s art of storytelling, Shaka Guide covers Maui, Kauai, Oahu, and the Big Island. Since it functions as a self-guided tour, this service is primed for a post-covid world in which people are still very hesitant to participate in group activities.

    According to Co-Founder Andrew Fowers, Shaka Guide has been able to double its pre-covid revenue as well as its internal staff and beat its recovery forecasting by 6 months. For more information on their open positions, please check out their indeed page.


    Activiter, a real-time digital inventory marketplace for tours and activities here in Hawai’i, found itself at zero customers all 2020. As March of 2021 rolled around, forecasts for tourism looked promising and Expedia pulled its activity desks from Hawaii hotels. Filling the gap left by Expedia, Activiter signed a pivotal deal allowing them to 10x their distribution.

    Originating as a golf-specific platform, Activiter expanded to a wide range of vacation activities. Their turnkey technology platform enables companies to sell tours and activities to their existing customer base under their own brand.


    As a tech platform that streamlines the scheduling, paying, and finding vacation rental cleaners and cleaning services for Airbnbs across the globe, business started picking up for TurnoverBnB in February. While Europe is proving to have a slower rebound, the reopening of the United States and other English speaking countries has caused business to grow exponentially. As we exit the pandemic, TurnoverBnB has made sure to provide extensive resources and heightened protocols to their cleaning vendors.

    Marketing Director, Nicolette Masiya, says they are expanding internally as they look to fill multiple roles in their marketing department. They are specifically looking for an in-house content marketer to work out of their Honolulu office. If you are qualified and interested in this position, please email Nicolette at nicolette@turnoverbnb.com.

    Chenoa Farnsworth is the managing director of Blue Startups, Hawaii’s only venture accelerator. She has been helping startup entrepreneurs to grow their companies for the past 15 years.

    Applications open for second Hawaii remote work program

    Applications opened today for the second cohort of “Movers and Shakas,” an initiative by local business leaders to foster remote work and community contributions in Hawaii.

    The competitive program, which garnered nearly 90,000 applications for the first cohort’s 50 spots, provides selected participants with the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of Hawaii, build strong personal relationships and actively contribute to the community while continuing their full-time remote job.

    The online application will remain open until July 12, 2021.

    Those selected for the fall cohort will be welcomed with a free roundtrip ticket to and from Honolulu and are required to remain in Hawaii for the month of October. Cohort members will also be assigned a volunteer project with a local nonprofit or startup based on their skills and experience and will be provided with cultural orientation and group community-building activities.

    Participants in the first cohort volunteered with partner organizations including the PAʻI Foundation, Native Hawaiian Hospitality Association, Native Hawaiian Chambers of Commerce, and Girl Scouts of Hawaii, among others.

    “Our pilot program and inaugural cohort fellows exceeded our expectations,” said Nicole Lim, director of Movers and Shakas. “What started as a passionate initiative by Hawaii business leaders has transformed into a multidimensional program centered on building strong relationships and creating a more sustainable and resilient Hawaii.

    “We are excited to take our learnings from our first cohort and build on those successes to create more meaningful experiences and greater community impact for our second cohort,” she added.

    “Movers and Shakas was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me to contribute my professional skills and learn about Hawaii’s unique culture, history and community,” said Nicole Chiu-Wang, a member of the first who works at Google in the Bay Area. “The program was so much more than I could have hoped for, and I left Hawaii more educated, inspired, and deeply connected to the land and people.”

    Funding for Movers and Shakas was provided through donations from founding organizations including CPB Foundation, FCH Enterprises (parent company of Zippy’s), Hawaii Agricultural Foundation, Hawaii Executive Collaborative, Inkinen Executive Search, iQ 360, Island Holdings, and kWh Analytics, with support from United Airlines and the Department of Business Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT). This program is not funded by the CARES Act or any government funding dedicated to COVID-19 recovery.

    Participants must have current legal authorization to work in the United States, a full-time job that is 100 percent remote (unless an Oahu resident) and are committed to the program requirements. Hawaii residents are also encouraged to apply. Interested applicants are encouraged to watch the online information session to hear experiences from past participants.

    Program Commitment

    This immersive program requires selected participants to commit 8-10 hours/week of volunteering, cultural orientation, and group activities in addition to existing personal and professional commitments. Requirements include:

    • Stay the entire 30 days (minimum) on Oahu from Oct. 2 to Oct. 31
    • Attend required events during the month of October
    • Actively participate in skill-based team volunteer projects with local organizations for 15 hours a month for two months (the second month can be remote).

    About Movers and Shakas

    Movers and Shakas aims to bring together purpose-driven remote workers, especially returning kamaʻāina, to come to Hawaii and actively contribute to the community. The program is rooted in three pillars: people, economy and caring for Hawaii. Its mission is to create a more innovative, resilient, and sustainable Hawaii by enabling personal relationships, professional collaborations, and contributions to the community. For more information visit www.moversandshakas.org.

    Hawaii-based rideshare service Holoholo launches

    The new Hawaii-based, locally owned rideshare company holoholo, founded by longtime SpeediShuttle CEO Cecil Morton, is launching today to riders on Oahu, Hawaii Island, Maui, Kauai and Lanai.

    The company started recruiting drivers in April.

    The holoholo platform offers a marketplace of community drivers where riders can request a vehicle in minutes from their smartphone, see the cost, and have it charged to their credit card, providing riders access to reliable and safe transportation.

    “I am excited to finally bring a locally owned and operated ridesharing service to the people of Hawaii and connect businesses and communities at the push of a button,” said Morton.

    Morton says holoholo’s mission is to simplify the ridesharing experience and connect our communities to local businesses in Hawaii.

    Starting today, holoholo riders can download the holoholo Mobility App, or book a ride online.

    “With holoholo you’re getting a local company with a platform built on the values of community, sustainability and safety,” Rob Mora, a holoholo spokesperson, said. “Ridesharing is an important part of the transportation eco-system in Hawaii and it’s exciting to see a homegrown brand come to life and do their part to bring earning opportunity and accessible fair pricing to locals and visitors.”

    The holoholo Difference:

    • Transparency for rider and driver pricing (no surge pricing and no surprises)
    • Sustainable product offering (green vehicle option)
    • Locally owned and operated (connect face-to-face with local employees and offices)
    • A focus on safety for rider and drivers (ongoing background/wellness checks and COVID practices) 

    How to Book a Ride

    • Holoholo Mobility App: Download the App from the Google Play Store or the Apple Store from any smartphone and sign up with a valid credit card. 
    • Holoholo Website: Go to rideholoholo.com/book-online and enter a mobile phone number, email and valid credit card. No signup is needed. Note that App features like driver tracking are unavailable if booking online. 

    Holoholo Products & Services


    • Holoholo (1-4 pax): Affordable, everyday rides 
    • Green (1-4 pax): Low-emission rides 


    • Holoholo XL (1-5 pax): Larger vehicles that can seat up to 5 passengers 
    • Luxury (1-4 pax): Premium rides with highly rated drivers  


    • Assist (1-4 pax): Special assistance from certified drivers 
    • Military (1-4 pax): Base access made easy 

    Mana Up announces sixth cohort of ‘rising local businesses’

    The Mana Up accelerator program for Hawaii-based product companies has announced the members of its sixth cohort, made up of 12 “rising local entrepreneurs.”

    It’s the largest Mana Up cohort to date.

    Mana Up says it received a record-breaking 130 applications for this latest round, “a testament to our growing entrepreneurial ecosystem here in Hawaii.”

    The six-month program will kick off on November 4, 2021 with a “Showcase” event.

    The Mana Up Product Accelerator provides workshops, weekly one-on-one check-in meetings, mentor matching with industry experts based on company need and stage, support on branding and narrative, access to discounted services and resources, access to sales channels, access to capital, and an invitation to sell products through the House of Mana Up retail brand, both at a brick-and-mortar store in Royal Hawaiian Center and through an e-commerce store.

    The following are the members of Mana Up Cohort 6:

    1. Aloha de Mele is a collection of artwork inspired by Hawaii’s beauty, land, culture, and people. Founded by artist JT Ojerio from Pearl City, Oahu.
    2.  Banán offers one of its number one smoothie bowl toppings, the mac nut honey butter in a jar. Founded by Matt Hong, Zak Barry and Luke Untermann from Honolulu, Oahu.
    3.  HI Spice is a locally sourced hot sauce that is inspired, grown and crafted on Maui. Founded by Justin Orr and Katie Cook from Kula, Maui
    4.  Island Harvest harvests and manufactures sustainably grown organic macadamia products. Owned and operated by Andrew and Nathan T. from Kohala, Hawaii Island.
    5.  Kahuku Farms crafts butters, jams and other products using fresh produce from its farm, which has been family-run for over 100 years. Owned and operated by Kylie Matsuda-Lum and Judah Lum from Kahuku, Oahu.
    6.  Keiki Kaukau is a line of quality children’s products that reflect the unique mixed-plate culture of the islands. Created by Hawai‘i mom and former school teacher April Hail from Honolulu, Oahu.
    7.  Kākou Collective offers stationery products like notebooks, washi tape, and rulers with hand drawn designs inspired by native Hawaiian plants. Founded by Kea Peters from Ewa Beach, Oahu.
    8.  ‘Ohana Nui offers premium all-natural macadamia nut cookies in flavors inspired by and utilizing local ingredients. Founded by Tom Walker from Honolulu, Oahu.
    9.  Pawniolo Pets makes nutritious raw pet food, single ingredient pet treats and preservative free chews from grass-fed animals raised 100% in Hawaii. Founded by Miki and Nick Vericella from Waimea, Hawaii Island. 
    10.  Pono Potions is an all-natural flavored syrup company for coffee and cocktails highlighting the natural ingredients of the Hawaiian Islands. Founded by Peter Hessler from Honolulu, Oahu. 
    11.  Sea Salts of Hawai‘i harvests Hawaiian sea salts and deep ocean minerals from its own Kona salt farm. Founded by Sandra Gibson from Keahole, Hawaii Island.
    12.  Utara Organics is a line of mangosteen-based organic skincare that is free of chemicals and toxins. Founded by Amy Arnett-Smith from Kilauea, Kauai.

    Hawaii hosts global gaming tournament

    Hawaii is hosting one of the fastest growing leagues in all of international esports. Elite teams from the Overwatch League (OWL) are participating in a series of four tournaments at the University of Hawaii at Mānoa beginning this week, and running through August.

    OWL is the world’s first city-based esports league with 20 teams based in North America, Europe and Asia, and features the game Overwatch, a team-based action game developed by Blizzard Entertainment. The competition in Hawaii is an effort to bridge the gap to bring safe and online interregional play from its best teams. Last year, due to COVID-19, OWL teams were rarely able to play head-to-head matches between teams in different regions because of the online latency difference.

    The upcoming tournaments will each feature two teams from its West region playing from UH Mānoa, while teams from East region in Asia will connect virtually and play head-to-head in real-time. Matches will take place May 6–8, June 10–12, July 15–17 and August 19–21. They can be viewed live and on demand from the Overwatch League YouTube channel. The winning team for each of the four tournaments at UH will take home a $100,000 prize.

    “For the university, there’s unprecedented opportunity for students to get as close as they can with a publisher and organizer to see how the tournament runs and how a publisher organizes events because this is basically a new form of worldwide entertainment,” said Nyle Sky Kauweloa, a communication and information sciences PhD student and head of the UH Mānoa Esports Task Force in the College of Social Sciences.

    “Working with the University of Hawaii has helped solve one of our biggest challenges as we continue to safely compete in online competition,” said Corey Smith, director of broadcast technology for the Overwatch League. “Playing from Hawaii unlocks online play between our East and West regions, which makes our competition stronger and our matches more exciting for fans globally. We’re thrilled to be teaming up with Hawaii and local students to help make it all happen.”

    “I’m most excited about getting to work with professionals in a sense of how to run a large scale tournament where everyone in the world is watching,” said Alexine Niro, a UH Mānoa mechanical engineering senior and Overwatch player on UH Mānoa’s esports team. “My teammates and I get to meet the gaming professionals that you see around the world as well, so it’s a surreal experience for Hawaii to be a part of.”

    Overwatch is just one of many games propelling the esports industry. A new global esports and live-streaming market report projects global esports revenue will reach $1.08 billion in 2021, up 14.5% from 2020; and $833.6 million of those revenues will come from media rights and sponsorships. The global live streaming audience will also hit more than 728 million in 2021, growing 10% from 2020.

    Esports expanding at UH Mānoa

    The UH Mānoa esports program currently fields teams for Overwatch, League of Legends, Rainbow Six, Super Smash Bros. and VALORANT. Many of these teams have garnered national recognition, including a top 25 ranking for the Overwatch team among 271 North American colleges and universities. Kauweloa said one of the main goals of UH Mānoa Esports is to discover ways to connect students with the wider gaming and esports industry. One example is a recent partnership with Cloud9, one of the largest professional esports organizations in North America.

    The esports community at UH Mānoa was gaining interest and participation before the COVID-19 pandemic and has grown even more since. That’s because many of the conversations and activities have moved online to UH Mānoa esports’ Discord chat application channel, which has more than 300 members.

    “These have become our new arenas because of COVID-19,” Kauweloa said. “This is where we hold events, organize events and talk with students. Since COVID-19 began, we have a whole group of students that haven’t even met each other in person and only met each other through Discord, and only know about UH through the UH esports Discord.”

    While becoming a professional esports player is a lofty goal, students involved in the teams gain experience in management, events planning, web development and business management.

    “What you would imagine in a traditional setting with sports, you would replicate that with esports,” Kauweloa said. “But I would say there are even more opportunities to get into the esports industry because so much of what is required out of esports is something that requires new media skills, data analytics, media production and web development.”

    Interested students are encouraged to follow the team’s TwitterInstagram and Discord pages, or email uh.esports@hawaii.edu.

    Esports courses available

    UH Mānoa’s School of Communications in the College of Social Sciences is launching a three-course esports series beginning this fall and students from all majors are invited to apply. Twenty selected students will enroll in a fall 2021 course on esports and society; and two spring 2022 courses on streaming and content creation, and marketing. A committee will select the group of 20 students. Interested students need to complete this form by May 14, 2021 at 5 p.m.

    This program is an example of UH Mānoa’s goal of Enhancing Student Success (PDF) and Excellence in Research: Advancing the Research and Creative Work Enterprise (PDF), two of four goals identified in the 2015–25 Strategic Plan (PDF), updated in December 2020.

    Big Island bus, bikeshare app launched

    Hawaii Bus Plus, a subscription-based app for the Big Island Hele-On Bus and HIBIKE Bikeshare systems, has been built and launched by a developed by a Waimea student.

    The app, which features interactive maps and directions, was built by Big Island native Tiger Oakes, now attending college in Vancouver.

    Hawaii Bus Plus makes riding Hele-On Bus a more positive experience for iPhone, Android, and desktop users, allowing locals and tourists to ride the bus without hassle by providing all of Hawaii’s transit data at the touch of a finger.

    “The Big Island finally has a fast and easy bus app, built on an award-winning foundation,” Oakes said.

    Similar to like public transit apps from around the world, Hawaii Bus Plus users can find the bus routes nearest to their location and see when the bus will arrive. The app shows a live interactive map of Hawaii and Street View previews of every bus stop, and includes built-in directions to help users navigate from point A to B, even across multiple bus routes or to HIBIKE Bikeshare locations.

    The app is a Progressive Web App (PWA), enabling users to take advantage of the smooth and seamless experience of a native app while allowing the benefit of not taking up any space on the device.

    New features are constantly being added, and Oakes hopes to add real-time tracking in the future.

    Oakes first tackled public transit apps with his high school project “Big Island Buses,” winner of a Congressional App Challenge.

    “I never stopped thinking about my roots on the island, and I’m happy that I’ve created a new solution for the bus system with years of experience from college.” said Oakes.

    Hawaii Bus Plus is available for $1.99 per month at hawaiibusplus.com.

    Local callers encouraged to start dialing 808

    Hawaii residents are being encouraged to get in the habit of dialing the Hawaii area code, 808, when making local calls. Hawaiian Telecom announced today that it will begin its transition to “ten-digit dialing” on April 24, six months before the change will be mandatory.

    The change is the result of a recent decree by the Federal Communications Commission.

    In order to elevate the visibility and availability of crisis counseling and related services, the FCC has designated the three-digit phone number “988” as the official phone number of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. “988” joins other quick dial numbers like “911” for emergency services, “411” for information, and “211” for social services.

    Hawaii is one of 36 states that had put the phone number prefix “988” into regular use. In order to support the newly reserved number for the suicide hotline, all local calls in Hawaii will require dialing all ten digits, inclusive of the “808” area code.

    This change is being required of all affected U.S. telecommunications carriers, including Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service providers.

    Between April 24 and October 23, 2021, Hawaiian Telcom will support a “permissive dialing period” when 10-digit dialing is encouraged but seven-digit calls will still go through. Beginning on October 24, 2021, however, callers in Hawaii must dial 10 digits (area code + telephone number) or local calls will be not be completed.

    “988” will officially become a national three-digit number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline in July of next year.

    This change will require consumers to update their contact lists and phone numbers saved in their mobile phones. Organizations that provide safety and security equipment, such as medical alert and monitoring devices, and alarms, security systems and gates must also be programmed to use 10-digit dialing by October 24, 2021 to avoid interruption.

    Other devices and services that may need to be re-programmed include:

    • PBXs
    • Fax machines
    • Internet dial-up numbers
    • Speed dialers
    • Call forwarding settings
    • Voicemail services and other similar functions

    Hawaiian Telcom encourages Hawaii residents to check their business stationery, advertising materials, websites, personal and business checks, and other publicly provided contact information. In addition, personal or pet ID tags, and other such items should be updated to ensure the area code is included.

    What will remain the same?

    • Your telephone number, including current area code, will not change.
    • The price of a call, coverage area, or other rates and services will not change due to the dialing change.
    • What is a local call now will remain a local call regardless of the number of digits dialed.
    • You will continue to dial 1+ the area code + telephone number for all long-distance.
    • You will continue to dial a prefix (such as “9”) when dialing from a multi-line telephone system (e.g., in a hotel, office building, etc.) as required.
    • You can still dial just three digits to reach 711 (relay services) and 911 (emergency services).
    • If 211, 311, 411, 511, 611, 711 or 811 are currently available in your community, dial these codes with just three digits.
    • The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can still be reached by dialing 1-800-273-TALK (8255) even after the 988 code is in effect.

    Beginning July 16, 2022, dialing “988” will route your call to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Prior to this, callers must dial 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

    For more information, please visit the North American Numbering Plan Administrator’s (NANPA) website, email questions about the dialing procedure change to NANPA at 988@somos.com, or visit the FCC’s website at fcc.gov/suicide-prevention-hotline. Hawaiian Telcom customers may also visit hawaiiantel.com/dial808 for more information.

    New Hawaii rideshare service recruiting drivers

    A new, Hawaii-based, locally-owned rideshare company today launched its driver recruiting program, with a soft-launch for riders set to begin later this month.

    holoholo (the company prefers its name be in lowercase), founded by longtime SpeediShuttle CEO Cecil Morton, is looking to recruit drivers on Oahu, Hawaii Island, Maui, Lanai, and Kauai.

    holoholo supports a marketplace of community drivers where riders can request a vehicle in minutes from their smartphone, see the cost, and have it charged to their credit card, which helps riders have access to reliable and safe transportation.

    “It is incredibly important to me that with our industry knowledge and resources that we do everything in our power to help create a more sustainable Hawaii while giving earning opportunities to our local residents and providing safe, reliable transportation,” Morton said.

    In 1999, Morton acquired two Maui-based transportation competitors operating on Maui and Hawaii Island, and brought an advanced operating platform in the shuttle industry to Hawaii. In his 27 years in the ground transportation industry, he has implemented innovative changes to expand the airport shuttle business by building relationships with major travel companies, hotel brands and travel providers, as well as expanding into corporate transportation and black car services.

    holoholo’s mission is to simplify the ridesharing experience and connect our communities to local businesses in Hawaii.

    “Building a brand and business has always been about the people to me, when I decided to move forward with this idea it was non-negotiable to bring our drivers into the ʻohana through above and beyond service, transparent pay and an ongoing commitment to constantly improve,” Morton said.

    holoholo says it offers:

    • Transparency for rider and driver pricing (no surge and no surprises)
    • Sustainable product offering (green vehicle option)
    • Locally owned and operated (connect face-to-face with local employees and offices)
    • A focus on safety for rider and drivers (ongoing background/wellness checks and COVID practices)

    Interested drivers can get started today by downloading the drivers’ app from the Google Play Store or the Apple Store and completing the application. After holoholo reviews the application, the company will invite qualified drivers to an in-person car inspection and training session. On approval, the company will then activate the account.

    Driver requirements:

    • 21 years or older
    • A minimum of three years of driving experience
    • Pass an initial and ongoing comprehensive background and driver history check
    • A vehicle–4 doors, minimum of three seats, and eight years old or newer (no limousines or trucks)
    • Smartphone with holoholo Driver App
    • Read and accept best-driver practices
    • Pass a pre-trip inspection
    • Pass ongoing wellness checks

    And provide the following information:

    • Valid Hawaii driver’s license
    • Proof of residency
    • Vehicle registration
    • Personal vehicle insurance
    • Hawaiʻi Vehicle Inspection Sticker

    Other Driver Benefits:

    • Fuel discount program for fuel access on Maui in Kahului, and on Hawaiʻi Island in Hilo, Kona, and Kawaihae
    • PPE kit with hand sanitizers, wipes and masks

    About holoholo

    holoholo is a locally owned transportation network company offering a marketplace of community drivers on Oahu, Maui, Hawaii Island, Kauai and Lanai. The company’s mission is to simplify the ridesharing experience and connect its communities to local businesses in Hawaii. For more information about how to drive with holoholo, please visit driveholoholo.com.

    Hawaii Thrive launches to promote Hawaii small businesses

    Founded last May, The Hawaii Thrive Initiative aims to help people find local small businesses offering services and products in their area. The result is HawaiiThrive.com, a community resource website featuring thousands of Hawaii businesses.

    Hawaii is one of the biggest tourist destinations in the United States. However, with the hardships that 2020 brought, including stalled tourism and restrictions, local businesses need to explore alternative marketing strategies to ensure continued growth.

    Hawaii Thrive also fosters business-to-business connections for entrepreneurs across the state, and sends out a weekly newsletter containing featured deals, important business information, and the “best of” local business spotlights, which reaching the inboxes of over 2000 residents.

    Hawaii Thrive offers a broad range of offers for every business on their platform. Depending on the choice of industry, county, or services, potential customers can search for what they need and support local companies all year long.

    Hawaii Thrive founder Nick Ponte says that HawaiiThrive.com will become Hawaii’s one-stop search engine for finding the best small businesses. The easy-to-use user interface of the website makes the searching process easier, he adds, while island-specific categories easily outline what local businesses are near you.

    In addition to Ponte, who was born and raised on Maui, the Hawaii Thrive team includes business growth specialist Elle Shurm and marketing manager Devin Atkins.

    The Hawaii Thrive platform also allows small businesses to grow their online presence through linking to their digital assets, allowing promotions of special offers and opportunities to be a main “Feature” on the website’s homepage.

    Hawaii Thrive hopes to continue to promote local businesses to help them scale-up and increase their overall revenue. For more information, visit HawaiiThrive.com, email Nick Ponte at hello@hawaiithrive.com, call (808) 359-3287, or contact Hawaii Thrive by mail at 95 East Lipoa Suite #205, Kihei Hawaii 96753.

    Zippy’s kicks off COVID-19 app download campaign

    Download the AlohaSafe Alert app — the State of Hawaii’s free COVID-19 exposure notification app — and your next stop could be Zippy’s.

    In a new promotional campaign to encourage downloads and use of the app, “All in for AlohaSafe,” local restaurants and other businesses are joining forces to offer special discounts on food, goods and services as incentives if Hawaii residents download the app.

    Zippy’s is among the first businesses to join the program. If the app attains 450,000 activations by Friday, March 26, Zippy’s will offer 25 percent off all of its breakfast bentos for the week of March 29 through April 2.

    The number of downloads currently stands at 400,000. Zippy’s will feature a meter on its website at zippys.com/alohasafe to show a running total of the downloads of the app.

    “Encouraging more people to download AlohaSafe Alert is an important way to help our community fight COVID-19,” said Paul Yokota, president of FCH Enterprises, the parent company of Zippy’s. “The more people who download the app, the more we keep our community safe, especially as we begin to loosen restrictions.”

    Based on a study by Oxford University, research shows that in the U.K. alone about 284,000 to 594,000 infections have been averted with the technology. Further research also shows that for every 1 percent increase in users of exposure notification apps, the number of COVID-19 cases drops by 1-2 percent.

    In Hawaii, hundreds of people have been notified by AlohaSafe Alert, but due to privacy protections built into the technology, specifics are not available.

    The app continues to be updated and upgraded, and is also now available in Tagalog, Ilocano, Samoan, Marshallese, Chuukese, and Korean.

    AlohaSafe Alert is seeking more businesses to join the “All in for AlohaSafe” campaign to offer discounts once the next milestone of 500,000 downloads is achieved. Businesses interested in offering incentives should contact Lynelle Marble at (808) 295-6162.

    The app was developed through a public-private partnership with Hawai‘i State Department of Health (DOH), aio Digital, and the Hawaii Executive Collaborative. It is funded by DOH and donations from the private sector.

    To download the free app, go to the Google Play or Apple App Store on your phone. For more information visit www.alohasafealert.org.

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