Leader in Innovation to speak at Maui TechOhana
Omar Sultan is an investor, mentor, and community builder who believes entrepreneurship and innovation is key to shaping the world’s future for the better. Maui Economic Development Board welcomes Omar as our guest speaker at the next virtual Maui TechOhana on Wednesday, July 27 at 5 pm to talk story about his experiences as a champion of innovation in Hawaii.
An internationally recognized thought leader in building innovation communities through entrepreneurship and education, Omar is the co-founder and managing partner of Sultan Ventures, a boutique venture investment firm, and its nationally recognized, award-winning XLR8® programs including: XLR8UH®, ranked as one of the top 30 accelerators in the USA; XLR8HI®, Hawaii’s Entrepreneurship Center; and recently XLR8YOUTH, a youth accelerator program.
Named one of Hawaii Business Magazine’s 20 for the next 20 and Pacific Business News’ Forty under 40, Omar, along with his brother Tarik, has been recognized as the Hawaii Venture Capital Association’s Investors of the Year, and by the U.S. Small Business Administration as the State of Hawaii Small Business Advocates for Innovation. For over a decade Sultan Ventures has driven innovation forward by providing onramps to entrepreneurship and championing visionary entrepreneurs who are improving the way we live and work.
“Our team is deeply passionate about building a robust innovation and knowledge-based ecosystem across the islands that utilizes emerging technologies but is always grounded in ALOHA”, Omar observes. “Working with trusted partners and the community to build a secure future for our residents, especially our keiki, provides a stronger, healthier foundation for diversified, high wage, high growth careers and business opportunities.”
In 2020, as a direct response to the economic hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Omar architected and helped run a state-funded program (Aloha Connects Innovation) to assist displaced workers affected by COVID-19 to get up-skilled, re-skilled, and cross-skilled in more resilient emerging industries and innovation sectors. The program provided employment and healthcare for individuals, converting the loss of jobs into potential new career opportunities for Hawaii residents, while meaningfully diversifying and strengthening Hawai‘i’s economy. Reaching over 3,000 people, the program employed more than 600 individuals at over 130 companies across the State, including: Hawaii Island, Kauai, Lanai, Maui, Molokai, Niihau, and Oahu.
Omar reflects, “I’ve always believed that prosperity must be a shared value— a core concept in the design and intention behind ACI. It took a village (across multiple islands) to make ACI work. Successful innovation is driven by connection (not individuals or entities working solo) and ACI is a testament to the power of our community to connect and create exponential positive change for Hawaii. ACI is anchored by the values of ALOHA (Akahai, Lokahi, ‘Olu‘olu, Ha‘aha‘a, and Ahonui) as taught by the late Uncle Pono Shim, a dear friend and mentor, who also believed we need everyone’s gifts to see abundance in Hawaii, because a single entity cannot do the work of a community.
Supported by the County of Maui and the Hawaii Technology Development Corporation, Maui TechOhana events provide anyone interested in Maui’s County’s tech industry with unique learning experiences and informal networking opportunities. This meeting will be virtual and will take advantage of breakout rooms to encourage information sharing and social interaction amongst the participants.
“MEDB seeks to provide our local entrepreneurs and small business owners the practical knowledge, skills and resources they need to aim high and succeed,” said Frank De Rego, Jr., Director of Business Development Projects for MEDB. “We at MEDB are honored to have Omar Sultan join us and thank him for being a valued partner in developing our tech innovation sector.”
Maui TechOhana is on July 27 at 5:00 pm via Zoom. Registration is necessary and places are limited.