In brief: September 28, 2020

HTDC receives SBA grant

Hawaii Technology Development Corporation (HTDC), the state’s economic development agency focused on developing technology and manufacturing companies, recently received a grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to further enhance the organization’s success in stimulating economic growth throughout the state.

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HTDC received $125,000 as one of 24 awards granted by the SBA under the Federal and State Technology (FAST) Partnership Program.

Along with funding, FAST helps to grow economic development by providing candidates with outreach, training, business assistance and mentoring. The support FAST provides is designed to help research- and development-focused small businesses compete in the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Programs by increasing participation from women-owned, rural-based, and socially economically disadvantaged small businesses — which for 2020 will have more than $4 billion in early-stage seed capital to be awarded to early-stage, high-tech small businesses.

“Our FAST partners address the unique needs of next-generation, high-tech small businesses. The program supports innovative entrepreneurs from underserved communities by helping them start and grow—a primary mission for SBA,” said SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza. “Programs like FAST are more critical than ever as the SBA is laser-focused on helping small businesses recover and once again propel the national economy forward. The SBIR and STTR funding can be the early seed capital to jumpstart companies today and make them successful in the future. Some of our nation’s leading technology firms got their start with SBIR funding, and FAST is helping expand those opportunities to other entrepreneurs.”

The FAST award project and budget provides grantees with one year of funding to execute state/regional programs that support potential SBIR applicants and awardees. HTDC will use the funding to conduct virtual on-line workshops and mentoring utilizing communications technology to connect the participants.

To be awarded, candidates had to be endorsed by their state governor as only one proposal was accepted from each state or territory. Proposals were evaluated by panels of reviewers from SBA and other SBIR participating agencies. Varying levels of matching funds were required, based on the number of SBIR Phase I awards in each state.

“We are very grateful to receive the FAST grant award from the SBA,” said Len Higashi, HTDC’s acting executive director. “With COVID-19, we have moved all of our staff remote and our programming online. The grant allows us to reach more companies and guide them to success through the federal Small Business Innovation Research program.”

HPM doubles Oahu space

HPM Building Supply announced last week a major expansion of its business, which includes: doubling its Oahu footprint, becoming the state of Hawaii’s exclusive distributor for SCAFCO steel framing, and expanding its product selection to include CertainTeed acoustical ceiling panels and other commercial interior materials.

With this expansion, HPM’s Kapolei location at the Campbell Industrial Park has added six new employees and the facility now spans 6 acres, with 50,000 square feet of covered warehouse space, a lumber yard, a steel yard, and custom metal roofing manufacturing.

“By adding steel and commercial interior products to our extensive lineup of lumber, paint, roofing and hardware, we’re able to offer even more for our customers and truly be a one-stop shop for projects of all types and sizes,” said Jason Fujimoto, HPM president and CEO. “HPM is well-known for our lumber selection, and our specialization in lumber stretches back 99 years. Now, we can also supply large commercial and residential projects where steel is required or preferred. As a fifth-generation local company, we’re pleased to bring top-notch products like SCAFCO steel framing to Hawaii so that our community can build better and live better.”

HPM has also entered the commercial interiors market with the addition of CertainTeed acoustical ceiling panels. CertainTeed acoustical ceiling panels come in smooth, fissured or textured varieties with a wide range of acoustic performance, visuals and price-points.

HPM intends to continue expanding its selection of commercial interior materials, and the Oahu location will soon regularly stock windows as well as a wider array of moulding, drywall and insulation products. HPM also provides customers with locally manufactured wood wall panels and trusses, shipped from its Keaau manufacturing facility on Hawaii Island to job sites across all islands.

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“As the Oahu construction industry continues to see growth, even during the pandemic, we are excited to expand our capacity and capabilities to better serve our customers,” said Mark Schwinn, HPM Oahu regional manager. “Doubling our footprint is just the first step in our vision to grow our presence on this island.”

The announcement of HPM’s Oahu expansion comes less than a month after HPM merged with Miyake Concrete Accessories Inc., which added four building supply stores and one truss manufacturing plant on Maui to HPM’s eight existing locations across Hawaii Island, Oahu and Kauai.

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