Businesses will learn strategies during conference

Hawaii Small Business Conference opening key-note speaker TJ Schier will share the “7 Essential Systems for Small Business Success” on May 8. Schier is the president/founder of SMART Restaurant Group.

The third annual Hawaii Small Business Conference returns to the Maui Arts & Cultural Center May 8 and 9 with another lineup of speakers, topics and workshop. Presented by the Maui Economic Development Board with support by the County of Maui Office of Economic Development, the conference is an opportunity to learn from business experts and to network.

Business owners, managers, startups and entrepreneurs interested in increasing their business knowledge, sharpening their professional skills, expanding their business network, and/or taking their business to the next level are encouraged to attend.

“Unfortunately, most small businesses get so wrapped up in their busy, day-to-day schedules that they don’t make the time to really look at their business to assess what’s not working, what can they do better, and what should they plan for,” said Gerry Smith, MEDB’s director of business development. “This conference was created for these entrepreneurs and their employees. It condenses a number of important, relevant topics into a short period of time; gives people access to experts who provide invaluable insights to expand your knowledge and find solutions to problems; and provides a forum to network with like-minded people and industry peers.”

On May 8, presentations led by national and local business leaders and trendsetters will be held in the MACC’s McCoy Theater from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Among the topics to be covered are employee engagement, technology in business, video marketing, data protection, success planning, tax strategies and more.

Conference speakers will include opening keynoter TJ Schier, president/founder of SMART Restaurant Group, speaking on the “7 Essential Systems for Small Business Success.” Among the insights Schier will share during the conference is his three-pronged strategy for building a team of top performers. “It includes focusing on the mission or mantra to provide a compass for everyone on the team; retaining the right people and letting the wrong people go work for your competitors; and creating a magnetic culture to attract more of the right people,” he said.

Robert Kawahara, CPA of Kawahara + Co. will address “Tax Strategies for Small Business” during a Hawaii Small Business Conference workshop on May 9. -- Maui Economic Development Board photo

The day includes business owners — such as Rachael Ray from U’I Gallery, Teri Edmonds from If the Shoe Fits and Jason Higa from Zippy’s Restaurants — talking about their business experiences in Talk Story segments.

On May 9, three-hour workshops will run parallel during morning and afternoon sessions from 9 to noon and 1 to 4 p.m. Workshop topics will include:

“The 7 Essential Systems for Small Business Success,” led by Schier.

“Tax Strategies for Small Business,” led by Robert Kawahara, CPA of Kawahara + Company.

“How to Use Free Tools to Grow my Community and Business,” led by Jules Kremer and Alexandrina Garcia-Verdin of Google.

“Intellectual Property and Branding,” led by Bill McKeon, Shannon Mehling and Rebecca Filipovic of Mckeon Sheldon Mehling.

For a full conference schedule and list of presenters, visit

The Hawaii Small Business Conference coincides with National Small Business Week, an opportunity to recognize the critical contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small-business owners.

Cost of the full-day conference on May 8 is $95 per person for advanced registration, or $100 per person for on-site registration. The conference fee includes admittance to conference sessions, conference materials, and continental breakfast and lunch.

The May 9 workshops are $35 per workshop with an additional charge for lunch.

To register online, visit For additional information, email or call (808) 875-2300.