HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Kamehameha Schools and the Pauahi Foundation announce the return of Mahiai Match-Up – an agricultural business plan contest dedicated to supporting Hawaii's sustainable food movement and decreasing the state's dependence on imports. Mahiai means farmer. The contest is open to all farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural entrepreneurs. The application window opens today and ends Feb. 29, 2016.
"Mahiai Match-Up provides a venue for farmers and entrepreneurs to access some of our most valuable agricultural lands," said Sydney Keliipuleole, Senior Director of Statewide Operations for Kamehameha Schools. "Kamehameha Schools is engaged in an ongoing effort to work with community partners to find and nurture talented farmers with innovative ideas that will increase food production for Hawaii's market."
The top two business plans will receive an agricultural land agreement with up to five years of waived rent from Kamehameha Schools and seed monies from the Pauahi Foundation totaling $35,000 to help increase the probability of long-term, sustainable success.
Ulupono Initiative – the Hawai'i-focused impact investing firm – is once again lending its support to the business plan contest.
"Ulupono Initiative is proud to continue its partnership with Kamehameha Schools and Pauahi Foundation to assist talented farmers in realizing their dream of establishing a bona fide agricultural business in Hawaii," said Murray Clay, managing partner of Ulupono Initiative. "The goal of Mahiai Match-Up directly aligns with our mission of making Hawaii more self-sufficient by increasing local food production. The group of entrants from the first two years has been impressive, and we are excited to see what year three has in store."
Hawaii Farm Bureau's "Hawaii Food and Farm" magazine is also a sponsor of the contest.
This year the program provides more opportunities for aspiring farmers with the introduction of Mahiai Mentorship – a competition created through a partnership between the schools and GoFarm Hawaii aimed at developing the next generation of farmers.
Four applicants will be chosen to receive funding from Pauahi Foundation and Kamehameha Schools to attend GoFarm Hawaii, a program that turns the AgCurious into AgProducers. Valued at $3,000, participants are given a combination of knowledge, experience, and support designed to assist them in becoming viable production growers, and accomplish it in a manner that encourages sustainability. Applications for Mahiai Mentorship will be accepted from March 1 through May 2, 2016
To apply for the Mahiai Match-Up contest or for more information, visit www.pauahi.org/mahiaimatchup.