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UH Business Plan Competition

PACE BPC Group Photo

2019 UH Business Plan Competition participants, coaches and judges pose for a photo at the competition final event on April 25 at Waialae Country Club. 

Idea for innovative mobility device, inspired by a founder's brother, wins 2019 UH Business Plan Competition

After three intense rounds of competition, the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Shidler College of Business Pacific Asian Center for Entrepreneurship (PACE) is pleased to announce that a team of biology, business and mechanical engineering students received first place honors in the 2019 UH Business Plan Competition (BPC), sponsored by American Savings Bank. Four finalist teams representing the best early-stage student startup ideas at UH competed for prize packages totaling more than $40,000 in cash and in-kind awards on April 25, 2019, at the Waialae Country Club. The results are:

PACE BPC First Place WinnerFIRST PLACE – Prize package includes $10,000 cash and more than $19,500 in legal, marketing, and startup support services.
Team: G-Trainer – dedicated to the founder’s little brother who is diagnosed with cerebral palsy, this company designs walking assistive devices that incorporate self-stabilizing gyroscopic technology into its wheels for greater freedom and mobility for individuals with disabilities
Team members: Everett Amundson, Kendra Horvath, Jillian Kuba, and Austin Yoshino 



PACE BPC second place prizeSECOND PLACE – Prize package includes $5,000 cash and more than $13,500 in legal, marketing, and startup support services.
Team: Dive Buddy – a diving equipment and technology company that specializes in providing tour companies with diver safety and diver identification products
Team members: Bradley Beeksma, Melody Leilani Kaohu, Isaac Lee, Zack Naqvi, and Nicholas Ulm



PACE BPC third place prizeTHIRD PLACE – Prize package includes $2,500 UH BPC Award in Honor of Pioneer Bill Richardson by HiBEAM and more than $7,000 value in legal and marketing services.
Team: Okara Kitchen – a company that develops nutrient-dense, gluten-free pizza dough from repurposed tofu and soy milk byproduct.
Team members: Jinan Banna and Asuka Suzuki




The finalists successfully advanced past 21 other teams, pouring hundreds of hours into interviewing potential customers, developing real traction for their new venture, writing a comprehensive business plan, and crafting a compelling pitch.

“Competitions such as this one, make a tremendous difference in our students’ college experience and in their lives,” said Peter Rowan, Executive Director of PACE. “I’m grateful to our generous sponsors who share our passion for nurturing the next generation of entrepreneurs and innovators, and to the more than 60 business professionals who volunteered their time and energy as coaches, judges and instructors to make this real-world learning opportunity possible.”

The 2019 BPC title sponsor is American Savings Bank, and prize sponsors include HiBEAM, Pineapple Tweed, Sultan Ventures, the University of Hawaii Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation, and Vantage Counsel.


Title Sponsor

    American Savings Bank Logo


       HiBEAM logo       Pineapple Tweed Logo       Sultan Ventures Logo

UH System Logo       Vantage Counsel Logo