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 The Business Resource Center provides information, support and connection to services for both existing businesses and to anyone thinking of starting a business in Hawai‘i County. Two centers - located in the Department of Research and Development’s Hilo and Kona offices - are open every day that county offices are open, from 8:30 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.

How to Start a Business in Hawai‘i County - a new resource guide to successful business development

Starting a Nonprofit

The Business Resource Center receives many requests for information on starting a Nonprofit organization. The best source of information and guidance can be found online at The Foundation Center’s GRANTSPACE page for Nonprofit Startup Resources by State.  One of these resources is Harbor Compliance’s “How to Start a Nonprofit in Hawaii.”


Mobile Food Vendor Program at the Old Kona Airport - Accepting Permit Applications

Application for Mobile Food Stand Permit

County ADA Compliance Information for Vendors

West Hawai‘i Business Action Center Day

One Thursday each month, from 9:30 a.m to 3:00 p.m., a representative of the State of Hawai‘i Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (DCCA) Business Action Center (BAC) will be at our West Hawai‘i Office to assist with the following (download the Flyer and Schedule):

  • Register a business entity, trade name, or trade mark
  • File a DCCA annual report (to stay in good standing)
  • Make changes to your business’ information on record with the DCCA
  • Apply for a General Excise Tax License: Hawai‘i’s basic business license
  • Update your GET license account information
  • Obtain information on how and where to file your GET returns
  • Department of Labor and Industrial Relations
  • Get information on how to register as an employer with the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations
  • Learn how to obtain a Federal Employer ID Number (FEIN) with the Internal Revenue Service
  • Ask about other state and county agencies that issue licenses and permits
  • Find information on other government requirements pertaining to your business/industry and other resources available to small businesses

 BAC Action Day Schedule - the second Thursdays of each month

  • Thursday, February 9, 2017
  • Thursday, March 9, 2017
  • Thursday, April 13, 2017
  • Thursday, May 11, 2017
  • Thursday, June 8, 2017

State Business Services

Register a Business Online: Hawaiʻi Business Express is the quick and easy way to start a business in the state of Hawaiʻi. Use the step by step wizard process to file with multiple agencies or file a specific form directly with the State of Hawaiʻi Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs.

Get a State Tax ID Number: Hawaiʻi Tax Online is the convenient and secure way to submit a BB-1, file tax returns, make payments, view letters, manage your accounts, and conduct other common transactions online with the Hawaiʻi Department of Taxation.

State of Hawaiʻi Business Portal

FedEx® Small Business Grant Contest

Enter by March 29, 2017, for a chance to win one of these prizes:

  • One $25,000 grant, plus $7,500 in FedEx Office® print and business services;
  • One $15,000 grant, plus $5,000 in FedEx Office® print and business services;
  • Eight grants of $7,500, plus $1,000 in FedEx Office® print and business services.

For more information: 

HiSTEP - State Assistance for Exporters

The Hawai‘i State Trade Expansion Program  is a multifaceted program designed to assist Hawai‘i small businesses with their export development. The program is administered by the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism. HiSTEP has three components:

  • HiSTEP Export Readiness Program: trains and prepares Hawai‘i companies to begin or expand their export markets.
  • HiSTEP Company Assistance: assists individual Hawai‘i companies with export market development costs.
  • HiSTEP Hawai‘i Pavilions: organizes groups of Hawai‘i companies to participate in major trade shows in a Hawai‘i pavilion. The Department of Business and Economic Development and partners such as the Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture have planned to date the following Trade Shows for 2017:
    • FOODEX Japan, March 7-10, Tokyo, Japan
    • Natural Products Expo West, March 9-12, 2017, Anaheim, CA
    • International Food and Ingredients Show, May 2017, Tokyo Japan
    • Outdoor Retailer Summer Market, August 2017, Salt Lake City, UT
    • Tokyo International Gift Fair, September 6-8, 2017, Tokyo, Japan

For more information on all HiSTEP programs including applications please visit the HiSTEP website at:

Download flyer here.

SBDC’s Upcoming Workshops

Small Business Development Center Workshops in East Hawai’i: Download brochure.

How to Start a Small Business: Learn about entrepreneurship, key ingredients for business success, steps for starting a business, and the services offered by the Small Business Development Center. Registration required.

  • Dates and times: Thursday, March 16, 2017, from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
  • Location: Hawai’i Community College, 1175 Manono Street, Building 379A-6A, Hilo
  • Fee: $25.00
  • Register at:

Financing for Your Small Business: A panel discussion on small business financing options. Speakers will include representatives from various funding agencies and financial institutions. Get your funding questions answered. Registration requires. This workshop is free.

  • Date and time: Wednesday, March 22, 2017, from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
  • Location:  Hawai’i Community College, 1175 Manono Street, Building 379-1 Kaneikeao Room, Hilo
  • Fee: Free
  • Register at

Hawai‘i County Entrepreneurship Program - Second Cohort, January - April, 2017

Cohort II is now underway and we are no longer accepting applications. The program is designed for anyone starting or running their business in Hawai‘i County, and inlcudes multiple courses on entrepreneurship and the critical skills required to run a successful small business. Download the Hawai‘i County Entrepreneurship Program Application and Program Guidlines.


About Enterprise Zones - The Enterprise Zone program is a state-county partnership that has been growing job opportunities on Hawai‘i Island for over 20 years by incentivizing business investment in areas with low income or high unemployment. 

  • Nearly 300 Hawai‘i Island businesses have participated in the Enterprise Zone program since 1994. 
  • In 2013, Enterprise Zone participating companies on Hawai‘i Island accounted for over $116 million in revenue and over 600 jobs.

The Enterprise Zone is an area within which businesses engaged in eligible activities can receive state and county tax incentives, provided they meet job growth goals (or revenue goals for agriculture businesses).

Businesses in an Enterprise Zone can participate in the program for seven years (ten for agriculture or manufacturing businesses).

Participating businesses are eligible for 100% exemption from state wholesale general excise tax (.5%), 20-80% non-refundable credit on state income tax, and a non-refundable state tax credit for the cost of unemployment insurance premiums. Businesses are also eligible for a three-year exemption from any increase in county property taxes resulting from new construction.

Enterprise Zone eligible activities include farming, ranching, agricultural processing, and certain kinds of high tech businesses.

The Enterprise Zone designation does not supersede any county zoning, state land use designation, building regulations, or any other regulations applicable to business operations.

Enterprise Zone Program

Foreign Trade Program 

The Hawai’i Foreign-Trade Zone No. 9 Program was created by the federal government to facilitate trade and increase the global competitiveness of U.S.-based companies.  The Foreign-Trade Zone (FTZ) is an area within the United States that the government considers outside the country, or at least, outside of U.S. Customs territory and enables certain types of merchandise to be imported into the Zone without going through formal Customs entry procedures or paying import duties.  In Hawai’i County there are designated FTZ’s in Hilo and at NELHA. 

IRS Tax Calendar for Business and the Self-Employed


Federal Website:

State of Hawai‘i Website

Starting a business can be a challenging but rewarding endeavor. Planning for success is one of the best ways to ensure business profitability. Before you establish your business, make sure you’ve considered the following:

  • Name Your Company - Your company name is the first impression you will make on potential clients or customers.
  • Write a Business Plan - A well written business plan shows potential investors you’re serious and have the potential to succeed. .
  • Finance the Business - Secure start-up and some operating capital.
  • Select a Location – The right location is important to the success of your business.  It is important to consider accessibility, size, and your budget
  • Establish your Business – Decide which business entity type meets your needs and acquire the appropriate licenses to operate your business.