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UH student wins fifth-annual Global Student Entrepreneur Awards statewide qualifier

The Entrepreneurs’ Organization Hawaii (EO Hawaii) has named UH engineering student Austin Yoshino the winner of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization Hawaii (EO Hawaii) fifth-annual qualifier GSEA competition.

The student business competition, which included a written application and presentation to a panel of judges, was held Oct. 24, 2019, at the Kahala Hotel & Resort. Four finalists were chosen to present to an audience that included business and community leaders.

Yoshino, who won for his company Manaola Innovations, Inc., is an undergraduate student at the University of Hawaii, Manoa, majoring in mechanical engineering. Manaola was founded in dedication to Yoshino’s younger brother, who has cerebral palsy. The company is developing products including a technologically enhanced walking assistant device.

“We are a medical tech startup aiming to develop disruptive and innovative products to ‘power a higher quality of life,’” said Yoshino, who recently turned down a lucrative job offer in technical sales to grow the company. “I am extremely excited for the future.”

Yoshino will present during the U.S. national competition in Redwood City, Calif., from Feb. 10-12, 2020. The competition will coincide with the annual global Startup Grind Conference. Each state winner receives complimentary access to attend the conference as part of their prize package.

The Hawaii prize package is valued at more than $5,000, including a Microsoft Surface Pro tablet and full scholarship for the 8-week Dale Carnegie flagship course; a Birkman Assessment and Brief by Simon Leadership Group; and a life-planning session with BCR Hawaii.

The national champion will attend the GSEA Finals in Johannesburg, South Africa, in spring 2020 to compete with 50 of the world’s top student entrepreneurs and have a chance to win a prize package valued at more than $40,000.

“The judging panel was impressed by the vision and drive behind Manaola, and we see strong potential for its products to positively impact the lives of people with a range of medical conditions,” said Matt Heim, president of EO Hawaii. “We look forward to the national competition, and share our most heartfelt mahalo to all of our participating EO Hawaii members and student finalists.”

This year’s finalists also included Nathan Bek of GREEN DREAM, a University of Hawaii, Manoa student, Samuel Mangakahia of HAMIORA, a Brigham Young University, Hawaii student, and Jillian Schafer of SelfPause, a Brigham Young University, Hawaii student.

Applicants in the competition must be enrolled as an undergraduate or graduate student a college or university, and also be primarily responsible for the operation of a for-profit or revenue-generating business for at least six consecutive months. The age cap for participation is 30 years old.

Hawaii National Bank, as part of its ongoing support of Hawaii entrepreneurs, is the presenting sponsor of the event. The bank offers tailored banking services and financing programs for locally owned businesses and shares advice from Hawaii entrepreneurs at entrepreneurs.hawaiinational.com.

The Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) is a global, peer-to-peer network of more than 13,000 influential business owners with 181 chapters in 57 countries. Founded in 1987, EO helps leading entrepreneurs learn and grow through peer-to-peer learning, once-in-a-lifetime experiences, and connections to experts.

Founded in 1999, EO Hawaii is a close group of entrepreneurs in a wide variety of industries that understand what it means to do business in Hawaii, and be the bridge between the U.S. and Asia-Pacific. Learn more at www.EOHawaii.org.