Purple Mai’a Foundation

Hawaiʻi FoundHer - By Purple Mai’a

Hawaiʻi, Focus on womxn entrepreneurs thru the first and only NHPI/AAPI serving business accelerator

About the Organization:

Over the last 5 years the Purple Maiʻa Foundation (PMF) has successfully run a number of statewide entrepreneurship and innovation programs that have empowered local, underserved, Native Hawaiian founders to generate over 50 new ideas and a dozen companies.  They plan on using Gold Futures Challenge funds to specifically support their Hawaii FoundHer program, which is an accelerator program tailored specifically to the needs of Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, and/or Asian women and mothers starting businesses in five core markets of Hawaiʻi’s economy: Tech, Fashion, Health & Wellness, Food System/Restaurants, and Keiki/Education.

organizational budget

2 million - 3 million

existence for

6-10 years

The Issue:

Women-led startups receive less than 2-3% of VC funding each year. Over the past decade, Latinx women-led startups raised only 0.32 percent; black women raised .0006 percent. ​Data for Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, Asian and multiracial women does not seem available.

Nationwide studies show that women are the drivers of small business growth in the United States. As of 2019, 13 million women-owned businesses accounted for 42% of all businesses in the US, employing 9 million people and generating $1.9 trillion in revenue. Additional studies show investments in companies with female founders performed better than those with all-male founders. Businesses founded by women deliver 2x per dollar invested as those founded by men.

Women carry multiple responsibilities: raising children, maintaining homes, and pursuing careers. In Hawaiʻi, it is common for NHAAPI households to be multigenerational where women are caretakers of both children and elders. The cost of living and care is high, and the child and eldercare system is informal. This is why an unconstrained care stipend was a non-negotiable element of our program.

The Solution:

Hawaiʻi FoundHer is the first and only early-stage accelerator supporting NHAAPI women, providing both direct funding and mentorship. Our program is targeted toward women entrepreneurs looking to scale their early-stage businesses, with a focus on businesses that are at least 50% owned by Native Hawaiian and AAPI women. FoundHer works with businesses in the areas of technology, fashion, health & wellness, food systems, and keiki (children) & education—industries with clear, direct ties to the community.

FoundHer is specifically designed for the needs of NHAAPI women in Hawaiʻi, based upon findings from participants in the Purple Prize, and from the experience our AAPI program founders had as they grew their businesses and careers. When designing FoundHer, we took the time to interview small business owners and program stakeholders, identifying the resources that NHAAPI women need most.

FoundHer is a six-month business accelerator program. We provide non-dilutive grant capital and flexible family care stipends, designed for the multigenerational, informal care system in Hawaiʻi. We knew we had to include family care as a key component of the program, as existing accelerators do not support women holistically. We develop a bespoke business development curriculum tailored to the needs of the cohort. Experts lead workshops on topics including marketing, e-commerce, HR, fundraising, and more.

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