How to Become an Entrepreneur in Hawaii

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What is Entrepreneurship?


An entrepreneur is a businessperson who has decided to take their creative business ideas and open up their own venture. Entrepreneurs can work in any industry and start any sort of business. Many consider entrepreneurs to be a main driving force behind economic growth.

Entrepreneurs may develop new technologies and innovate new ways of doing business. Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos both started out as entrepreneurs who created two of the most innovative firms on the planet. There are many other innovators who have supported them with creative technologies, which many of us never hear about.

One of the best things about becoming an entrepreneur is that there are no barriers to entry except for the strength of one's own ideas. Entrepreneurs need to have strong ideas paired with expert execution. They also need to have the savvy of a salesperson who can raise investments and knowledge of how to organize and administrate a business.


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Entrepreneurship Education in Hawaii

Hawaii's economy is full of opportunities for entrepreneurial growth and development. While the island state's economy is dominated by tourism and real estate, there is still room for more. High tech entrepreneurs might decide to form their start-ups here, since software development needn't be relegated to any one location, such as Silicon Valley. Even so, Hawaiian software developers can be in Silicon Valley in around five hours, if needed.

Entrepreneurship degrees from Hawaiian colleges and universities may not be as plentiful as they are elsewhere in the nation. However, Hawaiian students can find more opportunities than their small, sparsely populated state can support. For example, they might choose to participate in the Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) program. This program is supported by all states in the western portion of the nation. It allows for students to attend out-of-state colleges and universities without paying out-of-state tuition rates. However, students must qualify. Further, each school and degree program may have their own stipulations for WUE participants.

Hawaiian entrepreneurship students are also supported by the state's community college system. Though community colleges aren't widely known for providing entrepreneurship degree programs, they do offer courses and degrees in business administration, accounting, marketing, and management. Those degrees can provide the knowledge and skill necessary to launch an entrepreneurial endeavor. Similar degrees can be found in Hawaii's four-year colleges and universities. To learn more of what it takes to launch an entrepreneurial enterprise in Hawaii, students may take internships with local Hawaiian entrepreneurs.

Hawaiian students can also pursue an entrepreneurship degree on the mainland without ever leaving their island paradise. Online entrepreneurship degree programs are widely available from colleges and universities on the mainland. Students may even find that these programs support the Western Undergraduate Exchange program, which helps by allowing in-state tuition costs for Hawaiian students.


Associate Degree in Entrepreneurship (AS)

Since entrepreneurs often get started because of a desire to be their own boss, there is not necessarily an academic barrier to entry. However, every entrepreneur needs certain business skills and knowledge if they are going to succeed. Still, entrepreneurs can start their career with an associate entrepreneurship degree from a local community college. There are also entrepreneurship degree programs available online if one is not in an area near a community college. Students who are eager to see their ideas become realized in the market should consider getting started with an associate entrepreneurship degree.

These two-year business degrees help students gain the core skills they need in areas such as accounting, management, and marketing. The degree also is helpful in terms of one's long-term academic career. This is because an associate degree is largely comprised of the core college curriculum that can be applied toward a bachelor’s degree at some later time. Since a community college degree is typically far cheaper than any four-year institution, beginning any career with an associate entrepreneurship degree makes good sense.

Bachelor's Degree in Entrepreneurship (BS)

A bachelor’s entrepreneurship degree from a Hawaiian college or university will help any professional attain the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in their entrepreneurial enterprise. These degree programs can help students try out their ideas in a classroom laboratory setting where there is little on the line. Another great benefit to a bachelor’s entrepreneurship degree is the ability to form a network of like-minded business professionals who may become partners or allies later on.

A bachelor’s entrepreneurship degree can also help students by supporting them in internship courses that provide invaluable experience, networking opportunities, and knowledge of the business world. While internships probably won't involve launching a start-up enterprise, they will help students see how established businesses operate and thrive. Students can also branch out and round out their knowledge base with coursework elsewhere in the business school, such as accounting or human resources, or in another department such as computer science or mathematics.

Master's Degree in Entrepreneurship (MS or MC)

Since entrepreneurs are their own bosses, they will start their firms at the top. Thus, there is no pressing need to earn an MBA, which most businesspeople use to access the C-suites. However, a master’s entrepreneurship degree (MBA) is a terrific choice for the innovative business professional who wants to improve their business knowledge while earning numerous other benefits.

One of the key benefits of a master’s entrepreneurship degree is the ability to network with fellow business professionals. Between classes and projects, MBA students always find time to meet and greet. They are typically enthused by their studies and are eager to share their ideas. Entrepreneurs will be on the lookout for fellow students who may be interested in pooling talents. They may need a financial expert, a human resources pro, and a marketing whiz in their team, and their MBA cohort is sure to have plenty of great people who fit that bill.

PhD Degree in Entrepreneurship (PhD)

A PhD or doctorate in entrepreneurship is not a requirement for an entrepreneur to start their own firm. However, this level of academic achievement may be useful for those starting businesses in certain fields or looking to succeed in academia. For instance, a PhD in mathematics or computer science could be immensely useful for those interested in forming high tech startups. Those fields require a high level of technical expertise and insight, so a PhD or doctorate level entrepreneur could provide the innovative ideas needed to get things started. In fact, many notable entrepreneurs have completed their PhD coursework but stopped work on their dissertation in order to launch into a business.

When it comes time to gather investment capital, a PhD can give venture capitalists a sense of confidence and trust in the project, especially if the technology is hard to understand. In this case, it's important to keep in mind that a PhD in business or entrepreneurship may not be required, but that it would be helpful to have some business background, especially for administrative and leadership concerns.

Become an Entrepreneur in Hawaii


For those who wish to become an entrepreneurial professional in Hawaii, there are many different routes to take. Before one goes off attaining a business loan for a start-up, it's important to discover if they have what it takes to work as an entrepreneur. First of all, an entrepreneur should be unafraid of risk, they should be great leaders, and they should have innovative and creative ideas. In fact, these qualities are often present in other aspects of an entrepreneur’s life before they launch a business. Entrepreneurs may be the ones who always have unique solutions to problems or who always have fun and unique ideas for group activities.

Once those qualities are established, entrepreneurs need to channel their abundant creativity in the classroom. After all, exciting ideas always need a strong business structure behind them if they are going to launch. Depending on the complexity of their business idea, some entrepreneurs can start with an associate business degree from a Hawaiian community college. This degree will impart basic knowledge of things like accounting, marketing, and administration that can be invaluable in a small business. For instance, a small venture such as a surf shop or a food cart will benefit from these core skills.

Students who envision a larger firm may want to move on and earn a bachelor’s entrepreneurship degree from a Hawaiian college or university. The more they delve into aspects of business such as marketing, finance, and accounting, the more robust firm they can launch. The four-year degree also allows them the time to take courses in fields that may be more closely related to the products or services they wish to build a business around such as computer science, game development, engineering, or healthcare.

Once an entrepreneur has their education in hand, they can develop their ideas. Taking business courses will be helpful here, too. This is because they will meet other business minded individuals who may be able to offer feedback or who may be interested in joining the start-up enterprise. After all, it will be helpful to approach financial backers with a team already in place. Furthermore, if an entrepreneur already has others who believe in the project, that momentum and excitement can grow.

Careers for Entrepreneurship Graduates


  • Business Owner:
    An entrepreneurship degree in Hawaii is designed to help create new business owners who have innovative ideas that help build the Hawaiian economy. Business owners can include one-person consultancies, five-employee food trucks, and even high-tech start-up enterprises that shake up whole industries. Each business owner will need not only entrepreneurial creativity and drive but the business skills and knowledge that will ensure long-term success.
  • Public Relations Manager:
    These communications professionals can work in independent PR firms or as part of an in-house public relations department. Public relations managers typically have experience in the field where they mastered the art of the press release, media relations, and how to otherwise protect their client or employer when bad news comes.
  • Appraiser:
    These business professionals are skilled at determining the value of various assets. Most often, appraisers are associated with the housing market where they are called to determine a home's fair market value. Appraisers can also work with products such as automobiles, art, boats, and more. They frequently work independently or with appraisal groups, but also for auction houses or banks.
  • Web Developer:
    Despite the rise of plug-and-play web design programs, there is still a strong demand for web developers. These web professionals work with more than just a site's aesthetics and ensure that the back-end code is functional and supports the client's goals.
  • Social Media Manager:
    This is a relatively new field that demands skills in public relations, marketing, and search engine optimization. Social media managers often manage multiple social media accounts either for multiple clients or for larger clients or employers who need numerous channels for their messages. Social media managers may create original posts and they are known to respond to comments from the public. In fact, some may be charged with responding to reviews on outlets such as Google Maps, Yelp, and more.
  • Marketing Manager:
    With a few years of experience in the field, marketing professionals often rise into management. These professionals oversee all aspects of a marketing campaign such as market data, creative campaigns, and media presence. Often, marketing managers need an MBA which enables them to have a strong grasp on all of the elements involved in marketing products and services.
  • Sales Manager:
    Sales drive the success of most any firm. Every business enterprise needs to constantly look to expand their sales and grow their company. Sales managers are in charge of motivating and developing a team of sales professionals so that their company can continue to grow. Often, sales managers rise up from the ranks of sales departments. One chief benefit of working as a sales manager is a regular salary and bonus incentives based on sales volume.
  • Brand Manager:
    These business professionals are charged with managing all aspect of a brand's growth and development. They oversee things such as package design, product manufacturing, public relations, and even shelf placement in stores, where applicable. This comprehensive business management career is highly sought after, and openings are often very competitive.

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