The 31st annual Small Business Hawaii Conference held Wednesday, January 10, 2007, at the Ala Moana drew more than 175 enthusiastic business owners and guests. The first major business and investment conference of the New Year combined information, education and networking with a series of panels, individual speakers and special events. Success and overcoming Hawaii’s many business challenges, was the focus of the event.

The theme of the Conference was “Small Business 2007: Contributing to Hawaii’s Dynamic Economic Change.”

Sponsors of the SBH Conference included: (Gold) Kaiser Permanente; (Silver) JS Services, The SystemCenter and Grassroot Institute of Hawaii; (Bronze) ALTRES Inc., Care Hawaii, Hartmann Metal Corp., Peterson Sign Co., KSSK Radio, Techniques Hawaii and Hawaii Reporter. (Green) Gyotaku Japanese Restaurant, Summerlin Insurance, Production Hawaii, AIG Insurance, Charley’s Taxi, Edward Enterprises, Hawaii Bulletin Board, Mylene’s Floral, Pacific Edge Magazine and Ted Hong, Attorney at Law.

Sam Slom opened the conference with a review of 2006 and an outlook for 2007 in Hawaii’s business climate. His conclusion: Hawaii’s small businesses were up to any task; taxes, mandates or regulations but we need to work together.

Cliff Slater presented a factual power point on the fiscal disaster that is the City’s $6 billion mass transit tax train. There was lively discussion among members afterwards, and a mini debate with City spokesman, Bill Brennan. (SBH, unlike most government agencies and many other private organizations, encourages and facilitates debates between the principal proponents and opponents of an issue important to small business owners and taxpayers).

State Labor Director Nelson Befitel outlined his achievements during the past four years and the Administration’s legislative plans for business during 2007. Regrettably, Befitel, under continuing union pressure, will not seek reappointment this year. SBH thanked him for all his accomplishments and hard work in behalf of business.

City Deputy Prosecutor and Chief of the White Collar Crime Unit, Chris Van Marter and State DCCA Director Mark Recktenwald, discussed business identity theft and the latest in scams in Hawaii. For many participants, it was a shocking revelation of just how much crime-particularly using computers and high tech devices-was on going as well as the cost to business and consumers. There were many questions for the two afterward.

A legislative panel moderated by Malia Zimmerman of HawaiiReporter.com featured new Senate President Colleen Hanabusa, Senator Mike Gabbard., and State Representatives Barbara Marumoto, Cynthia Thielen and Gene Ward. (Senator Carol Fukunaga was ill and could not attend).

SBH’s Small Business Success Awardees were very popular and shared secrets of their success. Owen O’Callaghan of Hawaiian Happy Cakes; talked about the differences in marketing of the company now from the Kemoo Farms days (he has gotten into COSTCO and gone online); but the recipe is the same. Lori Komer’s son Ben-former champion swimmer- of Leahi Swim School, Inc. has returned to help expand the family business. (Ben’s biggest supporter and fan is Delorese Gregoire of Winners’ Camp and Wally “Famous” Amos, Chip n’ Cookie. Wally announced he would be locating in Waikiki in the future. He discussed the importance of integrity of business owners and said, “you have to stand for something or you will fall for everything.”

During the luncheon program in the Hibiscus Ballroom, Richard David Hamada, Jr., III of KHVH radio assumed the M.C. duties with style and humor. Dick Rowland of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii gave his annual special small business invocation. Tom Yamaguchi of Aloha Petroleum led the group in the Star Spangled Banner and Hawaii Ponoi.

SBH’s annual business awards were announced and presented-awardees do not know of their award ahead of time. A special award for “Outstanding Public Servant of the Year (2006)” was presented to former State Transportation Director, Rod Haraga. SBH “Small business Person of the Year” was Dexter Okada of U. Okada Co. Ltd, who fought for the Queen Street Merchants to keep them from being evicted or losing their business property. He testified and challenged the state, the Lingle Administration, the HCDA, and the City & County of Honolulu. He also led the struggle to keep the Kaka’ako waterfront free of high-rise development. Another top award is the ” SBH Jean Fukuda Civic Leadership Award” presented by Wayne Fukuda of Wheatgrass Pacifica, the husband of the former SBH leader. The recipient was Tammy Kubo of Hawaii Pet Nanny, who organized the successful monthly birthday parties for the children in the Kaka’ako homeless shelter. Small Business Booster was Eve Anderson and Young Entrepreneur was Matt Muccio of Techniques Hawaii.

Keynote Speaker was David Tyreman, of the World Famous Company, LLC and author, World Famous. Tyreman came from England at 24 years of age with “$5,000, a suitcase and a dream.” He lost the $5,000, but being broke only made him more determined to be financially successful. That determination paid off — 7 years later he was a multimillionaire, owner of a multi-million dollar brand company and working with some of the most prestigious retail clients in the world, including Polo Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Nautica, Banana Republic, Old Navy and Nordstom.

His rather quick rise to fame did not go unnoticed by the national media. Tyreman was featured in dozens of feature and business stories on CNN, the Wall Street Journal and the Los Angeles Times, just to name a few.

Now in business for 18 years, Tyreman has opted to relocate to Hawaii. He opened a new consulting and branding business in Hawaii two years ago and is now holding “Entrepreneur Boot Camps.” His primary focus is to teach small business owners how to stand out in the marketplace.

Small Business Hawaii snagged Tyreman for its 31st Annual Business where he discussed: “The ” The 4-Steps Between You and a World Compelled to do Business With You.”

He was an overwhelming hit, and stayed to present a one-on-one talk story session with Conference sponsors, SBH Directors and Leadership Circle members.

”’For more information on Small Business Hawaii, log onto http://www.smallbusinesshawaii.com or call (808) 396-1724.”’

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