Mana Up Announces Fifth Cohort of Hawaii Product Startups

Program aims for diversification of revenue and markets key for future economy


Products ranging from locally sourced and brewed kombucha to non-toxic nail polish will get a boost in reaching a broader market as part of the fifth cohort of Hawaii-based product accelerator Mana Up. The diverse mix of ten companies offers a wide range of authentic Hawaii consumer-packaged goods.

“We’re excited for Cohort 5 as there is an incredible mix of founders, products and industries that have a lot of potential to grow while being based in Hawaii,” says Meli James, co-founder of Mana Up.

This cohort will be different for Mana Up, as all workshops will be conducted virtually for the foreseeable future.

“We are adjusting our program so that all of our workshop sessions will be conducted over video chat. The goal is to accomplish the magic of the community that comes together in person by facilitating creative ways for our founders to build that camaraderie and trust, as well as be able to absorb the content-filled workshops that are typical of a Mana Up program.”

The content programming will also look a little different.

“E-commerce and direct-to-consumer marketing are more important than ever in our current environment,” James notes, “so we have increased the amount of content on digital strategies for cohort 5 companies to build their audiences and gain exposure to broader audiences.”

Mana Up provides a six-month accelerator program for Hawaii-based product companies. Through addressing production, operation, and marketing challenges and helping to build leadership skills, Mana Up aims to elevate businesses to the next level.

Cohort 5 includes:

  • Aloha Elixir (Oahu), a healing company that offers candles and sprays handmade with high vibrational oils, crystals and herbs, founded by globally renowned Spiritual Guide and Intention Coach Keoki Tavares as a way to share his passion for helping others become their best selves.
  • Aloha Modern (Oahu), an ocean lifestyle company that exhibits deeply rooted designs that uniquely reflect the authentic mo’olelo (stories) of Hawaii, founded by Malia Ka’aihue and Reyn Mukawa.
  • Ao Organics (Hawaii Island), a beauty and skincare company offering tanning oils, serums and other products that use safe and natural ingredients, founded by Chelsa Davis.
  • Haku Collective (Oahu) started as a full-service music, audio and talent production group, but has since expanded to create an extended product suite offering apparel, accessories, home goods and more, founded by Grammy-nominated artist Kimié Miner and Scotty Wilks.
  • Jules + Gem Hawaii (Oahu), a fragrance company that offers locally hand-crafted candles, diffusers and fresheners that feature local fragrances and all-natural ingredients, founded by Lana Gronwald.
  • Kapa Nui Nails (Hawaii Island), a line of clean, non-toxic and eco-conscious high-performance nail products for the conscious consumer, founded by Lyn and Terry Lam. 
  • Napili FLO Farm (Maui), a Maui farm that produces artisanal kimchi and fermented products with ingredients sourced from local organic produce, founded by Monica Bogar.
  • Ua Body (Hawaii Island), a legacy Hawaii skincare company offering lotions, soaps and dry oils that utilize local and natural ingredients, founded by Blaine and Leala Kusler.
  • Vitalitea Hawaii (Maui), healthy and delicious kombucha and cold brew coffee brewed in Maui and sourced from local fruits, roots and herbs, founded by William Davis and Dante Valentino.
  • YIREH (Oahu), an ethically made local resort wear apparel company that uses non-toxic low-impact dyes and empowers women, founded by Emily Jaime.

About Mana Up

Founded in 2017, Mana Up is an initiative to expand economic opportunity, business infrastructure and higher wage jobs in Hawaii. Its six-month accelerator program provides customized education and training to consumer product companies on how to scale globally through retail and e-commerce channels. Mana Up operates a retail business, House of Mana Up, to connect people to local brands.

Mana Up’s title partner is Kamehameha Schools, founding partner DFS Hawaii and Castle & Cooke, exclusive airline partner is Hawaiian Airlines, joined by Voyager partners Ulupono Initiative, American Savings Bank, Hawaii Technology Development Corporation (HTDC), Dole Plantation, Kaiser Permanente Hawaii, Kahala Hotel & Resort, Foodland, Shopify, Pineapple Tweed PR & Marketing, and INNOVATE Hawaii. For more information, please visit or

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