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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:

FIRST 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 

SECOND 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

THIRD 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.


Year Business Name Team

1st place: RendezView- an innovative software solution that creates collaborative meeting environments where multiple users work together in real time with multiple files in the same virtual space from their own devices.

2nd place: Rose Gold Gems- the “Warby Parker” of jewelry, disrupting the luxury jewelry market by offering affordable 14k solid gold, diamonds, and gemstones through a direct to consumer distribution model.

3rd place: Swipewrap- a software service that enhances the digital gifting user experience with personalized, 3D unwrappable gift boxes, which users can unwrap with their fingers on their smartphone. 

Alberto Gonzalez Martinez, Dylan Kobayashi, and Ryan Theriot. 

Kahiau Machado, Kylie Shimada, and Rose Wong 

Tom Knapp-Ramos and Jonathan Uejbe 


2017 Herbavore- A company that designs and manufactures innovative, modular horticultural hand tools. VIDEO>> Robert Saito and Derek Woodruff
2016 Canine Kitchen (formerly Whole Dog Foods Hawaii)- A company that provides fresh daily meals for dogs using simple, healthy and USDA approved ingredients.  Kyla Aki, Sean Kovacs and Sarah Reo


Akabotics LLC- Intelligent robots for environmentally friendly and cost-effective sediment management and flooding risk mitigation of waterways. Monica Umeda and Newton Parks
MiWa Technology- A novel non-invasive radio-frequency sensor for continuous monitoring of multiple vital signs, including unique measurement of changes in lung water content. 
Magdy Iskander, Darcy Bibb, Gui Chao Huang, Matthew Amore and Ruthsenne Perron
SmarTummy- An abdominal simulator designed to fill a ubiquitous void in the medical, nursing, and emergency medical service (EMS) education industries: a reliable and accurate means to train students in abdominal palpation exams. 
Larry Martin, Dr. Scott Miller, John Salle, Dr. Walton Shim and David Yarber
Unique Lite Design- A lightweight unit load device, used for compartmentalizing and carrying cargo on a wide body aircraft
Christian Daoud, Alanna James and Dr. Mehrdad Nejhad
Diagenetix- A technology that detects specific genomic DNA faster and cheaper than existing technology.
Ryo Kubota, Scott Shibata, and Jimmy Saw
Ka Mahi'ai Ihi o Wa'ilea- A commercial venture in the State of Hawaii for the production and marketing of Hilo Maile.
Richard Kido, Keali'i Lum, Kehaulani Lum and Charles Rose
NanoGreen, Inc.- A company specializing in nanotechnology research and development in advanced structural chemicals and materials.
Donavan Kealoha, Mehrdad Nejhad, Richard Russ, Atul Tiwari and Lee Taylor
Manoa Transgenics, Inc.- An innovative gene insertion technology to develop transgenic mice and proprietary gene delivery plasmids that aims to cure genetic disease in humans.
Renata Matcheva, Doris Miocinovic and Pearl Ueranant
MicroNose Technology- A high efficiency, low cost water filtration systems media that removes arsenic and other toxic heavy metals from municipal drinking water systems.
Liangjie Dong, Harmoni Elliott, Daoping He, Jason Moran and John Varlaro
Risk Assessment Laboratories- A test, which will be administered by hospitals and funded by insurance companies, that accurately predicts preterm birth and diagnoses disease.
Stephen Morgan, John Ng, Robert Sherman, Kevin Rosenblatt and Peter Bryant-Greenwood
Pipeline Communications and Technology Inc.- A technology transfer and intellectual property licensing company that developed a revolutionary antenna prototype that enables high-security point-to-point communications.
Ryan Miyamoto, Wayne Shiroma, David Hales, Blaine Murakami and Monte Littlefield
Birding Vietnam- Provides high quality birdwatching services to foreign visitors in Vietnam.
Elaine Franklin, Mai Thai and Tao Feng
Zoji Golf- Offers a uniquely designed interchangeable shaft system for golf clubs that is designed to grow with young golfers.
Jill Hamasaki and Len Higashi
Ecospan Systems- A manufacturing and marketing operation in Asia that produces structural insulated buidling panels made from the agricultural by-product rice straw fiber.
Ecospan Systems Barry Sullivan, Monte Littlefield and Tamaki Saito



Year Business Name Team
Hydroponics Hawaii- Integration of modern hydroponics horticulture with Hawaii's climate to grow Native Hawaiian plants, accelerating plant cloning rates three times faster than traditional soil methods.
Eric Martinson, Carmie Pasquariello, Keith Sakuda, and David Walfish
Searider Productions Studios- Hawaii-based digital media production company that leverages the talents of teachers and alumni from the Searider Productions education program at Waianae High School.
John Allen III, Ric Gresia, Kilikina Mahi, Candy Suiso, and Mishan Suiso
Hoku International- A Hawaii based agribusiness specializing in the research and development of high quality Hawaii grown native and non-native plants and various medicinal herbs.
Lora Oshima, Rod Oshima, Ingelia White, Susie Kuhn, and Jeff Sakai