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INNOVATION & ECONOMY

Fostering Growth and Sustainability for Hawai'i County

dministration is dedicated to driving economic growth and fostering innovation in Hawai'i County. By supporting local businesses, enhancing infrastructure, promoting clean energy, and leveraging grant opportunities, we aim to create a vibrant and resilient economy.

Supporting Local Businesses

We are actively collaborating with our larger industries, such as tourism and construction, to stimulate economic growth, benefiting small business owners. We explore initiatives like grant programs and technical assistance to help businesses innovate and reduce operational costs, while streamlining regulatory processes to make it easier for businesses to thrive.

Grant Opportunities and Community Support

Our administration is dedicated to creating a sustainable Hawai'i Island where our keiki can thrive. This includes investment in food security, early learning, broadband, Hawaiian culture, sustainable tourism, homelessness, mass transit, renewable energy, and infrastructure projects. We have consistently supported these focus areas through grant programs and bid opportunities administered by various county departments.

Securing Federal and State Grants

Our federal grants coordination section reviews funding opportunities from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the CHIPS and Science Act, and the Inflation Reduction Act, among others. We have successfully applied for several grants, leveraging these funds to support and enhance our community's infrastructure, housing, and economic development, ensuring a sustainable and prosperous future.

COVID-19 Support and Reducing Poverty

During the COVID-19 pandemic, our administration secured $125,598,396 in grants, government reimbursement funds, and county dollars to support our community. Our efforts included:

  • Small Business Support: Distributed $22 million directly to small businesses islandwide through the Holumua program.

  • Emergency Rental Assistance: Provided $18,919,187 in emergency rental assistance, supporting 1,866 local families experiencing housing uncertainty.

  • COVID Event Request Process: Enabled countless businesses to remain open during the pandemic.

These initiatives were crucial in reducing poverty and supporting our local economy during challenging times resulting in a 3% decrease in poverty - the only county in the State to do so. 

Clean Energy Initiatives

Our administration is committed to pivoting towards a clean energy economy. Significant steps include:

  • Electric and Hydrogen Buses: Adding six new electric buses and hydrogen-powered buses to the Hele-On service, funded by grants, with service remaining free through 2025.

  • Hydrogen Alliance: Engaging in a hydrogen alliance with Namie, Japan, and Lancaster, California, to explore and expand hydrogen energy solutions.

  • EV Charging Infrastructure: Overhauling the county’s EV charging infrastructure to support the growing number of electric vehicles.

  • Renewable Energy Conversion: Converting Parks’ electrical and lighting systems to renewable energy sources.

  • County Fleet Overhaul: Planning to overhaul the entire county fleet to incorporate more electric and hydrogen-powered vehicles.

Investing in the Workforce of the Future

We are committed to building a skilled workforce for the future through various initiatives:

  • Statewide Broadband Hui: Partnered to lead the statewide broadband hui to bring connectivity to all parts of our community.

  • Fiber Ring Completion: Worked with Hawaiian Telcom to complete the fiber ring on Hawai'i Island, finally connecting Pāhala and Volcano.

  • Film Industry Support: Bolstered the film industry, bringing in over $40 million in revenue for the Hawai'i Island economy and creating hundreds of jobs islandwide.

  • Technology Incubators: Continued support of NextTech, Nalukai, and other technology incubators aimed at engaging our students in STEAM industries and unveiling their potential.

Community Partnerships

Our partnership with the Kohala Center at Kahaluʻu Bay exemplifies our commitment to preserving our marine environments. By working together, we aim to protect and restore this vital ecosystem, ensuring its health and resilience for years to come.

Looking Ahead

As we look to the future, our administration remains committed to fostering innovation and driving economic growth in Hawai'i County. We will continue to support local businesses, enhance our infrastructure, and promote clean energy initiatives. By working together with our community and leveraging state and federal resources, we can build a resilient economy that benefits all residents.

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