Hawaii’s High Technology Development Corporation … Plus Some Jokes

 

Downtown Honolulu, HI, view from Punch Bowl.

Downtown Honolulu, HI, view from Punch Bowl.

Superb Internet may have a worldwide presence, with our international clientele and core network in five US states, but our main office is in Honolulu, Hawaii. Though you may not live in Hawaii, looking at our involvement in the local and statewide community might be meaningful for those looking to start a business or get involved with similar associations in their own localities.

Today, I will talk about the High Technology Development Corporation (HTDC), a Hawaii agency started in 1983 by the state legislature. The idea behind the HTDC is to boost knowledge-sharing and innovation in the high-tech field – building a broader, more robust economy with more professional and lucrative careers for those living in the state. The organization also assists high-tech startups to get off the ground so they can have a better chance of competing with the big players.

Our specific involvement with the organization is as a part of its Service Provider Program. After talking a little more about the organization as a whole, we will get into exactly what our involvement in the program is below; I will also discuss the various other initiatives that are part of the HTDC’s efforts to provide support for the high-tech field, creating better integration and synergy between businesses.

Throughout the piece, I will describe one of the more exciting ideas that arose from a former startup that initially utilized the HTDC. Here is the first part of that story:

HTDC Initiative: Helicopter Made out of Coconuts

First they called Hans Frauchild a mama’s boy. Then, they called him a ne’er-do-well madman. Next, they called him a lucky madman. Now, they call him a genius. By “they,” I mean Frauchild’s parents: they were very abusive. Nonetheless, it’s understandable that they doubted their son’s vision. (Continued below)

Mission of the High Technology Development Corporation

Funded by the state of Hawaii, the mission of the HTDC is fourfold:

  1. Create and maintain an infrastructure for business-incubation. The intentions of this infrastructure are to both directly help businesses succeed and to foster the formation of connections between businesspeople throughout the state.
  2. Strengthen and broaden services that are already in place to help new and established companies grow, including the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) and FastTrac TechVenture.
  3. Access funds for technological research from public-sector and private-sector sources. HTDC both seeks grants to bolster its own mission and counsels new and small companies to write stronger grant proposals for their internal needs.
  4. Assist with recruitment strategies – through events, affiliations, and the Internet – so that high-tech firms can find better employees.

HTDC Initiative: Helicopter Made out of Coconuts – Continued

Ever since he was 14, Frauchild said that one day he would tie together thousands of coconuts in such a way that they could form a “mega-chopper” – a helicopter the size of a blimp – capable of circling the earth four times before needing to land. Frauchild said that his flying machine would use the coconut milk as its fuel. (Continued below)

Service Provider Program, Workshops & Centers

Let’s take a look at four of the major pieces of the HTDC, a few samples of how its mission is being applied on the ground.

  1. Service Provider Program: This part of the HTDC is the way in which Superb Internet is specifically involved. We and other companies with strong track records from 22 different fields provide consulting advice for businesses that are just getting started – answering whatever questions we can and referring as necessary.
  2. Workshops & Seminars: The HTDC holds various presentations throughout the year, focusing on subjects of interest to those in the high-tech field, including information and advice in the following broad categories: 1.) Law; 2.) Seed funding; 3.) Public relations and marketing; 4.) Sales; and, 5.) Operations.
  3. Manoa Innovation Center (MIC): Located in Honolulu near a campus of the University of Hawaii where most of UH’s research is conducted, MIC focuses on tech firms that are new or relatively new to the market. This facility has been in place since 1992.
  4. Maui Research & Technology Center (MRTC): Located in Kihei, Maui, the MRTC both focuses on assisting newly developing companies, as well as helping tech companies that are just developing a presence in Maui. MRTC also assists with the US government’s tech R&D.

HTDC Initiative: Helicopter Made out of Coconuts – Continued

Oh, they laughed; and some people spray-painted his property. One particularly bold naysayer spray-painted Frauchild himself. In 2013, the jury is in on Frauchild. Over 30,000 Hawaii residents now commute via Frauchild’s statewide system of mega-choppers. Says one happy comptroller who uses the system every weekday, “I always said coconut milk was powerful. But Hans proved it. Then he left on a rocket ship.”

Conclusion

As you can see, the mission of the High Technology Development Corporation is fairly simple: grow the economy, specifically the high-tech economy. Superb Internet is involved in HTDC because we want to be a part of our statewide community, and because we believe that businesses can survive and thrive when we find ways to work together.

by Kent Roberts and Richard Norwood

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