WASHINGTON, DC – The County of Maui Mayor’s Office of Economic Development won a Gold Excellence in Economic Development Award for its 2017 Made in Maui County Festival, a project in the category of Special Event of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC).
The honor was presented at an awards ceremony on Tuesday, Sept. 19, during the IEDC Annual Conference, which was held Sept. 17-20, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
“On behalf of the IEDC board of directors and Excellence in Economic Development Awards Advisory Committee, congratulations to the County of Maui Mayor’s Office of Economic Development,” said Michael Langley, FM, CEO of GREATER MSP, Minneapolis–St. Paul, MN, and 2017 IEDC Board Chair. “Not only did they work to provide a necessary service to their community; but also, their participation in the awards program sheds light on their stellar projects which other communities can now use as a benchmark.”
"I was thrilled to be at this conference in Toronto to receive our award on behalf of Maui County,” said said Teena Rasmussen, Director of the Mayor's Office of Economic Development. “IEDC announced that they had a record 625 entries for the Excellence in Economic Development Awards this year. It is extremely gratifying that the Made In Maui County Festival rose to the top of our category by receiving the Gold award. It is great validation that the Festival has become an economic engine for our community.”
“The IEDC awards process is a thorough, non-biased and multi-layered process. These are extraordinary accomplishments for all winners, and an overall great effort by all participants. We look forward to next year’s awards competition,” Langley said.
The Made in Maui County Festival was established in 2014 by the County of Maui Mayor’s Office of Economic Development (OED) and the Maui Chamber of Commerce. Held each year at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center on Maui, this major event was created to help grow the islands’ value-added and small manufacturing businesses based within the county’s three islands of Maui, Molokai and Lanai.
According to Rasmussen, “Vital to vendors’ success and the Festival’s overall economic impact is the ‘Buyers Preview,’ a B2B event where prequalified buyers, wholesalers and distributors receive a complimentary admission to meet with vendors and find new locally made products. Invitations are sent to 700+ wholesalers and distributors in Hawaii, the U.S. Mainland, Canada, Australia, and Japan. The relationships built and resulting purchases are taking Maui County businesses to new heights and to markets with both domestic and international export potential. This event also spurs economic development to our fledgling companies that are given the opportunity to attract major buyers and are urged to consider the implications of scaling up production.”
Prior to the festival, the official Made In Maui brand program had only 60 participating companies. In just 4 years, the festival has helped build that number to over 260. Being a juried show, the festival is the most sought-after products show on Maui, with the promise of unveiling new products, meeting with prospective wholesalers and distributors, and connecting with new customers.
A dynamic entrepreneurial ecosystem has been developed around the festival, with 14 business development partners offering a wealth of programs, grants, consulting, micro-loans and workshops to further the success of these companies. Even those companies who do not get selected to showcase their products are offered a free 1-hour business consult. A Made in Maui County Marketplace website (www.madeinmauicounty.com) was also created to help festival vendors connect with consumers and wholesale buyers year-round.
About the International Economic Development Council: The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) is a non-profit membership organization serving economic developers. With more than 5,000 members, IEDC is the largest organization of its kind. Economic developers promote economic well-being and quality of life for their communities, by creating, retaining and expanding jobs that facilitate growth, enhance wealth and provide a stable tax base. From public to private, rural to urban, and local to international, IEDC’s members are engaged in the full range of economic development experience. Given the breadth of economic development work, our members are employed in a wide variety of settings including local, state, provincial and federal governments, public-private partnerships, chambers of commerce, universities and a variety of other institutions. Among many activities which benefit the economy, IEDC’s members create high-quality jobs and develop vibrant communities. www.iedcONLINE.org.