Alu Like Entrepreneurship Training Program Comes to Waimanalo
by Willene Wailani Bell
Tired of working for someone else? Want to be your own boss? Thinking about starting a business of your very own! With a strong desire and intense preparation opening a small business has become a reality for Hawaiians. Business preparation is what the Alu Like Entrepreneurship Training Program [ETP] offers the Hawaiian community, and the community at large.
The Alu Like Inc. Native Hawaiian Business Development Center is offering "an Entrepreneurship Course" in business start-up and development at the Waimanalo Library for six Saturdays beginning November 2 to November 23 and resuming again on December 7 through December 14. The classes will run from 9 am to 4 pm.
The Alu Kike's ETP program is made possible by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education/Native Hawaiian Vocational Education Program. Studies revealed in the late 80's that there were only 2,000 Hawaiian-owned businesses constituting 6.9% of the total number of businesses in the state of Hawai'i. Of those 2,000 Hawaiian owned businesses, only an estimated 170 have employees. This figure, alone, indicates severe underrepresentation of Hawaiians in the local economy. The mission of Alu Kike's ETP is to provide entrepreneurship training to Hawaiians interested in developing their skills at starting a small business, providing themselves economic opportunities and options other than traditional employment.
There has been a surge of interest among Hawaiians in starting and managing small businesses of their own. Alu Kike's ETP program which began in the spring of '89 has since graduated over 2,000 students. The Waimanalo Class will be its 90th class. Classes are also taught on the Big Island, Maui, Kaua'i and Moloka'i. Classes are relaxed and informal, but full of information. Students learn a lot and have fun doing it. The first day of class begins with a Ho'olauna by the kupuna, which reinforces Hawaiian values and how they can be practiced and maximized in the marketplace. The last day of class is celebrated Hawaiian style with a Pa'ina (Hawaiian supper) as students receive their Certificates of Completion.
The curriculum covers the A to Z's of small business ownership which includes business attitudes, marketing, organization, operations, financial management, business planning and keys to excellence. The classes feature guest speakers from the business and public sectors and are aimed at assisting small business start-ups.
Those who decide at the end of the course not to go into business, find it has opened up a new career option and avenue of exploration to supplement their basic salaries should they want to do business on a part-time basis in the future. Just brainstorming on a potential business idea and venture gives students a new outlook on themselves and their environs.
The majority of the population in Waimanalo is Hawaiian. Classes are being taught here on Saturdays to give individuals who cannot drive to Honolulu on week nights the opportunity to attend the class. Classes in Waimanalo will not be limited to just Native Hawaiians but open to individuals of any ethnicity. Holding ETP in the communities, gives students the opportunity to network with their fellow community members and focus on economic development in their own areas.
The program will be under the direction of ETP Specialist, Wailani Bell, who has been teaching with the program since its inception in 1989. Wailani is also a resident of Waimanalo and completed her Self-Help Waimanalo home along with thirty-nine (39) other Waimanalo families on December 31, 1994. Wailani began her own business, Poi-Fectly Hawaiian, a dba of Wailani Originals Hula Girl Creations in November of 1979, which she operates on a part time basis.
"When working for others, opportunities are sometimes limited. Entrepreneurs have a chance to turn dreams and visions into realities. No business idea is too big or too small, and one should not be discouraged from pursuing their idea. The success of one's business is due, in large part, to the entrepreneurial spirit of self-determination, motivation, creativity and perseverance," comments Wailani. Alu Like's program also provides students an opportunity to network with fellow Hawaiians in creating a unique learning environment. The network and support system is much stronger as students can relate to each other because of a common cultural background," states Bell.
If interested in attending, contact the Alu Like's Business Development Center for more information and applications. Call 524-1225 or 522-5319. After working hours you may leave a message.