Grants of up to $25,000 available to Core Four students for business start-up expenses

David Daly, director of the Maui Economic Opportunity Business Development Center, teaches a Core Four business planning course in Wailuku in July. Photo courtesy: MEO

Maui Economic Opportunity’s Core Four Business Planning Series will run from September 6 through October 6, with graduates eligible to receive up to $25,000 in grants for business start-up expenses.

MEO’s Business Development Center offers the course virtually via Zoom on Tuesdays and Thursdays. It is for those who are considering starting a business or who have a business idea but need guidance. The series provides the information needed to start, operate and grow a business. It also teaches how to write a business plan.

A free introductory class to learn more about the series will be held in person September 1, from noon to 1 p.m., at the Maui County Business Resource Center, 110 Ala’ihi St., #209, Kahului. Call 808-249-2990 to register for the introductory course.

The cost of the Four Core Business Planning series is $50 and financial aid is available. Registration is mandatory for the series and can be done by submitting a online application or via the MEO website at meoinc.org. Registration forms can also be picked up from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays by appointment at the MEO Family Center in Wailuku near the J. Walter Cameron Center by calling 808-249-2990.

For the second year, the Business Development Center is presenting a Best Business Plan Grant program, again funded by County Council Member Tasha Kama’s district stipend. There will be nine prizes ranging from $5,000 to $25,000 with Core Four graduates in the next round of courses eligible to submit business plans for consideration.

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Business Development Center director David Daly said the seed grants are a unique opportunity and essential for entrepreneurs trying to achieve their business dreams.

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Last year, grant offerings drew more than 70 Core Four course participants — the highest number for any series of courses — and 30 grant applications.

Daly said entrepreneurs often have compelling business ideas but lack the practical knowledge to turn those dreams into reality.

“This Core Four Series will give startups a blueprint for success while also having a chance to earn seed capital,” he said.

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The series is funded by Maui County through the Office of Economic Development.