ChefZone Presents

From Cottage Industry to Commercial Enterprise

Hawaii Ag & Culinary Alliance (HACA) invites you to participate in the ChefZone Presents From Cottage Industry to Commercial Enterprise Program aimed at cultivating the next generation of Hawaii’s value-added entrepreneurs in partnership with Leeward Community College (Leeward CC) and the Wahiawa Value-Added Product Development Center (WVAPDC), in cooperation with the State of Hawaii. A cohort of 15 local entrepreneurs utilizing Hawaii-grown, raised or caught ingredients will be selected to incubate their cottage industry, consumer packaged good (CPG) or value-added products with guidance from industry experts to establish their new food businesses.

As part of the HACA program, each entrepreneur will receive a scholarship to Leeward CC’s 12-week Aina to Makeke course, developed to bring food products to market and build successful food businesses. Whether you have a food product idea, are in the testing phase or are already selling out of your home, this course is designed to provide the fundamentals to building your food business. Featuring industry experts and guest speakers, with opportunities for one-on-one individual coaching, you’ll complete the program with a comprehensive business plan, presentation and pitch to start and scale your food product.

Cohort 4: June 17 – September 9, 2024

Applications Closed
Selected applicants will be notified by May 1, 2024

Please contact [email protected] if you have any questions.


  • Scholarship to Leeward CC’s 12-week Aina to Makeke course from June 17 – September 9, 2024 (includes tuition, books, supplies, and course fees)
    • Classes held Mondays & Wednesdays from 5:30-7:30 P.M.
  • Mentor Speaker Series with industry leaders, celebrity chefs and other food & beverage professionals
  • Opportunity to feature and sell products through a special marketplace 
  • Introduction to the new Wahiawa Value-Added Product Development Center (WVAPDC) and FREE one-hour consultation with WVAPDC Product Development Manager
  • Additional promotional and networking opportunities to grow your business


  • Must be based in Hawaii and 18 years of age or older
  • Product must include a Hawaii-grown, raised or caught ingredient
  • Must be an early-stage food and/or beverage company with a consumer packaged good (CPG) or value-added product.
  • Must have an annual revenue of less than $1,000,000
  • Producing under Cottage Industry laws or out of a commercial kitchen
  • Direct to consumer sales through an established storefront/retail presence, e-commerce, farmers markets, or other vendor markets are allowed
    • Products already being sold in a specialty store or supermarket are also allowed to apply
  • Must have obtained food safety training from Department of Health (DOH) or from a program approved by DOH
  • Must be able to participate in all activities of the program including training classes, mentorship sessions, marketplace event, etc. Travel may be required for businesses headquartered on the Neighbor Islands. Classes will be held from June 17 – September 9, 2024 on Mondays & Wednesdays from 5:30-7:30 P.M.


Brought to you by the Leeward Community College, Office of Continuing Education and Workforce Development, the 12-week Aina to Makeke course examines what it takes to become a successful food business entrepreneur. Weekly classes guide participants in how to scale-up a kitchen recipe into a commercial product ready for market. 

Instructor Christiane Bolosan Yee will be joined by food industry professionals to lead students in how to:

  • PRODUCE a safe and wholesome consumer food product
  • PROMOTE a food product through established market channels
  • PROFIT as a business from the manufacture and sales of your product

Program will provide sessions with business advisors, coaches or entrepreneurs in the creation of their new business and the logistics of sourcing ingredients and packaging, regulatory compliance, and approaches to specialty food marketing.


  • Your Product & Consumer, Marketplace Survey, Product Costs
  • Licensing & Regulations, Introduction to Cost of Goods
  • Food Science Workshop, Working in a Commercial Kitchen
  • Working with a Co-Packer, Cost of Goods & Recipe Scaling
  • Business Law, Start-Up Costs, Margins, Break-even
  • Food Safety Modernization Act, Managing Your Business
  • Branding, Packaging
  • Doing Your Pitch – Sales Sheets and Evaluation Night Information
  • E-Commerce and Social Media
  • Selling at Supermarkets & Farmers Markets
  • Distribution
  • Pitch Presentations

Click here for more information on Leeward CC’s 12-week Aina to Makeke course and the Wahiawa Value-Added Product Development Center.



Last year, 29 local entrepreneurs were selected by application for Cohort 1 & 2 of Hawaii Ag & Culinary Alliance’s (HACA) ChefZone Presents From Cottage Industry to Commercial Enterprise Program in partnership with Leeward Community College (Leeward CC) and the Wahiawa Value-Added Product Development Center (WVAPDC), in cooperation with the State of Hawaii. Explore these value-added entrepreneurs utilizing Hawaii-grown, raised or caught ingredients and see where you can shop their food products!


Based in Wahiawa and founded by husband-wife team Brandon and Poni Askew, Hawaiian Vinegar & Spice Company is passionate about crafting artisanal, live, raw vinegars using their unique double-fermentation process & creating sweet and tart drinking vinegars, also known as shrubs. With a mission to create world-class vinegars and vinegar-based products by rescuing off-grade and fresh produce from local farmers, they are dedicated to food sustainability, taste innovation, and redefining gourmet pantry items uniquely reflecting Hawaii’s seasonal produce.


The Hoio Guy is on a mission to bring a healthy and delicious local favorite that everyone from kupuna to keiki can enjoy, using the highest quality edible fiddlehead fern shoots, also known as hoio. Founded by Brandon Chung, they offer two main product options—a prepared hoio salad and plain, blanched ready to mix hoio. Along with the hoio, they also offer other Hawaiian and favorite local pupus that compliment hoio such as opihi, dry aku, pulehu tako, deer jerky, sheep jerky, poi, poke and more.


Founded by Misty Sommo on the Windward side of Oahu, Mossy Mokes produces premium small batch sea moss gels, beverages and more incorporating top quality and organic ingredients, including St. Lucia Sea Moss, locally grown products and Kangen Alkaline water. A great source of collagen, fiber and 92+ vitamins and minerals, sea moss gels can provide natural energy, strengthen the immune system, lower blood pressure, support gut health and more!


Ulu & Kalo Bakery, located in Honolulu, specializes in healthy and delicious baked goods made with ulu (breadfruit) and kalo (taro). Founded in 2018 by Maile Kamisugi, Ulu & Kalo Bakery takes pride in using quality ingredients to produce gluten-free, vegan, and naturally sweetened baked goods aimed at reducing imports by utilizing staples that are abundant locally.


Mahina Mea is a hand-crafted freeze-dried goods company founded by Anuhea Sills on the Big Island of Hawaii. Drawing on a background in the food and beverage industry, Mahina Mea creates unique treats that ignite sparks of joy and childhood memories with an added layer of innovation and newness. Some well known Mahina Mea treats are the Original Kimchi Cucumber Chips, Mixed Bites and Lihing Candy Mix. Using compostable packaging in an effort to reduce waste in our islands, Mahina Mea also sources B-grade produce for their signature Kimchi Cucumber Chips and other produce based goods.


Dedicated to being pono and ono, Mauka Meats sells only meat and meat products produced from locally raised or hunted animals and processed in Hawaii. Founded by Micah Richards, Mauka Meats’ mission is to improve the local meat and livestock industry by creating pono protein products that benefit both families and the producers who create them. As part of this mission, they set out to create a USDA sausage product using only locally sourced livestock that could serve as a foundation for a sustainable and scalable business model for local meat companies. Hawaii’s Würst is a locally produced sausage line using only Hawaii-raised livestock and produced without nitrites, nitrates or phosphates.

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