Launch My Business™ Graduate Wins SmallBiz Editor’s Choice Award

By Kelli Namba, MCBL Program Coordinator

Photo Credit: Hawaii Business Magazine

Photo Credit: Hawaii Business Magazine

Launch My Business™ graduate and HI Cravings owner Jessica Kamana'o will be honored on May 4 at the 30th Annual SBA Awards & SmallBiz Editor's Choice Awards for winning in the New Business category.

After humble beginnings in 2013 selling acai bowls from her garage, Jessica enlisted the help of her husband, Kalani, and they began a crowdfunding campaign that raised $14,000 to open the first HI Cravings store. The company now operates at a walk-up window location in downtown Honolulu and at Ka Makana Alii in Kapolei, selling acai bowls that can be customized with toppings like fruits, and cookie dough to be “a healthy option by choice, or a delectable dessert by desire.”

The Kamana'o’s began coming to the Patsy T. Mink Center for Business & Leadership at YWCA O‘ahu in mid-2016 seeking business advice. After realizing they needed a formalized course that would help them understand how to start, run and operate their business, they decided to take Launch My Business™ together. They hope to continue growing their business by expanding to the neighbor islands and the mainland, but vow to remember their roots and continue their commitment of giving back to the communities that they serve.

Jessica and Kalani graduated along with eight other current and aspiring entrepreneurs in March as part of the MCBL’s eighth Launch My Business™ cohort. MCBL is currently recruiting its ninth cohort and a free orientation session will be held on May 11.