Pacific Business Center Program wins national award at the University Economic Development Association summit

PBCP recognized for excellence in work on technology commercialization and economic development in the Pacific Islands

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Byron Apo, (808) 954-2495
Research/Fiscal Manager
Posted: Nov 21, 2008

The University of Hawaiʻi at Manoa‘s Pacific Business Center Program (PBCP) was recognized for its achievements in economic, business and community development at the University Economic Development Association‘s Annual Summit in St. Petersburg, Florida. At the summit, universities and colleges from around the nation presented projects detailing work on economic development in various categories.

PBCP garnered two top honors at the summit: national finalist for "Excellence in Technology Commercialization category" for the "Manoa BioSciences, Inc. Business Plan" and first place in the "Excellence in Economic Development Research category" for American Samoa Government Labor Pool Study (ASGLPS). This marks the sixth year that PBCP has participated in the summit; earning a total of five national awards and one national finalist award in the eight years Papalii Failautusi Avegalio has been the Director of PBCP.

Four previous awards were in recognition for PBCP‘s work in: assisting in the organization of a development partnership with international private and public sector partners for Hawaiʻi based candlenut oil manufacturer, Oils of Aloha (2005); preparing 70 business plans of which 36 were approved and received a total of $1.8 million with and for Office of Hawaiian Affairs‘ revolving loan fund clients (2004); providing technical assistance to the Development Bank of American Samoa, the key catalytic financial institution for local development in the territory, for a variety of business management strategies (2003); and providing post nuclear resettlement planning assistance to the Rongelap Atoll Local Government in the Marshall Islands (2002).

The recognition as a national finalist for "Excellence in Technology Commercialization" was received for PBCP‘s work with Manoa Transgenics on the Manoa BioSciences, Inc. (MBI) business plan. Renata Matcheva, business development specialist at PBCP, headed the team made up of PBCP‘s graduate research assistants, Pearl Ueranant and Doris Miocinovic, to complete the business plan. The plan focused on an innovative gene insertion technology to develop transgenic mice and proprietary gene delivery plasmids that could one day prove its efficiency for gene therapy. MBI‘s propriety product, Genie™ Transgenic Mice, will be used by the research and pharmaceutical industries to study the effects of new drug treatments - a $1B market for transgenic animals. In five years of operations the company aims to license its Genie™ technology as the first safe and reliable gene insertion method to be used in gene therapy in humans.

The Manoa BioSciences, Inc. business plan was also presented at the University of Hawaiʻi Business Plan Competition in 2007 where it earned a first place finish. As a result of PBCP‘s work on the plan, MBI was awarded $32,500 to help defray some of the start-up costs for the business development and gave the push needed to seek $5 million in seed money to get the new venture off the ground.

The Best Practice Award for "Excellence in Economic Development Research" was received for PBCP‘s work on the American Samoa Government Labor Pool Study (ASGLPS), a joint effort between PBCP, the Office of the Governor-American Samoa Government, U.S. Department of the Interior-Office of Insular Affairs and the U.S. Department of Commerce-Economic Development Administration. The ASGLPS impacted the formalization of a Memorandum of Understanding and subsequent agreements between the American Samoa Government and a knowledge industry company, Information Technology American Samoa, Inc. This has resulted in approval of the PacRim fiber optic cable connection, which is expected to land and link to American Samoa in January 2009. The cable will provide the fundamental requirement for telecommunications infrastructure and band width capacity to support a 24/7 knowledge industry in American Samoa.

As a result of the study and implementation of the fiber optic cable connection, significant employment opportunities have been created for Samoans from Independent Samoa and other South Pacific neighbors who will be working from projected satellite work stations connected to American Samoa, the hub for all future satellite operations. Local job creation is expected to be 1,500 positions, not including supervisory, managerial and executive level positions.

The project was completed under the supervision of Papalii Failautusi Avegalio, director of PBCP. The outstanding ASGLPS research study team was composed of University of Hawaiʻi Professors Bob Doktor — Shidler College of Business, Luciano Minerbi — School of Urban and Regional Planning, and assistant professor Luafataalii, Sailiemanu Lilomaiava-Doktor of the University of Hawaiʻi - West Oahu campus-Pacific Island Studies Program. Project graduate student assistant team was composed of: Michael E. Valdez - UH Shidler College of Business administration PhD student, Nicole Saito - UH Shidler College of Business administration undergraduate student, Tuamasaga Mataaga Unutoa — UH medical school MD graduate student, Salilo Julia Foifua — UH MSW graduate student, Taualai Fonoti — Stanford University/Oxford University England graduate student, and PBCP business development specialist, Renata Matcheva.

ABOUT THE UNIVERSITY ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATION (UEDA) UEDA , established in 1976, is a not-for-profit association, providing advocacy, information and a forum to enhance the performance of university-based organizations and their affiliates that provide economic development, business and technical assistance to businesses and communities. UEDA‘s mission is to serve its members by enhancing members‘ abilities to deliver economic development benefits through engagement with higher education. UEDA maintains a diverse and rich group of members including EDA University Centers, Entrepreneurial Assistance Centers, Economic Development Centers, Business Research Centers and many other organizations nationwide. (

ABOUT THE PACIFIC BUSINESS CENTER PROGRAM (PBCP) The University of Hawaii Pacific Business Center Program was established in 1979 to provide entrepreneurs, businesses, non-profits, and government agencies with economic and business development technical assistance by utilizing the resources of the University of Hawaii. PBCP‘s mission is to help indigenous island economies help themselves by adapting the scientific and technical resources of the University of Hawaiʻi to support pacific island economic, business and community development in a manner that is holistic, responsible and builds local island capacity. PBCP also operates the Honolulu Minority Business Enterprise Center (HMBEC), which is part of a network of centers fostering the establishment and growth of minority-owned businesses in America.

Major funders of the PBCP include the U.S. Department of Commerce‘s Economic Development Administration and Minority Business Development Agency, the U.S. Department of the Interior‘s Office of Insular Affairs, the University of Hawaiʻi, the UH Shidler College of Business, and some of the governments of the American Affiliated Pacific Islands. The Center serves Hawai'i and the American Affiliated Pacific Islands, including American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Republics of Palau and the Marshall Islands. (

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