Tech development program behind $620 million economic boost - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Tech development program behind $620 million economic boost

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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

The state agency charged with helping businesses adapt to new technology says its been successful at getting several startups off the ground and at helping the state's economy in the process.   

The High Technology Development Corporation, a state-sponsored group, recently released detailed information on how their businesses are doing.

One such company is The Collective, owned and operated by Allison Izu Song and Summer Shiigi.

The Collective is a space for local designers, one that houses their full fashion workshop.

They say the state helped them realize their dreams.

"They supported us with a manufacturing grant. They also supported us through space when we first started," Song said.

With manufacturing grants, like the one used by Song and Shiigi, businesses can get up to $100,00 to buy new equipment, train employees, or become energy efficient.

Each year, the state surveys tech and manufacturing companies it's helped -- some 193 of them over the years. The 150 that responded injected nearly $620 million into Hawaii's economy, state officials said.

"This is only 150 companies out of all the tech companies, so were not even capturing the majority of companies that are in Hawaii," said Robbie Melton, the corporation's executive director.

Out of that total, the state says, $27.1 million was generated in tax revenue in 2016.

"If you look at the metrics from last year to this year, there's about a 74 percent increase in the growth, but then we have more companies now," Melton said.

Expansion, of course, typically means business is good.

"If we didn't have help from the state, my business wouldn't be where it is today. I think I grew a lot faster than I ever expected," Shiigi said.

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