Incubating Change

Aug 10, 2018

Manoa Innovation Center
Credit Hawaii Technology Development Corp.

The Mānoa Innovation Center has just changed hands. That’s an opportunity for one state entity and a set-back for another. 

Until July, the state Hawaii Technology Development Corp. had run the Mānoa Innovation Center as an incubator for tech-start-ups. That state agency had had a 25-year lease for the facility from its landowner, the University of Hawaii, that expired in 2015, and had been renewed on a month-to-month basis.

UH will now run the Mānoa Innovation Center. Vissilis Syrmos, UH vice president for research and innovation, tells PBN the university’s first priority is figuring out its funding model and how to pay for needed upgrades to the 30-year-old building. It needs everything from updated furniture to roof repairs. After that, UH will continue to run it as an incubator for fledgling tech companies.

The transfer has been a revenue set-back for the Hawaii Technology Development Corp. The state agency has lost some $800,000 as it scaled down operations to leave the MIC. Executive Director and CEO Robbie Melton says this is temporary, and hopes to work out the funding with the Legislature.

HTDC has been developing an incubation center of its own, having broken ground in April on a $7.3 million Entrepreneur’s Sandbox Facility in Kakaʻako.