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Success Stories

Jean Jeremiah with nominator Naomi Masuno, 2015 Small Business Advocate for Minority Business - State of Hawaii

In her role as administrator of SCORE Hawaii, Jean Jeremiah matches entrepreneurs with SBA's volunteer mentors to promote the education, growth and success of Hawaii small businesses. She established outreach locations at Oahu Worklinks, Kapiolani Community College, in Kapolei and on Maui, and has worked with various community groups to plan and conduct training and network events. She has assisted more than 75 individuals with obtaining financing through SBA's pilot Community Express program, and helped to establish the SCORE Women's Initiative, a mentoring project specifically designed for women in any stage of business ownership.

In 2015, Jean Jeremiah won Small Business Advocate for Minority Business for the State of Hawaii. Nominated by Naomi Masuno, Bank of Hawaii.

Pictured: Jean Jeremiah and Naomi Masuno.

Robert Stehlik, Blue Planet Surf Gear LLC, 2015 Small Business Exporter of the Year - State of Hawaii

Blue Planet Surf Gear LLC was found in 1993 by Robert Stehlik as a clothing line selling to customers in Hawaii and Japan. Starting with apparel sales at the Aloha Stadium Swap Meet, the company debuted its first store in Maui in 1995, followed by a second location at Aloha Tower Marketplace, and a third on Kapahulu Avenue. The Ward Avenue shop opened in 2010 and marked a change in the small business’ strategic direction to focus on the manufacturing and sale of surfboards and stand up paddle boards. Now recognized as the stand up paddle board headquarters for locals and tourists alike, Blue Planet Surf provides rentals lessons, clinics and repairs, and generates revenues that have increased 57% since 2013.

In 2015, representing Blue Planet Surf Gear LLC, Robert Shelik won Small Business Exporter for the State of Hawaii. Nominated by Anne Blasque and Jared Kashiwabara, Bank of Hawaii.

Pictured: Robert Stehlik.

Samuel Kamaka Jr. and Frederick Kamaka Sr., Kamaka Hawaii, Special Aware for Lifetime Achievement, Makana Hooko no ke Ola, 2015 SBA Small Business Awards

Samuel Kamaka Jr. and Frederick Kamaka Sr. have devoted their lives to ensuring the success of Kamaka Hawaii and the perpetuation of Hawaiian values, culture, and music. Established in 1916, Kamaka Hawaii is a family owned and operated business making fine handcrafted ukuleles. The company has helped many others start new businesses, providing advice and sharing supplies, vendors and distribution networks; they've led factory tours and conducted workshops on topics like lean manufacturing, waste materials management, and customer satisfaction. The company also supports various educational efforts, non-profit and business organizations and music festivals.

In 2015, representing Kamaka Hawaii, Sam and Fred won a Special Award for Lifetime Achievement - Makana Ho'oko no ke Ola. Nominated by Angeline Shiroma, First Hawaiian Bank. 

Pictured: Sam Kamaka Jr. and Frederick Kamaka Sr.

Francis Kenney and Timothy Murphy, Jamaico Inc. dba Jamaican Grill, 2015 Small Business Persons of the Year for Guam

Francis Kenney and Timothy Murphy, owners of Jamaico Inc. (dba Jamaican Grill) made good on their collective dream of owning a business. In 1994, they opened their first restaurant in Hagatna, Guam with 2 employees. 10 years later, in July 2004, they received a $200,000 SBA loan towards the development of a second restaurant in Tumon, and in August 2011, they received a $407,000 SBA loan towards the development of a third restaurant in Dededo. Today, their three restaurants employ up to 101 full-time and 7 part-time employees. Previously, Kenney served in the U.S. Air Force as a cook stationed in Korea, and Murphy spent some time with the U.S. Merchant Marines.

In 2015, representing Jamaico Inc., Francis Kenney and Timothy Murphy won the Small Business Persons of the Year for Guam.

Pictured: Francis Kenney and Timothy Murphy