FoundHer announces the second group of Native Hawaiian and AAPI women-led businesses

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September 11, 2022, 3:24 pm HST

Darien Siguenza, Program Manager, FoundHer.

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

“We are excited to kick off another year at FoundHer and elevate these five women in the Native Hawaiian and AAPI entrepreneurial community,” said FundHer Director Darien Sigenza. “As we begin to expand beyond Hawaii into the Americas, we are proud to host this second cohort, demonstrating that Hawaii is at the forefront of business accelerator innovation.”

In June 2022, FoundHer is calling on female business owners across Hawaii to apply for a cohort. The group went through hundreds of applicants face-to-face to reach a final group of entrepreneurs from across the state, including three counties – Iwi Nails and [Ep-ik] Molokai, Kamuela Gourmet and Island Swim from Hawaii Island and Haa & Co. from Kauai. Last year, FoundHer companies grew by an average of 200% in the three islands and created 12 jobs in the local economy.

Applications are now being accepted for the Hawaii Foundation’s Entrepreneur Accelerator Program, which focuses on women-led businesses.
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Native Hawaiian and AAPI women-owned businesses increased by 43 percent from 2014-2019, or twice the rate of non-minority women-owned businesses and nearly five times the rate of all businesses. Many Native Hawaiian and AAPI female business owners face racism and, for Native founders, gender discrimination, the continuing effects of colonization. FoundHer was launched to address these issues and develop opportunities for AAPIs and female entrepreneurs through an unprecedented family care support program and “no strings attached” capital grants combined with traditional accelerators such as mentoring and skill building.

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