• 10 Million in HTDC Innovation Grants: Hawaii’s PPE Supply Chain Increase

    May 14, 2021
    May 13, 2021-----Just 4 months after the final grants were awarded by HTDC’s Innovate Hawaii, the impact on manufacturing and the PPE supply chain across our State is indicating major increases in all sectors of PPE.

    The program, established by Hawaii State Legislators with assistance from HTDC, DBEDT and the Hawaii Small Business Development Center (SBDC), provided grants to small businesses with 50 employees or less in Hawaii.  $10 million of Federal CARES Act funds were provided by the Hawaii State legislature to 36 small businesses across Hawaii for PPE manufacturing to help establish a local supply chain of cleaning supplies and personal protective equipment (PPE) in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency.  Grant awards ranged between $10,000 to $500,000.00.

    According to HTDC’s Acting Director Len Higashi, “The purpose of the grant was to help keep people safe.  The byproduct was a major boost to our local economic recovery. The grant program was successful in accomplishing both by providing immediate assistance to small businesses across Hawaii to aid in their manufacturing capacities of PPE and cleaning supplies. With these 36 companies receiving the PPE grants, Hawaii is now producing our own PPE supplies to meet our continuing local demand. These companies were able to rehire employees and, in some cases, hire more, which supports our local economy all the way around.”

    From the onset of the pandemic, front line workers and essential workers throughout the world experienced a severe shortage of available cleaning supplies and PPE. So, where are we at today as a state with our PPE Supply Chain here in Hawaii? Today we have a healthy supply in Hawaii of PPE and necessary cleaning supplies because of this grant.  Jobs were saved and created, and our overall PPE capacity increased tremendously.

    1.      Grants were provided to all counties in Hawaii, See Chart #4

    2.      The grant increased Full-Time, Part-Time Employees as well as provided new jobs and saved many jobs, See Chart #3

    3.      PPE Daily Capacity Before & After, See Chart #1

    4.      Number of Companies producing various PPE See Chart #2

    The grants provided vitally important support for local companies on all islands. Based on Kauai, longtime Kama’aina company Kauai Kookie utilized the grant to pivot to the production of much needed cloth Face Masks for their small community. In the early stages of the pandemic, they gave out FREE Kauai Kookies to their patrons wearing face masks.

    According to Ann Hashisaka, one of Kauai Kookies owners, “Our pivot was to bring in a consultant to teach our existing bakery employees necessary sewing skills so they could immediately begin mask making which helped to keep all of our employees on staff.” And, she added, “As a manufacturer, our processes allow us to create what our customers need, whether it is a kookie or a mask.  We make all our products including our newest masks with Aloha. And we say Mahalo to our customers and to HTDC for their support!”.  Here is a short manufacturing day video with information on their successful COVID pivot: https://youtu.be/M8ixN-tHLXo


    HTCD PPE Supply Chain Impact
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