On Tuesday, a Big Island innovation lab and coworking space will officially become a part of a statewide family.
Although I was born and raised on Oahu, I have a deep affection for Hilo. It’s where I met my wife, while studying (well, “studying”) at UH Hilo, and it’s a place I take every opportunity to visit. My mother’s family being from the Big Island, I like to say that I’m a Big Island boy at heart.
One of the most exciting developments in East Hawaii, which sadly came long after I’d left that sleepy town, is its burgeoning tech and startup scene. And that scene has found a home at Hawaii TechWorks, founded by Tony Marzi. Hawaii TechWorks hosts regular meetups, a coworking space (DesignLab), and organizes events (including the first “Demo Day” in May (co-organized with the Hawaii Tech Exchange).
While relatively new, Hawaii TechWorks is already a solid hub around which great things can happen, allowing the Big Island to be well represented alongside all the other innovation and creation taking place in the Aloha State.
On Tuesday, Hawaii TechWorks will formally join forces with the High Technology Development Corporation (HTDC), a state agency dedicated to foster Hawaii’s tech industry.
“It’s about our compatible and very much aligned vision — similar mission, similar activities,” Marzi said on yesterday’s Bytemarks Cafe.
“Hawaii TechWorks has very similar interests to HTDC, so we thought the partnership would be perfect,” echoed HTDC program specialist Sandi Kanemori in an email. “Basically we will be using Hawaii TechWorks as a hub and to extend our services to Hawaii Island.”
Marzi noted that Hawaii TechWorks regularly livestreams and posts videos of its events online for everyone’s benefit, and that he plans to help the HTDC broadcast its own events so Hawaii Island residents can participate.
“Some of the things we are looking to do is to share valued mentor resources and topic experts to assist small companies through live streaming of events and workshops, an area that we’ve been trying to develop as it’s an easy way to give the events further reach and impact for start-ups across the state,” Kanemori explained. “We recognize that Hawaii TechWorks has already been doing an excellent job in this area.”
In addition, the partnership will give island-hopping entrepreneurs more places to do business.
“We want to create a network between our facilities so that our clients may use the coworking space at Hawaii TechWorks, Manoa Innovation Center and the Maui Research and Technology Center, should they travel between islands and need a place to land for a bit,” Kanemori said.
The partnership will be sealed with the signing of an agreement during the monthly TechTuesday meetup on July 29. HTDC CEO Robbie Melton will be on hand for the occasion. And yes, it will be livestreamed.