New this year is the Lifetime Achievement award which honors an entrepreneur's indelible impact on startup paradise. The award recognizes the entrepreneur's achievements, innovations, and dedication, symbolizing the epitome of entrepreneurial excellence. The recipient has not only shaped their industry, but has also inspired future generations of entrepreneurs.
Our inaugural 2024 Lifetime Achievement honoree is Nakeʻu Awai of Nakeʻu Awai Designs. At 85, Awai stands as the visionary pioneer who with humble grace, was the first Native Hawaiian designer to use native and indigenous floral in prints. As the creator of the first muʻumuʻu and holokū available for commercial purchase, Awai opened the doors of Hawaiian fashion to the masses. For five decades, his unwavering creative spirit and determination have forged a path for succeeding local designers.