MEDB workshop attendees receive tips on how to strengthen their financial muscles

Feb 10, 2017

Entrepreneurs and small business owners who were interested in learning how to run a business more profitably and avoid the mistakes that cause businesses to fail were drawn to Maui Economic Development Board’s (MEDB) first workshop of their Startup Weekend Maui Series, “Pinching Your Pennies: Finance for Entrepreneurs.” Held on February 9th at the MEDB Malcolm Center in Kihei, attendees took away some helpful tips and hands-on exercises that they can apply to their own business.

There’s method to the madness when it comes to running a business and a key component is understanding one’s financials,” said workshop presenter Gerry Smith, MEDB’s Director of Business Development. “This includes watching the bottom line. Before a company can earn a profit, it must generate enough revenue to cover startup costs, fixed costs and variable costs associated with selling one’s goods or services.

Among the topics that were covered during the workshop were:

  • How much does your product REALLY cost to make?
  • How much should your product sell for?
  • What is the difference between wholesale and retail price?
  • What is break-even analysis?
  • What is cash flow and why is it so important?
  • What are fixed versus variable costs?

While workshop attendees varied in their business experience, they all shared one thing in common – they all sought ways to strengthen their financial muscles.
Sandra Scarborough of Hawaiian Eye Wear attended the workshop to help her firm get their arms around costs. “We wanted to get a better understanding of cost versus what we are selling our products for both retail and wholesale.  Having a price point that makes sense for us will definitely help our bottom line.”
Ian Elumba, co-founder of Kohola Brewery also concurred that a strong financial awareness from the start builds a strong, growing business.  “We’re a year-old business and I wanted to learn more about profits, costs and the simple things to run a business.” Elumba’s company manufactures and brews local beers in Lahaina.

Through its Startup Weekend Maui Series MEDB supports fledgling startups and existing businesses chart a pathway to success,” observed Frank De Rego Jr, Director of Business Development Projects at Maui Economic Development Board. “We look forward to our next event – Business Model Canvas & Lean Startup Overview. These events are a great way to build your business skills and prepare for Startup Weekend Maui, May 19-21, 2017.

MEDB’s next workshop, “Business Model Canvas & Lean Startup Overview,” will be held at the Malcolm Center on February 15 from 5 to 8 p.m. The business model canvas is an important tool that people can use to help bring clarity to the question, “How will my business succeed?” During this hands-on workshop led by Sultan Ventures and XLR8UH, participants will learn about the business model canvas and can immediately apply their knowledge. The cost is $25 per person per workshop. Dinner will be provided.
To register, visit
Startup Weekend is part of a global grass-roots movement of active and empowered entrepreneurs with various skill sets who are determined to learn the basics of founding startups and launching successful ventures.
Workshops are sponsored by the County of Maui Mayor’s Office of Economic Development, Sultan Ventures and XLR8UH.