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UH-PBCP sponsored programs again win top national awards


Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The University of Hawaii Pacific Business Center Program (PBCP) won top national awards for two of its Multi-Purpose Business Incubator project (MPBI) partners at the University Economic Development Association’s [UEDA] 2022 Awards of Excellence National Conference last month in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

The PBCP project submission titled, “Together We Can Go Far: Pacific Farmer Organizations as Drivers of Economic Development”, in partnership with the Pacific Farmer Organizations won the national award placing first among exemplary national finalists in the Place Category.

In a statement issued the Pacific Farmer Organizations’ executive director, Kyle Stice, with the encouragement of PBCP director, Papalii Dr. Tusi Avegalio, received the national award on behalf of the University of Hawaii and of Oceania.

The Awards of Excellence are given in recognition for outstanding economic development initiatives, research, or accomplishments. Proposals are submitted to the Awards of Excellence committee who choose the finalists.

Awards of Excellence participants, make-up a prestigious group of global economic development innovators nationally.

The summit brings together national experts in leveraging college and university resources for greater economic development and community impact. These domain experts work within higher education, the private sector, economic development organizations, government agencies, and research centers.

According to the statement, the PBCP project that garnered the runner up national award in the Talent category was the PBCP project partner, Boom! Inc. submission titled, ‘Developing a Digital Economy in Yap’.

 “Boom! Inc. is a telecommunications company in Yap State, Federated States of Micronesia, which is headed by technology entrepreneur and indigenous Yapese, Mr. Lubuw Falanruw.

Having to depart prior to the UEDA announcements at the Santa Fe national conference, Mr. Lubuw was presented the UEDA certificate of Excellence Award by University of Hawaii President Dr. David Lassner a week later at the PBCP jointly sponsored Stars of Oceania and Breadfruit Summit at the Hawaii Convention Center.

According to Director Stice, “Farmer Organizations are leading some incredible initiatives in the Pacific that are resulting in real impacts and economic development in the agriculture sector.” He continued, “It’s a remarkable achievement to be selected from amongst university programs around the United States.

 “It’s not so much about acknowledging our organization, as it is about validating the model of farmer organizations as drivers of economic development. Academia and development partners are recognizing the role of farmer organizations in addressing the big issues of food security and climate change adaptation.”

Stice was the former executive director of the Pacific Islands Farmers Organization Network (PIFON), based in Nadi, Fiji whose collaboration with Papali'i Dr. Tusi at UH established a partnership under the PBCP Multi-Purpose Business Incubator project in 2019.

Papali'i said, “..Promoting the University of Hawaii, Hawaii State, US Island Territories, Oceania, global islands and geo-insular communities with holistic solutions that weave traditional wisdom with modern science and technology is best done through competitive awards of recognition at the highest levels.

 “It brings these areas disparaged by the uninformed as ‘insular crumbs’ into the national conversation when salient among national peers in a competitive forum.

“Both Pacific centric national awards do just that by weaving the best of both worlds with a compelling influence for change to raise the common good with balance, harmony and ability...”.

PBCP has placed five finalists consecutively from 2019 to 2022 with two named national winners, making it one of the most award-winning US Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration – University Center programs in the nation.

Past award-winning projects have come from diverse disciplines with measurable results that have transcended economic development through their originality, scalability, and applicability in solving the unique and significant economic development challenges facing regions and communities today.