Hawaii is a stunning destination that has been drawing in tourists for many years, thanks to its natural beauty and the Aloha spirit. The introduction of commercial jet travel in the 1960s made it possible for millions of people to visit the islands, and this was made possible by a major innovation - large passenger planes. In the past, Hawaii had tried something similar with Act 221, but this was before there were reliable accelerators that could filter out startups and give them a strong base for funding. The ultimate goal is to reconstruct the university's infrastructure and encourage the formation of small businesses based on technological advances from the University of Hawaii.
Regional innovation clusters are “geographical concentrations of companies and industries that do business with each other and have common needs for talent, technology, and infrastructure”. The academic, government and business leaders who attended the conference acknowledged that Hawaii is on the brink of rapid growth in its innovation economy, and they expressed their willingness to collaborate to overcome the challenges facing this state. Hawaii has a great advantage in having the Hawaii Open Supercomputing Center, a Department of Defense supercomputing resource center managed by the University of Hawaii. This has been recognized nationally with awards from the Federal Small Business Administration and the Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration.
Science-based innovation is seen as driving job creation, economic growth, and competitiveness, so policymakers around the world are developing their own innovation strategies. Inside Startup Paradise is a monthly column that looks at how government and companies can work together to build an innovation economy on the islands. It is important to take advantage of Hawaii's abundant natural assets such as sunlight and wind, clean ocean water, geothermal energy sources, and its mountain peaks which are home to some of the world's top astronomical sites. The University of Hawaii and Governor Neil Abercrombie share many views on how best to strengthen the state's innovation capabilities.
Venture capital investors such as those from Kamehameha schools and unions do not invest in Hawaii itself but in other parts of the continent. Federal partnership programs such as the Small Business Innovative Research Program (SBIR) can also play an important role. The National Research Council has published an assessment of this program which highlights its potential for job creation, economic growth, and competitiveness. Funding accelerators is essential for constructing a solid foundation for an innovation economy, but it is not enough to sustain local innovation in the long term. To achieve this, it is necessary to create a capacity for innovation and technology transfer for the 21st century with the support of a multi-billion dollar research industry for Hawaii.