The Mahiʻai Match-Up agricultural business plan contest cultivates local farmers to help decrease the state’s dependence on imported food. Winners of the contest will share $35,000 in seed money and receive an agricultural land agreement for up to five years of waived rent from KS.
Monday, February 29 is the deadline for innovative farmers to enter the Mahi‘ai Match-Up agricultural business plan contest. The contest – sponsored by Kamehameha Schools and the Pauahi Foundation – is dedicated to cultivating local farmers to help decrease the state’s dependence on imported food.
The contest is open to all farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural entrepreneurs with dynamic ideas. Two winning teams will receive an agricultural land agreement for up to five years of waived rent from KS and a prize pool totaling $35,000 in start-up money from the Foundation to help increase the probability of long-term, sustainable success.
“Our past Mahiʻai Match-Up winners continue to grow and carry forward what they’ve set out to accomplish,” said Sydney Keliʻipuleʻole, senior director of statewide operations for Kamehameha Schools.
“Last year’s winner, the farmers of Māla Kaluʻulu, completed phase one of their land development management plan. Their 3.7-acre parcel located in Keʻei is fully planted with more than 100 mature ʻulu (breadfruit) trees, coffee, and over 150 fruit trees such as lychee, avocado, newly planted mountain apple and ʻolena.”
Contest sponsors Hawaii Farm & Food Magazine and Ulupono Initiative – a Hawaiʻi-focused impact investing firm – are excited for what Mahi‘ai Match-Up can do for Hawai‘i’s food sovereignty movement.
“We are pleased to continue supporting Mahiʻai Match-Up for its third consecutive year helping to grow Hawai‘i’s agricultural industry,” said Murray Clay, managing partner of Ulupono Initiative. “Connecting enthusiastic, visionary farmers with local agricultural land and access to capital is integral to achieving Ulupono’s goal of making Hawaiʻi more self-sufficient.”
February 29 is the deadline to submit the contest’s simple application form. KS and the Foundation will review the applications and announce the first-round finalists in April.
Finalists will have the opportunity to attend a business planning workshop led by Hiʻilei Aloha – a non-profit dedicated to identify, promote, develop, and support culturally appropriate, sustainable opportunities. Teams will have seven weeks to further develop and submit their business plans for review.
If you or anyone you know is interested in applying for the Mahi‘ai Match-Up contest, or for more information, visit www.pauahi.org.