Senate Recognizes Women of Small Businesses

Senate Recognizes Women of Small Businesses

The Hawai‘i State Senate honored the winners of the United States Small Business Administration’s 2020 Small Business Awards on Thursday.

Five of the eight Hawai‘i awardees are women.

“The majority of today’s small business awardees are women entrepreneurs. Meanwhile, most of the state’s boards and commissions and private corporate boards remain male-dominated,” Sen. Roz Baker (D-South and West Maui) said in a press release.

Sen. Laura Thielen (D- Kailua, Lanikai, Enchanted Lake, Keolu Hills, Maunawili, Waimanalo, Hawai‘i Kai, Portlock) said, “This ceremony shows there are a wealth of women in Hawai‘i qualified to sit on these seats and make substantial, positive contributions. That is why we introduced a bill requiring gender parity on private boards, and included a resolution in the Women’s Legislative Caucus package that encourages the Governor, and other appointers, to achieve gender parity on state boards and commissions.”

Sens. Thielen and Baker are the Senate co-chairs of the Women’s Legislative Caucus.

The caucus introduced as part of its legislative package resolutions calling for appointing authorities to dedicate themselves to achieve gender parity on state boards and commissions and circuit court.

Other legislation of interest include bills that require publicly held domestic and foreign corporations to include certain numbers of females among their boards of directors, and authorize administrative fines for noncompliance. This bill passed the Senate Judiciary Committee on February 25 and the full Senate on March 3 and has been referred to the House of Representatives.

The United States Small Business Administration (SBA) is a federal agency whose mission is to aid, counsel, and protect small business concerns, preserve free enterprise, and bolster our economy.

The women SBA 2020 Small Business Award honorees are:

Young Entrepreneur of the Year

Alana Penaroza, Co-Owner of Tag Aloha Co.

In 2019, Penaroza led Tag Aloha to a new tier. She diversified the business to add new products and lines, expanded to new markets outside of Hawai‘i, doubled the company’s number of employees, invested in new marketing resources and channels, brought the company into its first-ever Made in Hawai‘i show. Her ability to seek out creative growth opportunities, develop new ideas in uncharted space, and continually learn new skills to benefit her business and Hawai‘i’s business community distinguish her as an outstanding SBA’s Young Entrepreneur.

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