Determining whether something is actually made in Hawaii has become harder over the years, with an increasing number of businesses cashing in on the Hawaii brand. Simply slapping a Hawaiian word on a package that’s been decorated to look like it’s from Hawaii is often enough to fool consumers.
When Meli James looks at a bag of Maui Style potato chips, the Hawaii Venture Capital Association president sees both a lost opportunity and a challenge — for both local businesses and consumers.
Frito-Lay, the Texas-based maker of the chips, is one of “tons of companies that are leveraging the brand of Hawaii that have nothing to do with Hawaii, either from a jobs standpoint, agriculture, manufacturing or acquisition or building talent here,” James, who spent a decade in Silicon Valley before returning home to Honolulu a few years ago, told SFGATE. “We’re not creating the first generation of entrepreneurs here whose acquisitions or successful exits then create the second generation.”
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