Hawaiiverse, a new website showcasing local vendors and entrepreneurs, launched this week to help Hawaii’s small businesses reach a broader audience online.

The free marketing platform offers special coupons and weekly giveaways to help residents find the best deals and support local businesses when many are facing huge challenges. The site’s free business listings are promoted to more than 25,000 Hawaiiverse followers on social media.

Hawaiiverse was born on Hawaii Island in 2016 as a video project documenting historical and cultural sites. However, the pandemic prompted its founders to pivot their focus toward preserving and supporting the small business community statewide.

“We all need to band together as a community to support local businesses through these tough times, which is why we decided to make our platform free,” says Hawaiiverse CEO Jared Kushi. “And we intend to continue doing what we’re doing long after the pandemic is over.”

“Hawaiiverse is for everyone — customers and businesses,” says Taylor Martin, CTO at Hawaiiverse. “Whether you’re a massive company or a small side hustle, we can help. We make sure there is no barrier to entry for any legitimate business operating in Hawaii.”

Hawaiiverse is run by a group of small business owners and entrepreneurs who are currently volunteering their time to advance their mission. In fact, all team members have full-time jobs.

“That just goes to show how serious we are about this project and how much it means to us,” Kushi says.

“Hawaiiverse is the best,” says Ashton Obrero, owner of Creative Natives Hawaii, which now offers ukulele instruction online. “I just love how it supports local. It helped me reach further out to the local community that I want to teach.”

“Hawaiiverse is helping Waikiki Dive Center and the community by bringing everyone together and doing this free advertising for local businesses,” says Elizabeth Cory from Waikiki Dive Center. “Local community is so important in a time like this, where we’re all struggling. Coming together is really an important thing.”

Hawaiiverse also features a weekly video series called “Hawaiiverse Spotlight,” in which Hawaiiverse vendors teach viewers new skills and tell the story of their business.

Hawaiiverse has already hit a few milestones, including:

– 21,000+ followers on Facebook and 4,000+ on Instagram.
– Over 220 Companies on O’ahu and Hawai’i Island.
– Partnerships with the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii and Propeller-USA.

“We are pleased to be partnering with the Hawaiiverse team on this initiative to support local businesses statewide,” said Chamber of Commerce Hawaii President Sherry Menor-McNamara. “Helping our businesses survive the devastating consequences of COVID-19 and building a brighter and stronger future for Hawaii will take these kinds of partnerships and initiatives.”

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