OHA issues first Hua Kanu business loans of 2017
By Sterling Wong, Ka Wai Ola
The Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) in March issued two Hua Kanu business loans, totaling $450,000, to Reliant Trucking Inc. and Goldwings Supply Service Inc., making the two Native Hawaiian-owned businesses the first recipients of OHA’s larger loan product for the year.
“Native Hawaiian business owners often face challenges because they have difficulty accessing conventional financing options,” said Kamana‘opono Crabbe, OHA’s Chief Executive Officer and Ka Pouhana. “OHA’s loan products are intended to help level the playing field for Native Hawaiian entrepreneurs with the overall goal of increasing economic self-sufficiency for our community. We also want to extend a warm mahalo to First Foundation Bank for partnering with OHA to help uplift our lāhui.”
Hua Kanu loans, which are serviced through First Foundation Bank, are available to highly qualified and established Native Hawaiian business owners. Under the program, applicants are eligible for loans up to $1 million. Hua Kanu interest rates can go as low as four percent with loan terms up to seven years with the possibility of amortizing the loan over 14 years.
OHA has now disbursed eight Hua Kanu loans, totaling approximately $2.236 million, since the program’s inception in 2012.
Native Hawaiian business owners often face challenges because they have difficulty accessing conventional financing options. OHA’s loan products are intended to help level the playing field for Native Hawaiian entrepreneurs with the overall goal of increasing economic self-sufficiency for our community.”
— Lisa Victor, OHA’s Chief Operating Officer
Bernard Kea started Reliant Trucking Inc. in 2011, and today owns eight vehicles and two trailers, and employs six individuals, nearly all of whom are Native Hawaiian. He said that his $150,000 Hua Kanu loan will help consolidate his high interest loans and provide working capital to assist in expanding his operations to Hilo, where he will be shipping two trucks and hiring two new drivers for a two-year project.
“I’m so grateful to OHA,” Kea said. “The Hua Kanu loan is an awesome product. It puts us in a much greater financial position and gives us the opportunity to grow. How do you pass that up?”
Established in 1976, Goldwings Supply Service Inc. is a second-generation, women-owned small business. The company primarily services the public sector, offering technical solutions in the aviation, roadways, marine and renewables fields. Historically providing airfield operational support and aircraft parts and equipment, Goldwings expanded to pavement maintenance and solar powered niche solutions over the past 15 years. Goldwings President Lia Young Hunt said their $300,000 Hua Kanu loan will provide the necessary capital to expand their business to pursue more government projects and assist with their growth in the private, domestic and global marketplaces.
“The Hua Kanu loan program is an incredible financial product, granting crucial working capital to flourishing Native Hawaiian companies,” said Hunt. “We are thrilled to have been selected and look forward to growing our business and representing the Native Hawaiian community on a global scale”
Hua Kanu loans are one of the products offered through the Native Hawaiian Revolving Loan Fund (NHRLF), which was originally funded through the federal Administration of Native Americans and administered by OHA. NHRLF’s other loan product is the Mälama Loan, which provides loans up to $100,000 to Native Hawaiian beneficiaries to improve a home; start or expand a business; or pay for educational expenses.
To learn more about OHA’s loan products, visit loans.oha.org or call (808) 594-1924.