Hawaii food entrepreneurs with value-added products utilizing local ingredients encouraged to apply by March 31

HONOLULU, HI (March 1, 2023)—Hawai‘i Ag & Culinary Alliance® (HACA) is pleased to announce a second round of applications is now open for the From Cottage Industry to Commercial Enterprise program in partnership with Leeward Community College (Leeward CC) and the Wahiawa Value-Added Product Development Center (WVAPDC). Aimed at cultivating the next generation of Hawai‘i’s value-added entrepreneurs, the program will select a second cohort of 15 local entrepreneurs utilizing Hawai‘i-grown, raised or caught ingredients to feature their cottage industry, consumer packaged goods (CPG) or value-added products and help them incubate their new businesses.

The From Cottage Industry to Commercial Enterprise program was designed to support small batch producers in Hawai‘i with the resources and tools to scale their food products globally. These businesses are an integral part of increasing demand and production of local agricultural crops, diversifying our economy and creating greater food security and sustainability for our islands.

As part of the HACA program, each entrepreneur receives a full scholarship to attend Leeward CC’s new 12-week bootcamp developed to bring food & beverage products to market and build successful food businesses. The course features food industry professionals with experience in producing, promoting and profiting from value-added products. Lessons include topics from licensing and regulations to working in commercial kitchens, branding & marketing, packaging, sales & distribution and more. Cohort participants may also be among the first to utilize the WVAPDC when completed in Summer 2023.

Earlier this year, HACA and Leeward CC selected the inaugural cohort of food product business owners currently enrolled in Leeward CC’s food product course as part of the From Cottage Industry to Commercial Enterprise program. The 15 businesses selected for the January program include: Poni Askew, Hawaiian Vinegar & Spice Co; Mahealani Badua, Sakata Sweets; Brandon Chung, The Hō’i’o Guy; Ka‘ena Galdiera, Sweets by Sandy; Martha Lanoza, Milo’s Pastele Stop; Miriam Olivas, Barrio Café 808; Christina Peterson, The Mochi Bar; Scott Potter, Haleiwa Salt Co; Garrett Shiroma, Chibi Confectionery; Becky Shuck, Island Rayne Gourmet; Anuhea Sills, Mahina Mea; Misty Sommo, Mossy Mokes; Queena Tahi, Tahi Tarts; Jason Weintraub, The Disco Farmer; and Michael Yamauchi-Yamate, Luau Bombs.

This group will be joined by Cohort 2 participants later this year to receive invaluable mentorship from Hawai‘i Food & Wine Festival®’s network of industry leaders, chefs, and food & beverage professionals. In November, the From Cottage Industry to Commercial Enterprise program will culminate with an opportunity for all 30 cohort participants to showcase their unique food products to thousands of attendees at the Thirteenth Annual Hawai‘i Food & Wine Festival on O‘ahu, among other marketing opportunities through the Festival’s digital media platform—HashiLife.com.

The second cohort runs from May 1 – July 19, 2023 on Mondays and Wednesdays from 5:30-7:30 P.M. Interested applicants must apply by March 31, 2023 to be considered. For more information on the program, requirements and application, please visit www.hawaiifoodandwinefestival.com/cottageindustry.

For Press & Media inquiries, please contact:
Kristen Lau-Grover, Director of Marketing & PR | [email protected] or 808-721-1849

The Hawaii Ag & Culinary Alliance (HACA) is the parent organization of the Hawaii Food & Wine Festival (HFWF)—the premier epicurean destination event of the Pacific, and Hashi Media—the digital platform for curated culinary stories featuring the global network of HFWF ambassadors and talent. Founded in 2011 as a 501c3 nonprofit organization, HACA’s mission is to attract national and international attention for Hawaii’s extraordinary culinary talent and diverse, high-quality locally grown products—ensuring the islands maintain their competitive edge as a world-class destination. Since it’s inaugural year, HACA has donated over $3.1 million to local community and aina-based organizations that support food sustainability, culinary education and agriculture. For more information, visit www.HFWF.me, follow HFWF on Twitter/Instagram @HIFoodWineFest and Facebook at @HawaiiFoodandWineFestival.


As part of the University of Hawaii system, Leeward Community College provides an environment for academic learning and a center of cultural life for neighboring communities. With a main campus in Pearl City and an educational center in Waianae, and the Wahiawa Value-Added product Development Center, Leeward Community College’s proven commitment to affordable, quality education is the foundation of its mission. From professional career studies to liberal arts, the College offers diverse and comprehensive opportunities for all students.

For more information, visit www.leeward.hawaii.edu, follow @Leewardcc on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, or contact Tad Saiki, Marketing Officer, at [email protected]. For information about the Wahiawa Value-Added Product Development Center, contact Chris Bailey at [email protected].