UH Hilo business administration major wins tuition costs in competition

Juvette Kahawai‘i, a student at UH Hilo College of Business and Economics, won with her plan to launch Kupa‘a Tax and Accounting Corporation, a family business serving small local businesses.

By Susan Enright.

Juvette Kahawai‘i and Marcia Sakai
UH Hilo business administration major Juvette Kahawai‘i (right), co-winner of the student competition category of the 2017 HIPlan Competition, stands with UH Hilo Interim Chancellor Marcia Sakai. The prize is shared with another student winner from Hawai‘i Community College. Photo courtesy of University Relations.

A University of Hawai‘i at Hilo senior from the School of Business and Economics has won a special student award for her entry in the 2017 HIPlan Competition. Semifinalists in a competition between Hawai‘i Island entrepreneurs pitched their business plans to judges on Oct. 21. The 15 semifinalists competed for a $25,000 prize to use as seed money toward their vision.

A special category was added to this year’s competition for the best business plan cultivated by students at UH Hilo and Hawai‘i Community College.

Juvette Kahawai‘i, a business administration major at UH Hilo, submitted a plan to launch Kupa‘a Tax and Accounting Corporation, a family business that will provide not only tax preparation but bookkeeping and payroll administration for small businesses. Kahawai‘i plans to be the accountant, her father the head tax preparer, her mother the office manager, and brother-in-law the IT specialist.

For the award, UH Hilo will cover the cost of Kahawai‘i’s tuition next year, about $7,200.

“Throughout my time here at UH I’ve come to recognize that it’s hard for small businesses, especially new businesses, to have accounting expertise in-house,” Kahawai‘i says. “With my business, it will help to meet [clients’] needs at a conveniently low cost while they focus on their craft. We already have two small business clients lined up and are working to bring on two more.”

Kahawai‘i shares the prize with Hawai‘i CC winner Kainen Kahiwahiwa Bohol, who submitted a plan to use scrap materials from Hawai‘i CCs welding shop to make value added items. Daniel and Dr. Shallon Craddock from Sunshine Pediatric Clinic won the grand prize of $25,000 for their plan to address the shortage of primary care doctors in East Hawai‘i.


About the writer of this story: Susan Enright is a public information specialist for the Office of the Chancellor and editor of UH Hilo Stories. She received her bachelor of arts in English and certificate in women’s studies from UH Hilo..

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