A new survey by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and several chambers of commerce found 64% of Native Hawaiian businesses lost revenue in the first quarter of 2020 compared to the same time last year.
The median amount of money lost was $10,000. But the survey of more than 1,000 business owners found Native Hawaiian-owned businesses are far less dependent on tourism than non-Native Hawaiian owned businesses, which is good news given the uncertainty about when that industry will be back up and running.
The survey was conducted by OHA in partnership with the Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce, the Hawaii Island Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce, the Kauai Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce, and the Maui Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce, according to a press release Friday. The organizations surveyed 1,044 business owners, 84% of whom were at least partially owned by Native Hawaiians.
Native Hawaiian businesses who responded to the survey said they are most in need of capital grants, particularly in Maui County. About half said they’d lost customers and depleted their cash reserves.
“As expected, the report tells the story of a fairly grim past few months for Native Hawaiian businesses,” the agency’s chief executive officer Sylvia Hussey said in a press release. “But the data also provides signs of hope – that Hawaiʻi’s indigenous entrepreneurs can not only survive with additional philanthropic and governmental support but can also be a valuable component in revitalizing our local economy.”
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