Honolulu to host World Indigenous Business Forum in October

Apr 17, 2015: Honolulu will host the 6th World Indigenous Business Forum on Oct. 27-29, bringing in hundreds of indigenous businesses, corporations and leaders to learn and network.

The forum is expected to draw in 700 to 800 people and have a $2 million economic impact, said Rosa Walker, president and CEO of Indigenous Leadership Development Institute, Inc. About a third of the guests are expected to be local, while the rest will come from outside Hawaii, she estimated.

Walker said the goal of the event is to engage and inspire indigenous people in business.

“Our goal is to ensure we have a place to share our best practices and the resources that we have,” she said.

The Honolulu forum has been in the works since 2012, and ILDI has been working with Peter Hanohano and Nalani Takushi of Hiilei Aloha LLC.

Takushi has attended past forums and said she was thrilled that someone had melded what is often two conversations - business and indigenous thinking - into one.

A draft agenda has been posted on their website, and topics will focus on economic development and discuss agritourism, fisheries and youth leadership, among other things.

Heads of states and nations are expected to attend.

Walker said it’s important to have the event in Hawaii because some of the same issues Hawaiians face her are similar to issues faced by indigenous people in Canada,

“Unfortunately, indigenous people are sometimes the poorest, but they have access to the greatest resources and don’t benefit from it,” she said.

Fifty scholarships will be available for small- and medium-sized businesses and youth leaders to attend.

The WIBF will be co-chaired by Enterprise Honolulu president and CEO Pono Shim and Alex Wilson, professor at the University of Saskatchewan.

Wilson said the forum is an opportunity for international businesses to meet and network, referred to as capacity building. It’s also a time in history when non-indigenous people are listening to what indigenous people have to say, she said.

Canada-based Indigenous Leadership Development Institute Inc. organized the first forum in 2010, which was held in New York City. Other host cities have included Sydney, Australia, Windhoek, Africa and Guatemala City.

Sponsors for the Honolulu forum include Enterprise Honolulu, Hiilei Aloha LLC, Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce, Native Hawaiian Hospitality Association and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. More information about the event can be found on WIBF.ca.
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