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Mahiʻai Match-Up

Kamehameha Schools (KS), Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement (CNHA) and The Kohala Center (TKC) are collaborating to strengthen Hawai‘i’s food system through Mahi‘ai Match-Up, a business plan competition that provides food-focused entrepreneurs from across the pae ‘āina with an opportunity to farm agricultural land or develop a business in a commercial space.

Mahi‘ai Match-Up and CNHA’s KūHana program invites all farmers and food producers to join this year’s cohort of businesses. As part of the contest, CNHA’s KūHana program will provide applicants with classes and guidance on developing business plans, pitching their business plans and ongoing mentorship support, technical assistance and networking opportunities. to develop a business plan, provide ongoing mentorship support, technical assistance and networking opportunities. The competition awards include an agricultural land agreement on a KS parcel and, for the first time this year, an agreement on a KS commercial property within Kapālama Kai, O‘ahu. Winners will also receive start-up capital.

Top business plans from the KūHana cohort will become finalists to compete for Mahi‘ai Match-Up awards from Kamehameha Schools. TKC will utilize its expertise to coach the finalists with final business planning preparation and continued business support services beyond the program. This partnership builds upon previous collaborations to grow local food and economic security.

Through this endeavor, Kamehameha Schools, Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement and The Kohala Center hope to provide a venue for talented, innovative farmers and food producers to compete for access to business planning resources and project start-up monies.

Apply online

Learn more about KūHana x Mahi‘ai Match-Up and apply for the program on the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement’s website.

Key Dates

  • November 4: Application opens
  • December 10: Applications close
  • January 10: Mahi‘ai Match-Up and KūHana program begins
  • March 10: KūHana Hō‘ike – Mahi‘ai Match-Up Finalists selected
  • April 2022: Pitch presentation to judges & winners announced

Highlighting Past Mahi‘ai Match-Up Winner

Farmer Richard Kodani of Mana ‘Ōlena starts his tractor as he gets ready to work on his family farm, which grows ‘ōlena (tumeric) and ‘ulu (breadfruit). Mana ‘Ōlena won the 2020 Mahi‘ai Match-Up competition and received a $10,000 cash prize from Ulupono Initiative, waived rent for five years on Kamehameha Schools land in Hilo, and wrap-around business support services from The Kohala Center.

About the KūHana Program

The Council for Native Hawaiian Advancementʻs KūHana Business Program is an accelerator and training course for Hawai‘i businesses. KūHanaʻs primary goal is to assist companies with training, technical assistance, and strategy tools. Participating businesses will learn from various business experts in areas like market research, Hawaiian culture integration, financial analysis, and business plan writing. Program graduates increase their eligibility to receive business loans from the CNHA Loan Fund (a CDFI) and can receive a discounted interest rate as well as a year-long business membership to CNHA.

Kawaiaha‘o Plaza

567 South King St
Honolulu, HI 96813
(808) 523-6200

KS Hawai‘i

16-716 Volcano Rd
Kea‘au, HI 96749
(808) 982-0000

KS Kapālama

1887 Makuakāne St
Honolulu, HI 96817
(808) 842-8211

KS Maui

275 ‘A‘apueo Pkwy
Pukalani, HI 96768
(808) 572-3100