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Startup Kaua'i at the Innovation Campus 2020

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14th Aug 2020

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Startup Kaua'i explored the potential for new ideas in the Resiient Reformation, the opportunity to reinvest and reinvent for a better future. What are some of the ideas that came out of the evening?

This early highlight of the 2020 Innvation Campus in Kaua'i centered on a socially distanced salon dinner exploring the opportunities and ideas that can reinvigorate the island, which has been severely affected by the drop in tourism and hospitality due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Each guest was asked to share one idea for a startup, which kicked off a deeper conversation about how economic development and education can provide a better future for all.

First, some context. The tourism oriented nature of Kaua'i is based on the islands nature beauty, but the island's isloation in the world has until now presented difficulties when it comes to economic diversification. For many young people in Kaua'i and Hawaii generally, the desire to leave to pursue opportunities outweights the opportunities available to those who stay. The main sources of employment tend to be hospitality, government, miliatry and real estate oriented ventures, and it remains difficult to scale resilience.

What were some startup ideas?

Expanding farmer's market food boxes and delivery services with local menus to help drive sustainable farming iniatives.

Fractional real estate ownership and affordable housing.

Remote based careeer coaching to help peeople adapt to nomadic working.

Virtual retreats and seminars that bring the energy of Kaua'i to the world.

Micro food brands and products that can be scaled in direct to consumer models.

Working on incentive programmes and parallel stimulus to help rejuvenate local restaurants.

Along the reading front, Joe Dispenza's work around actualization and the book Tiny Habits got mentions, as the group discussed how the new world of work requirees new social and soft skills. 

What was most interesting about the evening was the emerging consensus that the big drops in economic activity have created a once in a lifetime opportunity to completely rethink the local economy and create something new that solves for inequality, local diversification opportunties and sustainability.  This can only be done by tackling the emerging problems in radically new ways - perhaps through the development of locally based technology platforms, but also through civic change - stimulus, development models and more.