A major milestone of success for a local Hawaiian business is to be noticed by a business accelerator company. More impressive still is to be accepted into a business accelerator company’s first cohort of businesses, and that’s exactly what Hawaiian Rainbow Bees did.
Mana Up, a business accelerator company based in Honolulu, has a singular goal: to make serious, global businesses out of local Hawaiian product companies. Mana Up was started by three business people in 2017 who want to see Hawaiian businesses be serious contenders in national and global markets. Cripplingly-high shipping costs make expanding off the islands difficult for small businesses, as well as tougher access to resources and revenue streams that are easier to attain on the mainland. However, Mana Up has some strategies for helping small Hawaiian businesses to beat these challenges, and they recognize that people, especially millennial shoppers, are starting to notice things like authenticity and local products. People are searching for more authenticity and looking for the culture. “It’s something we could take advantage of,” notes Meli James, one of the co-founders of Mana Up.
Mana Up only accepted businesses that were making at least $100,000 per year, and hoped to get these businesses into the multi million-dollar mark over of the next few years. Hawaiian Rainbow Bees, one of the success stories in the local Hawaii business community, falls into this category, and at the beginning of 2018 began a twelve-week program to revamp their website, get a better reach on Amazon, and work together with other local businesses in the cohort. There is strength in numbers, after all, and if businesses in the cohort band together to ship pallets overseas, they can all benefit from lower shipping costs.
On April 27, Mana Up hosted its first Inaugural Product Showcase, and the honey from Hawaiian Rainbow Bees was a popular product. Ticket-holders were able to sample the four award-winning honey varietals produced by the company: Rainbow Blossom (Tropical Blossom) honey, Ohia Lehua honey, Macadamia Nut honey, and Christmas Berry honey.
There is no doubt that Malcolm Yorkston of Hawaiian Rainbow Bees has done amazing things by himself. However, with the acceptance into Mana Up’s first cohort, hopefully it won’t be long until we’ll be seeing the all-natural, deliciously flowery honey of Hawaiian Rainbow Bees in kitchens on the mainland and around the globe.