Second FoundHer cohort of women entrepreneurs announced

The first FoundHer companies grew 200 percent and created twelve new jobs in the local economy.

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Darien Siguenza
Darien Siguenza

FoundHer, a business accelerator dedicated to supporting Native Hawaiian and AAPI women entrepreneurs has announced the five women-led businesses of the 2022-’23 cohort.

“We’re excited to embark on another year of FoundHer and uplift these five women in the Native Hawaiian and AAPI entrepreneur community,” shares FoundHer Director, Darien Siguenza.

In June of 2022, FoundHer put out the call for women business owners throughout Hawaii to apply for the cohort. The team went through hundreds of referrals, messages and applications, meeting face-to-face with many.

The second cohort gathers entrepreneurs throughout the pae ʻāīna (across the islands) including businesses from three counties: Iwi Nails and Ep-ik Style of Molokai, Kamuela Gourmet and Island Swim from Hawaii island and Haʻa and Co. of Kauai.

In its previous year, FoundHer companies across three islands on-average grew 200% and created 12 jobs in the local economy. (See: FoundHer accelerator celebrates achievements of first cohort)

Native Hawaiian and AAPI women-led businesses are growing, increasing at 43%, twice the rate of non-minority female-owned businesses and nearly five times the rate of all businesses (2014-2019). Many business owners face gender bias compounded by racism and generations of oppression.

“The Hawaii FoundHer program is the first of its kind, taking a holistic approach to the value and resources given to women entrepreneurs,” Siguenza said. “Our first cohort achieved many new milestones during the 6 months, including new hires, product development, and increased sales.”

“Even more impressive is the powerful community created within the cohort, and the incredible network of FoundHer advisors,” she continued. “I am excited to see this impact continue to expand as we select the next group of visionary, driven wāhine.”

FoundHer was started in 2020 to address these issues and develop opportunities for AAPI and indigenous women entrepreneurs with an unprecedented program of mentorship, skill-building, family care support and “no strings” grants of capital.

The program is tailored specifically to the needs of Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, and/or Asian women and mothers running businesses in five core markets of Hawaii’s economy: Tech, Fashion, Health and Wellness, Food Systems and Restaurants, and Keiki and Education.

About FoundHer

A program of the Purple Maiʻa Foundation, FoundHer is a business accelerator program dedicated to advancing the needs of Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, and/or Asian women and mothers starting businesses in five core markets of Hawaii’s economy: Tech, Fashion, Health & Wellness, Food System/Restaurants, and Keiki/Education. Offering funding, child & elder care, mentorship and tailored curriculum, participants on-average grow 200%. Learn more at FoundHer.org.

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