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Sunshine shines on top

Updated: 
November 5, 2017 - 12:05am

KAILUA-KONA — Sunshine Pediatric Clinic is coming back to Hilo with $25,000 to help it continue to grow and serve the families of East Hawaii after winning the 2017 Hawaii Island Business Plan Competition on Saturday.

Daniel and Dr. Shallon Craddock opened the clinic earlier this year. The clinic was one of 43 entries initially submitted to the competition, now in its second year.

The clinic, located in downtown Hilo, is focused on tackling a shortage of primary care doctors — including pediatricians — in the area.

“Sunshine Pediatric Clinic is a solution to this,” Shallon Craddock said in her “elevator pitch,” one of three parts of the competition’s final round on Saturday. “Since opening in February of 2017, we have increased our enrollment by over 800 patients and on average we add 10 patients a day.”

She added they personally have already invested their savings and 401ks into the enterprise and the $25,000 prize would go toward purchases that would allow them to expand the clinic’s services, such as medical equipment, computers and air conditioning.

“Our keiki are our most valuable and vulnerable population,” she added. “They are our investment in our future.”

Last month, 15 entries, including Sunshine, were given a chance to pitch their business plans to a group of judges. In the end, just eight of the competitors made it to the final round: a business “triathlon” in which finalists were scored on their business plans, a 15-minute presentation to judges and a final 2-minute elevator pitch for finalists to sell their visions.

The entrant with the top combined score from all three events was the winner.

Kelly Moran, HIplan co-chair, said after the competition that he’s seen a lot of progress between last year and this year in the professional evolution of the businesses taking part in the contest. And the quality and variety of participants, he added, speaks volumes about the potential that the island’s business community has to grow and develop.

“I think the Big Island has a reservoir of resources and talent that, given the proper venue, can blossom into some very effective businesses,” he said.

After the competition, the Craddocks said the experience of the competition exposed them to other businesses that are growing throughout the island and the sheer potential local entrepreneurs have.

“We may be on an island, but we can have a global reach,” Daniel Craddock said, adding he’s personally committed to staying connected with the other entrepreneurs in this year’s competition.

Shallon Craddock mentioned several of the other entrepreneurs who had found their own niche or market as well as identifying specific problems they’re trying to solve, such as improving access to water, exploring alternative energy production and developing local agribusinesses.

They also acknowledged the support they’ve received from other local entrepreneurs, such as Hawaii Jiu Jitsu, which donated $600 to the clinic after being inspired by the work Sunshine Pediatric Clinic was doing in the community.

“There’s so many people who want to make a difference, who want to have an impact. Sometimes it’s just knowing that there’s somebody doing something about the problems that we face around the island,” Daniel Craddock said.

Robbie Melton, executive director and chief executive officer of the Hawaii Technology Development Corp and one of the contest’s judges, said the Craddocks’ clear message and need they identified helped land them the top prize.

“It’s not about just the company itself,” she said. “It’s also how you present the company. And so they presented a need that we need to fill on the island. And I think they had a very clear path to get to where they wanted to go.”

Daniel Craddock said taking part in the contest — on top of keeping up the work they’re already doing in the community as well as raising their family — “certainly shows you what you’re made of.”

“It pushes you beyond your own limits,” he said. “So we’re thankful for that.”

Shallon Craddock echoed that point, saying the event pushed her out of her comfort zone.

The competition also pushed them to come together and really detail and analyze their vision, Daniel Craddock said, which strengthened their efforts to achieve what they had set out to accomplish.

“So I think whenever co-founders have the opportunity to take the time to dig deeper into the planning side, there’s always an extra level of benefit,” he said.

Moran also emphasized the importance for entrepreneurs to do that self-evaluation as their businesses grow and develop.

“The global vision of where you stand in the business market needs to happen on a daily basis,” he said. “You have to step back and look where you’re going every day.”

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