Those who have taken initiative and risk, found success and have helped Hawai‘i’s economy were honored today on the Senate floor. The Senate recognized the 2018 Hawai‘i Venture Capital Association’s (HVCA) Entrepreneur and Deal of the Year Awardees. HVCA stands as a nexus for entrepreneurs, capital foundation, and networking opportunities.

2018 Entrepreneurs of the Year, Manaola Group LLC, was represented by Carrington Edward Manaola Yap, creator, co-founder and designer, and Zachary Pang, co-founder and CEO. With the innovation of these two founders, Manaola was founded in 2016 and rose rapidly to become a globally recognized and high demand brand with its New York Fashion Week debut last year. Manaola employs a traditional stamping method for its designs and remains true to its commitment to create culturally conscious designs.

Luke Joseph is the Founder and CEO of iFirst Medical Technologies and inventor of the iFirst Analyzer and microfluidic cartridge. Joseph was named Tech Entrepreneur of the Year as he seeks to revolutionize health care through iFirst Medical Technologies. iFirst Medical Technologies brings the lab to the patient and is able to produce test results immediately all within the comfort of a patient’s home.

Aaron Ackerman is the Sustainability Team Leader at the architectural/engineering firm Bowers + Kubota. Ackerman was honored as the Island Innovator of the Year for his leadership and commitment to addressing creative and sustainability goals in his design projects. Ackerman uses his multidisciplinary background to develop projects that address economic, environmental, and social issues. In one such project, Ackerman built a house made of 75% reclaimed construction waste.

Tim Knapp-Ramos is the Founder of Swipewrap and was named Student Entrepreneur of the Year. Swipewrap is a software that digitizes gift wrapping with online digital gifts.

Mylen Yamamoto is the Founder, Creator, and CEO of Cropsticks by Cropmade. She is the People’s Startup of the Year award recipient. Cropsticks by Cropmade is an innovative chopstick with in a built-in rest made from sustainable bamboo. Cropsticks began when Yamamoto’s chopsticks kept rolling off her tray table on a flight to Asia. She believed there was a better way to use chopsticks, and the idea was born.

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