First presentation of “Women in Business Seminar Series” Focuses on Opening New Doors of Opportunity


April 3, 2021 at 11:01 a.m. HST
* Updated April 4, 4:03 p.m.

Over 600 people attended a webinar hosted by the Maui Economic Development Council in partnership with the Entrepreneurial Women of Color Business Center of YWCA Oʻahu’s Minority Business Development Agency. The March 24 event kicked off their Women in Business seminar series.

This informative webinar titled “Achieving SBA Certification as a Small Woman-Owned Business: Opening New Doors of Opportunity,” featured the presenters: Leslie Wilkin, President and CEO of MEDB; Shan Wirt, Director of the Entrepreneurial Women of Color Business Center at YWCA Oahu Minority Business Development Agency; Gary Albitz, business consultant for MEDB; and Wayne Wong, Maui Small Business Development Center.

According to Wilkins, “We chose the timing of our first webinar to celebrate Women’s History Month. According to the State of Hawaiʻi Data Book 2019, over 44,000 women-owned businesses in Hawaiʻi generate $ 7 million annually – 47% of women-owned businesses nationwide are women of color. Our panelists and their teams represent programs, technical assistance, first-hand experience, and coaching expertise available to help Hawaii entrepreneurs become certified as a SBA Woman-Owned Small Business. They are happy to share a number of resources to grow their business. “

“Women have made tremendous strides in contributing to our state’s workforce and economy,” said Wirt. “Today, there are many opportunities for small businesses owned by minority women and we are here to help level the playing field.”

Here are some of the opportunities and resources shared at the March 24 meetinge Seminar on Women in Business:

  • The Maui Economic Development Board (MEDB) offers a number of experienced consultants who can coach and guide businesses through all stages. Visit
  • The MBDA Enterprising Women of Color Business Center at YWCA Oahu supports minority women-owned businesses with free financial and business advice, workshops, and other resources. Visit
  • MBDA EWOC Certification Course (Cohort 3) – This 10-week certification aims to expand contracting opportunities for local entrepreneurs. The courses will cover the benefits and application processes of major federal government and national business certification programs. Cohort 3 applications available from May 10, 2021. Call 808-695-2627 or visit
  • The SBA Women’s Business Center program helps women overcome lingering barriers to success such as the Patsy T. Mink Center for Business & Leadership in Hawaii. Visit
  • Maui County and the State of Hawaii both have special programs for WO / MO / VO / DO. Visit the State of Hawaii Price and Advisory Data System (HANDS) website
  • Over 2,400 grants are available on the US government website
  • Small Business Innovation / Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR / STTR) research provides opportunities for socially and economically disadvantaged small businesses (SDBs) and women-owned small businesses (WOSBs). Visit
  • The Office of Solar Energy Technologies (SETO) funds early-stage research and development in three technology areas: photovoltaics (PV), solar thermal concentration (CSP) and systems integration with the aim of improving accessibility, reliability and national benefits. solar technologies on the grid. Visit

A full list of opportunities and resources shared during the Women in Business Seminar Kickoff Presentation is available online.

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