How to Be Silicon Valley, Y-Combinator's Paul Graham laid out what it would take to build the next generation of emerging startup hubs. According to Graham, all that is required are nerds, rich people, personality and a willingness to tolerate odd (but brilliant) ideas. Hawaii probably isn't the first place you'd think to launch a startup but given the fantastic quality of life and key components of a good tech community, it's certainly a viable option.In 2006, in an essay entitled
Chi.mp, iLovePhotos creator Blue Lava Technologies and social media marketing solution Sprout enjoy the islands as home. Meanwhile, technology groups like TechHui, the Hawaii Science and Technology Council and Social Media Club Hawaii host regular events for entrepreneurs to network and provide feedback to budding technologists.Nerds: Hawaii already hosts its fair share of nerds. Employees from companies like identity management platform
Investors: The Hawaii Venture Capital Association and High Technology Development Corporation (HTDC) offer opportunities for investment and business development. HTDC in particular helps entrepreneurs in Maui and Oahu obtain facilities, equipment, and in some cases, funding.
Says CEO Yuka Nagashima, "In addition to workshops and education, we're offering below market rent and flexible lease terms. We understand startup companies and are helping them size up and down to meet their needs. " Program participants include Sprout, neighborhood platform People Bridge and crowdsourced movie production site Produced By You.
Tolerance for New Ideas: Says Chi.mp's Honolulu-based Chief Operating Officer Mike Curtis, "While the tech scene is relatively small, it is a vibrant, welcoming community and easy to plug into if you are a newcomer to the island. The local entrepreneurial community reflects [the spirit of Aloha] by sharing openly with one another to the betterment of the industry."
Curtis notes that in addition to a close-knit tech community, one of the advantages of launching your business in the state of Hawaii is that tax credits are generous compared to those offered in other states. If you're interested in exploring Hawaii as a place to launch or relocate your business visit Enterprise Honolulu for a list of startup-related tax incentives.
Photo Credit: Jeff Kubina