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DBEDT E-newsletter - January 2024

DBEDT E-newsletter - January 2024

Aloha kākou,

As we embark on the promising journey of 2024, this issue of DBEDT’s newsletter reflects on our collective achievements and lessons from the past year and sets the stage for our ambitious goals and initiatives in the months ahead.

2023 was a testament to our resilience and commitment. We faced unprecedented challenges, particularly the devastating Maui wildfires that impacted so many lives and businesses, but our community’s response was nothing short of inspiring. In this edition, we take a moment to reflect on the relief and recovery efforts, showcasing the aloha spirit that defines us in times of need.

Looking forward, the 2024 legislative session presents us with new opportunities to enhance the economic well-being of our islands. We outline our key priorities for the session, focusing on innovative policies and strategic investments that will drive economic development, enhance workforce capabilities, and support local businesses and entrepreneurs. These initiatives are designed to preserve Hawaiʻi’s natural resources and cultural heritage and ensure a prosperous future for all who call these islands home.

Your involvement and feedback remain invaluable as we build on our past achievements and learn from our challenges. Together, we can foster an economic environment as dynamic and diverse as the islands themselves.

Mahalo for your continued support and engagement. Here’s to a year of growth, prosperity, and shared success.

Me ke aloha,

James Kunane Tokioka
Director, Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism

Ahead of the opening of the 2024 legislative session, Director James Tokioka and Deputy Director Dane Wicker presented the department’s priorities to the Senate Ways and Means and the House Finance Committees. They offered DBEDT’s framework to expand Hawaiʻi’s economy and develop local talent with curriculum-to-career pathways. These efforts underscore the need for Hawaiʻi to be an economically sustainable state and will strengthen the state’s emerging sectors as a foundational step.

Based on an in-depth review of various reports, studies, and data, DBEDT is focused on three economic sectors – Technology and Innovation, Creative Media and Film, and Manufacturing and Product Development. Within DBEDT’s eco-system, each of its core divisions and many of its attached agencies will be involved, with some providing incentives to leverage in moving the needle on initiatives.

Additionally, DBEDT will continue to support Governor Green’s priority on housing by creating more affordable workforce housing units in high-quality living environments.

We will provide updates to keep you informed of our progress.

As the Maui community continues on its road to recovery, the Maui Economic Recovery Commission (ERC) launched with a kick-off meeting on Jan. 5, 2024. The Maui ERC, co-chaired by DBEDT Director Tokioka and Luana Mahi of Maui County’s Office of Economic Development, is a coalition of vibrant community leaders representing the richness of Maui and Hawai‘i's diverse tapestry.

  • With about 100 people attending the first meeting, group discussions focused on the ERC’s mission to:
  • Forge a resilient path for Lahaina and Kula's economic recovery
  • Advocate for deserved outcomes through policies and regulations
  • Unite the community towards a common goal

The initial phase involves learning, listening, and exchanging insights to chart the best course forward. From January through April, facilitated working group meetings will allow diverse perspectives to converge, fostering understanding and shared learning. The full commission will reconvene in May and August to bring the working findings together and develop the overall recovery plan.

SBRRB November Meeting – Feb. 15, 2024, 10 a.m.
The February meeting will review several Hawaiʻi Administrative Rules. The public is welcome to attend in person or virtually. For more information and the full agenda, visit

Made In Hawaiʻi 2024 Presents: Your Future in E-Commerce – Feb. 21, 2024, 11 a.m. – 6. p.m.
This event will gather Hawaiʻi manufacturers, retailers, and implementing agencies and platforms to create and strengthen E-Commerce channels. The goals are to help Hawaiʻi companies serve markets outside the state and build resilience. Get more information here.

Additional Info

Source : DBEDT

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