Takitani Foundation seeds innovation fellowships at PACE

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Dolly Omiya, (808) 956-5645
Public Information Officer, College of Business-External Relations Office
Posted: Mar 2, 2015

From left: Maile Au, Jan Luke Loo, Vance Roley, Susan Yamada, Michael W. Perry and Unyong Nakata.
From left: Maile Au, Jan Luke Loo, Vance Roley, Susan Yamada, Michael W. Perry and Unyong Nakata.

The Mamoru and Aiko Takitani Foundation has committed $25,000 to the Pacific Asian Center for Entrepreneurship (PACE) at UH Mānoa's Shidler College of Business. The gift will be matched by the UH Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation to seed the Mamoru and Aiko Takitani Foundation Innovation Fellowship Program.

The Takitani Foundation's gift will benefit the five-year PACE Initiative that was launched in February 2014. The goal of the initiative is to raise $3 million to create new programs and expand existing ones. Funds raised through the initiative will also be used to renovate and expand the current location in the Shidler College of Business.

The new center will enable PACE to create a vibrant co-working space for entrepreneurial activity at the university. Additionally the new center will double the number of entrepreneurial programs offered, introduce an entrepreneurial curriculum to other UH colleges, train key faculty on current entrepreneurial instruction, support the commercialization of UH technology and innovation, and establish UH as a leader in entrepreneurial education.

To date, more than $2 million has been raised with investments from various donors, notably Central Pacific Bank’s chairman and CEO John Dean, First Insurance Co. of Hawaiʻi, Central Pacific Bank and American Savings Bank.

The fellowship will be awarded to high-achieving students at UH Mānoa. Under the guidance of an advisor, Takitani Innovation Fellows will provide strategic planning services to companies on issues related to market expansion, new product launch, and acquisition. Fellows may also work on select UH innovation and technologies that matriculate into the Proof of Concept Center (POCC) housed within PACE.

“PACE, with its game-changing entrepreneurial educational programs, is a great match for the Takitanis, who understood what it takes to be successful entrepreneurs and whose Foundation is dedicated to helping Hawai‘i students achieve their goals,” said Michael W. Perry, chairman of the board of the Mamoru and Aiko Takitani Foundation.

“Entrepreneurial education happens in both the classroom and the real world. The Takitani gift enables PACE to provide the brightest students with an entrepreneurial focus to get their hands dirty and ‘practice’ entrepreneurship. They will be developing business plans, financial projections, market analyses and working hand-in-hand with entrepreneurs to develop their businesses,” said Susan Yamada, PACE executive director.

“We are extremely grateful to the Takitani Foundation for their generosity to PACE and the University of Hawai‘i,” said UH Vice President for Research and Innovation Vassilis L. Syrmos. “This wonderful gift brings PACE one step closer to expanding on its dynamic entrepreneurial programs for our students and faculty—now a cornerstone to our university’s efforts to commercialize its technology in support of the Hawai‘i Innovation Initiative.”

The Mamoru and Aiko Takitani Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization dedicated to helping Hawai‘i’s youth achieve their educational and career goals by providing scholarships and other educational opportunities to Hawai‘i students. The Foundation also supports local programs that create innovative change in education. Talented entrepreneurs Mamoru and Aiko Takitani, founders of Hawaiian Host, created the Foundation in 1993 to thank the people of Hawai‘i for their outstanding support of Hawaiian Host products. Since its inception, the Foundation has provided over $2 million in scholarships to deserving students.

Those wishing to learn more or contribute to PACE are invited to contact Unyong Nakata, senior director of development, at unyong.nakata@uhfoundation.org or (808) 956-3597. Donor recognition naming opportunities are still available.

(full caption) From left are Maile Au, director of alumni relations, Shidler College of Business; Jan Luke Loo, vice chair, Takitani Foundation; Vance Roley, dean, Shidler College of Business; Susan Yamada, executive director, Pacific Asian Center for Entrepreneurship; Michael W. Perry, chair, Takitani Foundation; and Unyong Nakata, senior director of development, Shidler College of Business.