The voice of Native Hawaiian business. In the last few years, the Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce (NHCC) has worked hard to live up to this promise. COVID-19 made small business in Hawaiʻi even harder to do. COVID-19 stretched resources for the small business owner even thinner. COVID-19 made thriving in Hawaiʻi for Hawaiians seem even more impossible.
COVID-19 also brought opportunities. Opportunities for us to look inward – to recalibrate, realign and refocus!
Over the last two years, we reached out to our members, worked with other Hawaiian-serving organizations and connected with leaders and lawmakers at all levels. We grew our network, stepped up engagement and communications, and refocused our work to create data-informed opportunities for our members and the broader Hawaiian business community. What’s next? Policy and Advocacy!
The chamber is building momentum towards a consistent and persistent policy and advocacy cadence to add to our ability to be the voice of Native Hawaiian business. What does this mean? We start with education.
In late November we hosted two legislative 101 sessions, one on the legislative process and the other on the state budget. We will host a number of legislative talk-story sessions to discuss issues and provide advocacy resources and opportunities. The first of these will happen in January, prior to the opening day of the state legislature.
We are working with Kamehameha Schools, the Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs, the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs to support our ʻōpio in leading our lāhui to the future we want to see. Through collaborations like Kaleo o Nā ʻŌpio (KONO), multigenerational conversations and work are normalized across sectors. KONO will be hosting its own set of talk-story sessions during the legislative session. Look for KONO information on their website, www.kaleoonaopio.org, or catch up with them on social media @opiopowered.
The NHCC will be sending out a survey soon to gauge current priorities and interest. This data will contribute to focusing our efforts for the 2022 legislative session. Sharing data and information remains a priority. We will continue to engage our members and the broader Native Hawaiian business community through consistent communications, meetings and events and networking opportunities. Join us in the work ahead by signing up as a member or joining our communications list at our website, www.nativehawaiianchamberofcommerce.org, or on social media @nativehawaiianchamberofcommerce @nhccoahu.
It’s time for action. COVID-19 has been a huge disruptor, not just for business but for our families. But we’re still here. We’re here because we choose to focus on opportunities and not dwell on challenges.
It’s time to create the long-lasting change we’ve all talked about; to pivot to the economic future we want for Hawaiʻi, and the thriving future we know we need. The chamber is committed to doing its part and living up to our promise to be the voice of Native Hawaiian Business.