Small businesses are the backbone of Kauai’s economy. As an Events and Activities Committee member of the Kauai Chamber of Commerce, I had the honor of attending and assisting at the Small Business Awards hosted by the Kauai Chamber of Commerce at Kauai Coffee Company on April 12, 2012.

Kauai SBA Awards Ceremony

Kauai Coffee Company Hosted the Kauai SBA Awards Ceremony

The ceremony recognized business owners around Kauai that have striven for excellence in their area of expertise. Some of the awardees included Sweet Marie’s Hawaii, Inc. owner, Marie Cassel, who was awarded the Small Business Person of the Year. The Home-Based Business Champion of the Year was awarded to Liz Ronaldson, owner of Growing Greens Nursery, and the Minority Small Business Champion of the Year was awarded to Patricia Griffin, president of the Lihue Business Association.  Laura Cristobal, owner of Salty Wahine Gourmet Hawaiian Sea Salts, was named Exporter of the Year, and Jeni Kaohelauli’i, owner of Work It Out in Kapaa, was awarded Young Entrepreneur of the Year. The Carswell family was also awarded and recognized as the Family-Owned Business of the Year. They are the owners of Princeville Ranch Adventures. Also recognized at the event was Lesther Calipjo, owner of Kauai Foreign Cars and Calipjo Properties, as a Filipino Entrepreneur of the year nominee by the Hawaii Filipino Chamber of Commerce.

The awardees of this event prove that with passion, good strategic planning, customer service and pride in their work, businesses in any economy have the ability to succeed. Congratulations to this year’s awardees. I have nothing but admiration for what you folks have done for the locals and visitors of Kauai. Mahalo!

About the Author

Gwyneth Calipjo ,


Born and raised on Kauai, Gwyneth attended high school at Mid Pacific Institute on Oahu. After graduating, she continued her education in the California Bay Area, at the prestigious Santa Clara University, where she majored in Marketing and minored in Economics. Upon graduating from Santa Clara she was very excited to return home to Kauai. She missed exploring Kauai’s beauty, the Aloha spirit and of course her family. Family is important to Gwyneth as she often assists her father in running his auto body collision repair shop and helps him manage his property. Gwyneth is an active member of the Events & Activities committee for the Kauai Chamber of Commerce.

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