China.Hawaii Chamber of Commerce ®
Hong Kong.Hawaii Chamber of Commerce ®
Hong Kong.China.Hawaii Chamber of Commerce ®

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USA Small Business Administration (SBA) Selected Johnson Choi/HKCHcc 2008 United States National Champion

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U. S. Small Business Administration

We are informed by Mr. Steven C Preston, Administrator of the United States Small business Administration (SBA) Washington DC that Johnson Choi, President of the Hong Kong.China.Hawaii Chamber of Commerce (HKCHcc) has won the Top SBA Award in our category, the "2008 Minority Small Business Champion of the Year" as defined by the SBA is "To Honor Individuals Who Have Fulfilled a Commitment to Support and Assist Minority Entrepreneurs & Small Business Owners" (Note: HKCHcc have won the "Hawaii award" as well as the "Regional Award" – topping the other Minority Small Business Champs in 50 States and Guam to qualify to compete and winning the "national" award, the top honor in our category). The award with be presented during the SBA National Business Week at the Mandarin Oriental Washington DC April 21 – 23 2008. Winners will be meeting with President George Bush at the White House on April 23rd 2008 ***

Letters of support from Business & Community Leaders Johnson Choi has been working with since 1980

Dean Emeritus Chuck Yim Gee, School of Travel Industry Management (TIM) and Board of Regent of the University of Hawaii at Manoa
Dennis Teranishi, CEO, Hawaiian Host Chocolates
Brenda Lei Foster, President of American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai
Daniel K Inouye, Senator, United States Senate
Calvin K Y Say, Speaker of the House, State House of Representative, State of Hawaii
James R "Duke" Aiona Jr, Lieutenant Governor, State of Hawaii
Mufi Hannemann, Mayor, City and County of Honolulu, State of Hawaii
Charles K Djou, Council Member District IV , City and County of Honolulu, State of Hawaii

Honolulu man honored in D.C.

Washington DC - White House East Room - Honolulu businessman Johnson Choi was honored by the Small Business Administration as 2008 Minority Champion during a ceremony today in the nation's capital. Choi was one of 10 small-business owners and leaders of small-business support organizations nationwide recognized for their support of entrepreneurs. The SBA Champion Awards were presented as part of the annual observance of National Small Business Week. Choi, president of the Hong Kong-China-Hawai'i Chamber of Commerce, works with many Asian immigrants to start businesses, particularly in the area of exporting. He won at the state and regional level before claiming the national title. "The SBA is proud to honor these men and women as true champions of small business, whose tireless efforts have provided tangible and significant support to small businesses and to their communities," said SBA Administrator Steve Preston.

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Webcasting - SBA will be webcasting all of the award events*** and the forums!! click on this link to log onto the website the day and time of the event and you will see a link to the webcast.

Among the featured speakers confirmed are Secretary Mike Leavitt, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Ambassador Susan C. Schwab, United States Trade Representative; Newt Gingrich, former House Speaker; David Latimore of the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City; John Bryant of Operation HOPE, and other prominent business leaders, CEOs and politicos.

Small Business Week 2008 cosponsors include: Sam’s Club, Administaff, Raytheon, IBM, Chevron, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, Cisco, Lockheed Martin,, Lowe’s, Banco Popular, Minority Business Development Agency, General Services Administration, MyBizHomepage, Dun & Bradstreet, National Association of Development Companies, Direct Selling Education Foundation, Association of Small Business Development Centers, National Small Business Association, Federal Allies Institute, Initiative for a Competitive Inner City, Consumer Energy Alliance, National Federation of Independent Business, and SCORE

Hawaii Women's Business Center hosts Small Business Awards Luncheon on April 30 2008 11:30am - 1:30pm at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Online Registrations: Individual Group of 10 - Return form with payment no later than April 25, 2008 to The Hawai'i Women's Business Center is located in downtown, Honolulu, in the Heart of Chinatown: 1041 Nu'uanu Avenue, Suite A, Honolulu, Hawaii 96817; Phone: 808.526.1001; FAX: 808.550.0724 Cost: $45.00 per person, $450 for table of 10 (Check payable to Hawaii Women's Business Center)

The U.S. Small Business Administration today released an audio public service announcement (PSA) encouraging the public to participate in National Small Business Week 2008, featuring national awards and topical forums at the agency’s premier annual event. The celebration of National Small Business Week is April 21-25, with events in Washington, D.C., April 21-23 and in New York City April 24-25. National Small Business Week will be Web-streamed live at 

The 30-second audio PSA is available in a downloadable MP3 format on the SBA Web site at

And the 60-second audio PSA at

Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release April 23, 2008

ON NATIONAL SMALL BUSINESS WEEK - meeting with 2008 SBA National Winners

East Room

3:50 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Welcome. I'm glad you're here. Thanks for coming. Nothing better, being in the East Room of the White House with successful entrepreneurs, small business owners -- dreamers and doers who really add such richness to our country. So I welcome you here. I'm glad you're here. It's exciting to be here, isn't it? After seven and a half years, it's still exciting for me, too. (Laughter.) And I'm really glad you're here.

I want to thank Steve Preston. He's done a fantastic job as the head of the SBA -- so good that I named him to be the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. And I congratulate you, Steve, for taking the job. (Applause.) I'm looking forward to getting the Senate to take up your nomination quickly and get you approved.

So, Small Business Week. The truth of the matter is, every day ought to be Small Business Day in America, because -- (applause.) People say, why? Well, first of all, small businesses create over two-thirds of all new jobs in America. And if you want your economy to grow, and if you want the country to be hopeful, it seems like you ought to be celebrating the talent and the energy of our small business owners -- daily. But we've decided to do it yearly -- Small Business Week. I presume that's one week out of the year. (Laughter.)

And so the first thing I've got to do is congratulate all the award winners who are here. Thanks. It's -- owning a small business is hard. It's not an easy experience. (Applause.) I've had the pleasure of getting to meet a lot of small business owners during my time as, first, governor of Texas, and then President of the country. And you'll be amazed at how many times people have said, well, you know, it all started around the kitchen table. You'll also be amazed at how many family members are involved in the creation and the operation of a small business. And our fellow citizens wouldn't be amazed to know that the number of hours required to make sure the business is going is a lot. But the thing that struck me the most, besides the fact that people are willing to dream and work hard, is how proud the small business owner is of the employees with whom the person works, and how caring the owner is to make sure that those who've helped the business succeed are treated well.

I have the pleasure of welcoming and recognizing one Shawn Christopher Boyer, who happens to be the recipient of the Small Business Owner of the Year. Now, Shawn started off by helping a friend search online for an internship, and he got an idea for a business right there. Sometimes that happens. You know, it's just like, "click." And the idea was to create a website to help unemployed Americans with job opportunities. And -- actually, I asked him to leave a business card because -- (laughter and applause) -- it seems like I might be looking here after a while. (Laughter.)

He started his business with just two employees. I bet you a lot of the winners here can say, I started my business with one or two employees. He has grown -- got 100 employees now. His earnings have grown from almost $900,000 in '03 to over $11 million four years later. And as I just told you, he was named National Small Business Person of the Year. I met with Shawn, the CFO David Bosher, Tennille, as well as his dad. And I want to congratulate you, Shawn. Welcome to the White House, and I really wish you all the very best. (Applause.)

Angela Timm. Where's Angela? Oh, there you are. Thank you, Angela. She started a company in her home that sells music boxes and framed messages that offer words of hope and inspiration. She's gone through what a lot of other small business owners go through, which is good times and bad times. And the fundamental question is, do you have the perseverance to endure the bad time, and the humility to handle the good times?

In 2004, her business hit hard times. She had a good idea, but sometimes everything doesn't go well for you in the business world. The company's line of credit was maxed out. They had to let managers go. And her home was hit by a tornado. Her family and Angela held on through the adversity; they recovered, they hired back employees. In recent years, they have seen sales in the millions, with healthy profits. And that is why she's the runner-up Small Business Owner of the Year. (Applause.)

And the reason I bring up these two stories -- we could be here for the other 48 stories, which would have a lot of similarities. I appreciate you all coming together to share stories, to reach out to others who wonder what it's like to be an entrepreneur, to help others realize the great wonders of ownership, and to make sure that as you tell the story, that people are realistic about what it takes to succeed.

Government has a role to play, as well, and that is to create an environment in which the entrepreneurial spirit flourishes. I mean, as I remind people, that government doesn't create success in a small business -- matter of fact, government can pass policies that make it harder to succeed in small business. Government has got to be mindful of the contribution of the entrepreneur and make sure that the environment is such that people feel comfortable dreaming, and owning and expanding.

And so I know you're going to be speaking to elected officials, and I've got a few suggestions -- (laughter) -- about what you might offer them in the way of advice. First, you might suggest to members of Congress that they let you keep your money -- in other words, to keep taxes low. (Applause.) This is obviously a difficult time for the economy, and I like to say it's a rough patch. And the reason I call it that is because I'm confident that, with good policies and hard work, we'll come out stronger than we were entering. But nevertheless, it's tough. And it's tough on small business owners.

We did take action. In other words, rather than just analyzing the situation, we saw this coming and moved swiftly with members of Congress from both parties, believe it or not -- actually got something done in a constructive way without feeling like they had to call each other names. And it's a pro-growth package which will provide tax rebates to more than 130 million American households. And that ought to help, that ought to help stimulate consumption. The money hadn't hit yet. It's going to be there, start moving in the second week of May.

The stimulus package also provides incentives for businesses, like yours, to invest in new equipment and technology this year. In other words, it's a temporary stimulus package aimed at dealing with the rough patch that we've entered into, but it's got to be robust enough to matter. So when you're affecting 130 million households, that's robust. And when you're affecting all the businesses in the United States, that's a robust message. And the reason why it's important to stimulate investment is because if tax policy can encourage you to buy a piece of equipment, one, it helps your business be more productive, but also somebody has got to make the equipment. And if somebody is making the equipment, then somebody has got to buy the supplies to make the equipment, and it kind of ripples throughout the economy.

So the idea was to provide stimulus to businesses and to provide -- give money to the taxpayers so that they can go out and purchase things and remain active consumers. And it's going to take a while for this to have an effect. The experts tell me that -- you've got these economists say, on the one hand, and on the other hand -- if they had three hands, it would be three opinions, but nevertheless -- (laughter) -- with all due respect to some of my economist friends here. (Laughter.) But pretty well consensus that the stimulus package, when it takes full effect, will affect our growth in the third quarter, which begins in July of this year.

There's other work to be done on taxes. One of my concerns about tax policy is that it creates uncertainty. In other words, when you're trying to figure out a five-year projection about your companies, you've got to be certain that the tax load that you now bear isn't going to increase. It's hard to plan. It's hard to have a successful small business if there's uncertainty in the environment. And one place where there can be a lot of uncertainty is whether or not your taxes are going to remain low. And the reason why that's the case is because the tax relief we passed is going to expire, some of it beginning in 2010.

Now, the tax relief we passed, you might remember, cut taxes on all people who pay taxes. We have -- and emphasis on families with children, for example. We tried to get rid of the death tax forever. A small business owner has got to be saying to members of Congress, I don't want to be taxed twice, once when I'm alive and once after I die -- particularly if you own a small business. (Applause.) It's an unfair tax. Yet that tax, which is on the road to extinction, is going to come back to life.

And equally damaging, as far as I'm concerned, is the fact that people are saying, we're going to let the personal income tax rates go back up -- and, of course, the language is "only on the rich people." Well, the sad fact is, is that many of our small businesses are subchapter-S corporations, LLCs, limited partnerships that pay tax at the individual income tax level. And so the tax relief we provided was in many ways -- should have been called a small business tax relief plan. And the idea of saying that we're going to raise individual income tax rates really is counterproductive to making sure that the economy remains strong.

If you're creating over two-thirds of the new jobs, why would we want to be taking money out of the treasuries of those job creators? Less money in your treasury means it's going to be harder for you to create the jobs necessary for this economy to be strong. If Congress truly cares about keeping this economy strong, they ought to have certainty in the tax code by making all the tax cuts we passed permanent. (Applause.)

A couple other issues now that I got you stuck here. (Laughter.) Health care. I fully understand that you're concerned about affordable health care. You're concerned obviously because it affects your bottom line, but you're also more concerned because it affects the people you work with. And I understand that. And there's a choice that we can make in government. One is, do we have kind of a wholesale plan sponsored by, executed by the federal government, or do we put policy in place that encourages the decision-makers to be directly in touch with the providers? That's what I have tried to propose -- and have proposed, such as health savings accounts.

For those of you who have not explored health savings accounts, I strongly urge you to do so. It's a very powerful way for you to better afford health insurance and, at the same time, empower your employees.

I believe Congress should change the tax code. If you're working for a big company in America you get a better tax break than if you're working for -- on your own, or you're a contract employee. And so there ought to be a standard deduction for health insurance so that the bias in the tax code is eliminated.

We ought to confront junk lawsuits that drive good docs out of practice and run up the cost of your health care. And finally, I strongly believe that Congress should allow small businesses to pool risk across jurisdictional boundaries -- those are long words -- like if you're a restaurant guy in Texas, you ought be able to put your employees in the same risk pool as a restaurant person in Maryland. Those are called association health plans that will enable small businesses to be able to buy insurance at the same discounts that big businesses get. But what we shouldn't do is have a health care system where the decisions are made in Washington, D.C., not made in your offices or between patients and doctors. (Applause.)

I want to talk about an interesting issue that is getting a lot of attention these days, and that is the issue of trade and markets. And as you know by now, I hope, that I'm -- I believe that it's in our interests to open up markets for U.S. products and goods and services. I also know it's in our interest to say to the world, treat us the way we treat you. In other words, all we want to do is be treated fairly. And one of the interesting votes coming up here soon -- hopefully, if the Speaker doesn't change her -- does change her mind -- which would be on the Colombia free trade agreement. And let me tell you why I think this is important.

First of all, there are about 9,000 American businesses that export to Colombia. Most of those businesses, by far the vast majority, are mid-sized and small businesses. The problem is, is that that which they export generally faces significant tariffs. In other words, the product that they -- selling is more expensive because of the tariffs. On the other hand, as a result of congressional policy over the years, products coming from Colombia into the United States don't face tariffs. So American goods and services, mainly provided by mid-sized and small-sized businesses, are taxed going into Colombia, making it harder for those products to gain market access. On the other hand, as a result of years of policy, Colombian goods come here duty-free.

Now, doesn't it make sense to say to Colombia, we value our friendship, but we would like to be treated the way we treat you? And that's what the Colombia free trade agreement says. It -- this is a bill that is beneficial to our small businesses and mid-sized businesses. It makes eminent sense to level the playing field. Yet, unfortunately, the leadership in the House of Representatives chose a unusual procedure to block a vote. I believe the bill will pass. I know that when people really analyze whether it's fair or not to be treated one way and yet Colombia be treated beneficially, say, well, why don't we just level the playing field?

The other thing is this vote has got enormous national policy implications. First of all, it's in our interest to have a neighborhood that's free, when people who believe in rule of law and human rights -- support leaders in our neighborhood that are tough on dealing with narco-traffickers.

In Colombia there's a group called FARC, which is funded by, in large part, drugs; that are willing to use violence to advance their agenda. And they're threatening our ally. And President Uribe is taking them on in a way that doesn't violate the human rights of his people. He's a strong, strong leader. And yet if Congress turns down this agreement, it's like turning our back to an ally, which will encourage the voices of false populism in our neighborhood.

And so I -- this is an important vote. It's important for small businesses, it's important for our economy, and it's important for our national security interests. And the United States Congress must give it a vote on the floor of the House. (Applause.)

So those are some of the things that are on my mind. (Laughter.) You know, it's interesting; there's a portrait of a fellow that hangs here in the White House who -- he failed at nearly every enterprise he started. He invested in a zinc mine, but lost his money. He invested in an oil company, but the company sold the lease to a -- and it turned out to be a gusher, but he didn't own any of it at that point in time. He ran a store with a friend, but it went bankrupt after a few years. And yet he was arguably one of the finest Presidents we had, and that was Harry Truman.

I'm convinced -- I've never had a visit with Harry at all, but I'm convinced that he would say, the lessons I learned in trying to be a small business owner are lessons that are important for a decision-maker in the White House. And although it's hard to say he was a successful business person, he learned about hard work, and determination, and resilience, and willing to face adversity with good spirit.

And that is why I am honored to be with you today, because I'm confident that's what you've done. What you've chosen to do is not easy, but what you've chosen to do is important for our country. It's the collective decisions by our small business owners that make America the envy of the world in many ways.

I love it when people can say, I have a idea, and I am going to apply all my talent and all my effort to see the idea come to fruition. It is what made us great in the past, it's what makes us great today, and what is going to make us great in the future. And I hope you take great pride in the contributions that you're making to your community, your family and your nation.

Thanks for coming. May God bless you. (Applause.)

END 4:11 P.M. EDT

Hawaii Women's Business Center hosts Small Business Awards Luncheon on April 30 2008 11:30am - 1:30pm at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Online Registrations: Individual Group of 10 - Return form with payment no later than April 25, 2008 to The Hawai'i Women's Business Center is located in downtown, Honolulu, in the Heart of Chinatown: 1041 Nu'uanu Avenue, Suite A, Honolulu, Hawaii 96817; Phone: 808.526.1001; FAX: 808.550.0724 Cost: $45.00 per person, $450 for table of 10 (Check payable to Hawaii Women's Business Center)

 click on the small picture for "full" view

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Wednesday, April 2 2008: U. S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Hawaii State winners will be introduced at the Hawaii State Senate when they convene at 11:30 a.m. An opportunity for an informal greeting the House Chambers will follow. Please meet District Director Andrew Poepoe and me in the outdoor Rotunda of the Capitol Building no later than 11:00 a.m. After brief introductions, we will proceed to the reception area of the Senate Chamber to meet Debbie from Senator Carol Fukunaga’s staff. She will arrange the seating and escort the winners onto the floor. After the presentations, there will be time for photos and greetings before moving to the House floor. Family members, staff and nominators interested in attending will be able to join me in the gallery above the chamber to observe the proceedings. From past experience, we usually finish introductions around 12:30 p.m. or so. We were not able to make any special arrangements for parking which can be at a premium when the legislature is in session. Please allow sufficient time to park your vehicles and meet us in the rotunda. Handicap parking is available in some metered stalls in the garage below the capitol.

Governor Linda Lingle and Lieutenant Governor James R Duke Aiona Jr of the State of Hawaii Recognition on April 30 2008 (click on the small picture for full view)

Hawaii State Senate Recognition on April 2 2008 (click on the small picture for full view)

Hawaii State House of Representative Recognition on April 2 2008 (click on the small picture for full view)

President George Bush "Proclaim" Small Business Week 2008 (click on the small picture for full view)

City and County of Honolulu Recognize Johnson W. K. Choi (click on the small picture for full view)

Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition - Congresswoman Mazie Hirono (click on the small picture for full view)

Monday, March 31, 2008 - 1:54 PM HAST

Hawaii exec gets top U.S. SBA award Pacific Business News (Honolulu) /Pittsburgh Business Times

The head of a local chamber of commerce that helps Hawaii small businesses get into international trade with Asian nations has been named the U.S. Small Business Administration's national minority small-business champion.

Johnson W. K. Choi, president of the Hong Kong.China.Hawaii Chamber of Commerce, was the winner of the state's 2008 award, which recognizes small-business advocates, and was also the regional winner.

"Johnson Choi is very deserving of this honor for his commitment to promote and encourage economic opportunity for small businesses owned by representatives from so many ethnic backgrounds," said First Hawaiian Bank Vice President Naomi Masuno, who nominated Choi for the SBA Award. "He is always willing to help small businesses in getting started, planning, and finding new customers through exporting. He shares an amazing wealth of knowledge, particularly with minority business owners interested in doing business in Asia."

Choi has assisted business owners for 20 years, helping to link import and export resources, as well as organizing seminars and workshops and developing Web sites and informational materials for small businesses.

Choi, who is also an active member of the Hawaii Pacific Export Council, has led three trade missions to Asia. He will be honored, along with the state's other top small-business winners, at the SBA's annual Small Business Awards luncheon on April 30 at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort & Spa.

June 2008 National Champion Johnson Choi wins one of the SBAs top awards by supporting ethnic businesses

National Champion

Johnson Choi wins one of the SBAs top awards by supporting ethnic businesses

Johnson Choi is helping bridge the gap created by cultural and linguistic differences.

As told to Kyle Galdeira

As president of the Hong Kong-China-Hawaii Chamber of Commerce, (HKCHCC) Choi serves as a vital link between Hong Kong and Hawaii promoting economic opportunity and a healthy business climate. In April, Choi received the Small Business Association’s National Small Business Champion of the Year award for his work with minority businesses. Choi shared his thoughts about Hawaii’s ethnic small businesses:

On challenges faced by new immigrant businesses:
Some challenges include a lack of English-language skills as well as an inability to understand the penalty for not complying with rules and regulations. Also, there is a risk of being taken advantage of by other businesses, who know well that most ethnic business owners are afraid to deal with the authority and laws, which they might not fully understand.

On the most common opportunities for ethnic small businesses:
Most ethnic businesses focus on food or art and crafts. As a result, you have seen some of the fusion, merging the cooking and cultures of the East and West.

On what these businesses means for Hawaii:
They provide cultural diversity for the state, and the diversity could provide a cultural experience for local Hawaii residents and visitors alike. Also, it provides the opportunity to gain first-hand experience for Hawaii companies by interacting with ethnic owners, i.e. from China, and learn how business is conducted there before committing serious capital, time and resources overseas.

On his long-term goals:
Hawaii has become a state so dependent on federal money. Travel-related businesses have produced relatively low-paying jobs and the brain drain from Hawaii has continued since 1990. We are hoping to make Hawaii a friendlier place to do business.

On the most memorable challenge overseas:
For more than 20 years, the way trade promotion was conducted from Hawaii was wine, dine and hula girls, even when the trade mission was not focused on the tourist trade. The result is most businesses in Asia look at many of us, who are serious about trade and business, as coming to Asia just to have a good time.

Click on the picture for full view Direct link to online Hawaii Business Magazine Hawaii Business Magazine online PDF format

蔡永強獲州參院少數族裔小企業首獎 (本報夏威夷訊)


夏威夷州參議院於4月2日(星期三)上午十一時半在其會期開始前頒發獎牌給2008年夏威夷州小型企業優秀獎得主。香港中國夏威夷商會(Hong Kong China Hawaii Chamber of Commerce)創會會長蔡永強 (Johnson W. K. Choi) 因獲得夏威夷州“2008年少數族裔小型企業年度首獎” (2008 Minority Small Business Champion of the Year),也受邀前往領獎。



蔡永強表示非常感激此間第一夏威夷銀行及其副總裁 Naomi Masuno 協助其辦理獎項申請手續,也感謝香港中國夏威夷商會所有理事職員與會員的支持,因為沒有他們在太平洋和夏威夷兩岸的共同努力,他無法獲得此項最高榮譽。


蔡永強也感謝其父母的培養和典範,才有今日的成就。也對其移民夏威夷第一位雇主Mrs. Carolyn Tong Chee(1955年水仙花皇后)和其夫婿Percival Chee醫生,鼓勵其自立創業表示感謝。

當然也不能忘了夏威夷大學旅遊學院前院長Chuck Gee做其良師,夏威夷大學商業管理學系的教授們授其有關國際貿易的知識。Hketo SF的Annie Tang、美國上海商會會長 Brenda Foster, Chuck Gee 院長、Hyatt Regency 副總裁 Paul Tang…等等的支持和鼓勵,蔡永強夫人Carmen 的諒解和支持,致上衷心的感謝。

4月2日夏州參議院的頒獎典禮,由參議會議長Hanabusa主持,挭陪arol Fukunaga提案,全部參議員通過決議,獎勵夏州小型企業優秀獎得主。夏州小型企業署長Andrew Poepoe和Jane Sawyer等在旁觀禮。


蔡永強再獲檀市議會表揚 (本報夏威夷訊)


香港中國夏威夷商會創會會長蔡永強(Johnson W. K. Choi) 於4月16日(周二)上午9時在檀香山市議會再度接受表揚,之後並蒙檀香山市長韓納曼在其市長辦公室接見,以獎勵其對小型企業的支持和貢獻。


蔡永強和香港中國夏威夷商會是獲得聯邦、夏州和檀香山市的“2008年少數族裔小型企業首獎”頭銜(2008 Minority Small Business Champion of the Year),他將於4月21日前往華盛頓首府領獎。


譚鴻章市議員說,做為香港中國夏威夷商會的總裁,蔡永強無私地貢獻其時間和努力在促進少數族裔小型企業家們的商業機會,其重點放在推動夏威夷、香港、中國和其鄰近區域的商業、貿易專業知識和科技的交流,期能達到經濟成果和生意來往。 蔡永強曾經主持超過40次的商業論壇,邀請亞洲和北美洲地區的商業領袖人物參會,並與許多國際機構和代表處建立良好關係,促成了三次成功的商務交流訪問活動。

市議會頒獎當天,夏威夷州小型企業署署長Andrew Poepoe 和助理 Jane Saner 也在現場觀禮。


Helping build Isles' trade with China By Curtis Lum, Advertiser Staff Writer

Johnson W. K. Choi, president of the Hong Kong-China Hawai'i Chamber of Commerce, was recently honored as Minority Small Business Champion of the Year. Photos by REBECCA BREYER | The Honolulu Advertiser

Age: 52
Title: President
Organization: Hong Kong-China Hawai'i Chamber of Commerce
Born: Hong Kong
High School: Rosaryhill High School, Hong Kong
College: University of Hawai'i-Manoa, School of Travel Industry Management; Chaminade University, MBA
Breakthrough job: Working for Carolyn Tong Chee to manage her hotel rental in Waikiki
Mentor: Chuck Gee, emeritus dean, UH School of Travel Industry Management
Major challenge: Not knowing anyone in Hawai'i; most of my college classmates left Hawai'i for Asia or the Mainland after graduation
Hobbies: Tennis, table tennis, good food
Books recently read: "Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make Competition Irrelevant," by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne

Choi says his day usually starts at 4 a.m. and doesn't end until 6 or 7 p.m. — and "that typically runs six days a week."

Q. What kinds of local companies do well in Asia?

A. It's an interesting question because Hawai'i has a very good brand worldwide. But sometimes it's a bit more challenging for a Hawai'i company that has not ventured out of Hawai'i. I know there is a lot of effort to try and go to places like China. But China is a huge country and the other issues are the rule of law and the language barrier, so it's a little difficult for Hawai'i companies to use China as the first entry port into Asia. A good entry port would be both Hong Kong and Singapore. Hong Kong is a great entry point because it's smaller than the island of Kaua'i, but its population is 7 million and it has a high per capita income.

Q. Why are companies hesitant to do more exporting?

A. I think it has something to do with how the state has been conducting business. Hong Kong is almost like doing business in New York. You come to Hong Kong, you tell us what you have to offer, and if it matches we'll do business. There is not a lot of wining and dining and sightseeing. They discourage companies from bringing government officials. In a lot of ways a lot of small companies in Hawai'i tend to follow government type of strategy and it doesn't work in places like Hong Kong and Singapore.

Q. In what ways do you help local businesses?

A. We look at the type of products and services a Hawai'i company offers. If they have something unique that the businesses or the government in Asia want, and if the company is small but they have something unique, then we would try to pair them up with a larger company on the West Coast of the United States and go together to increase their size and also give more resources to the Hawai'i company.

Q. How long have you been with the chamber?

A. The chamber is seven years old and I'm one of the founding members. There are a lot of chamber of commerces in Hawai'i. Our chamber is a little different than the others. Our chamber's focus is to help Hawai'i companies to collaborate with companies outside of Hawai'i, primarily on the West Coast and the East Coast of the United States, to increase the size of Hawai'i companies and to look at Asia opportunities.

Q. Is it more of a trade organization?

A. It's more or less a trade organization, so we don't have the usual installation banquet and cocktail functions. We have events when there are people from the community who can offer advice or people who can help the local companies to expand their business.

Q. You and the other founding members have extensive backgrounds in Hong Kong and China?

A. I was originally from Hong Kong. I came to Hawai'i when I was 18 years old and went to the University of Hawai'i. I've been doing business with Asia since 1985, so I've been very active and we do have a small office in Hong Kong and Shanghai, as well as in San Francisco.

Q. You're involved in other organizations, as well as your own business?

A. I run a business taking care of clients in terms of accounting, investment and other things. We're doing business under First Hawaiian Capital. That is my basic line of business. But for the last 13 years I've also helped clients from Asia, so I find opportunities for them or they help me with different opportunities in Asia. More and more of my business is connecting Hawai'i with Asia.

Q. How did you become an expert in exporting?

A. Back in 1984 I was with the first group of business people that went with the City Council to Hainan Island, which is on the southern tip of China, and signed a sister city agreement. From there on, I started to be exposed to more and more people in Asia and most of my clients are Chinese from Asia. So I just slowly increased my business exposure in Asia. It kind of fell into place for the last 15 to 20 years. No one is an expert in China. China is such a huge country. Sometimes I joke with my clients that if anyone tells you they're an expert on China the first thing you should do is pack up and leave. We only try to be good in certain areas, like Shanghai, Beijing, Quanzhou, because those three big cities have more than 78 million people, so for most Hawai'i companies that is a big piece for them to swallow.

Q. How did you wind up at the University of Hawai'i?

A. In the ancient Chinese society, you listen to your parents. At that time, the School of Travel Industry Management under the leadership of Dean Chuck Gee was a very good program. The reputation both here and also in Asia started kicking up some dust and people noticed it. My father said, "Maybe you should study hotel and restaurant management." At age 18 I didn't know what I should be doing anyway.

Q. Why did you stay?

A. I graduated from the TIM school, but unfortunately the pay for the service industry was not that great. After I finished college I got married and soon had children and got a mortgage and a car loan. I found that the service industry is a very tough business. So I decided, with the encouragement of my first boss, Carolyn Tong Chee, she said, "Johnson, what do you have to lose? Start your own business. If you fail, I'll hire you back."

With that assurance, I charged ahead, not knowing it was going to be very tough. I stuck it out, but it was tough because I'm not from here and I didn't have a lot of friends and family that I could go to. I basically had to start from scratch, which was not easy.

Q. You have a business and run the chamber. How do you manage your time?

A. It's not easy. My typical day I wake up at 4 in the morning, in my office by 5. My day usually doesn't end until 6 or 7 at night and that typically runs six days a week. I do enjoy a challenge. I go to work every day not knowing what to expect. Sometimes I go to work and I'm on crisis management every day. It's challenging, but interesting. I spend 40 percent of my time on nonprofit work. Besides the chamber, I also spend time with the U.S. China Peoples Friendship Association, as well as the Hawai'i Chinese Association and the School of Travel Industry Management alumni board. I'm also with the Rotary Club of Honolulu. I do believe in giving back to the community.

Q. You were recently honored by the Small Business Administration locally and nationally as the Minority Small Business Champion of the Year. What do those awards mean to you?

A. Of course it gives me some publicity and recognition, especially in the Chinese community, because the SBA award was covered by the four major Chinese news media in Hawai'i. It's a tremendous exposure for me. I didn't expect to go all the way to the top. Sometimes when you don't expect it you get it. When I got it, I did not believe it and I faxed the letter to the local SBA office to verify that it wasn't a joke.

Breaking News/Updates Updated at 1:47 p.m., Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Choi honored with national small business award

Johnson Choi, president of the Hong Kong.China.Hawai'i Chamber of Commerce, has been honored with a national award by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Choi was named the SBA Hawai'i District's 2008 Minority Small Business Champion and this week was selected as the SBA's national winner. He competed with winners from nine SBA regions across the country.

For 20 years, Choi has provided advice to small business owners, organized business seminars and workshops, linked export and import resources, and developed Web sites and materials to disseminate to all types of small businesses.

Naomi Masuno, business banking officer with First Hawaiian Bank, nominated Choi for the SBA award and said he is deserving of the honor.

"He is always willing to help small businesses in getting started, planning and finding new customers through exporting," Masuno said. "He shares an amazing wealth of knowledge, particularly with minority business owners interested in doing business in Asia."

Choi and the other winners of the local SBA awards will be honored at the annual luncheon April 30 at the Hilton Hawaiian Village.

Honolulu Hawaii USA March 24 2008

Bev Gannon, owner of Hali'imaile General Store and Joe's Bar on Maui, has been chosen Hawai'i's Small Business Person of the Year by the Small Business Administration. Gannon launched her entrepreneurial career more than 20 years ago with a catering business run out of her garage. She began with three workers in 1985, and now employs about 130. One of the 12 founders of Hawaii Regional Cuisine, Gannon prepares her award-winning dishes in an old plantation store in Makawao.

Johnson Choi, who was recognized as the state Minority Small Business Champion, also won at the Western regional level and was named the national award winner in the category.

Choi, president of the Hong Kong-China-Hawai'i Chamber of Commerce, works with many Asian immigrants to start businesses, particularly in the area of exporting.

Hawai'i had three other regional winners.

Bill Spencer, head of the Hawaii Venture Capital Association, won in the category of Financial Services.

Pam Tumpap, of the Maui Chamber of Commerce, won in the category of Small Business Journalist.

David Fell, of Hawaiian Sunshine Nursery, won in the category of Small Business Exporter.

Other state winners:

Rex Matsuno, president of the Hilo, Hawai'i-based seafood company Suisan Co., received the Entrepreneurial Success Award;

Thomas Park, owner of Leather Soul, was named Young Entrepreneur of the Year;

Joann Seery, owner of BNI Hawaii, was named Women in Business Champion;

Jonathan Ota, fourth-generation owner of Tip Top Care & Bakery in Lihu'e, Kaua'i, won in the category of Family Owned Small Business.

Honolulu Hawaii USA March 24 2008: U.S. Small Business Administration Names Hawaii’s Best Small Businesses for 2008

蔡永強榮獲少數族裔小企業獎 (本報夏威夷訊) 

香港中國夏威夷商會 (Hong Kong.China.Hawaii Chamber of Commerce (HKCHcc)) 創會會長蔡永強 (Johnson W. K. Choi) 最近接獲美國小企業行政署(SBA)通知,他獲選為“2008年少數族裔小企業年度首獎”(2008 Minority Small Business Champion Of The Year)。


蔡永強預訂於四月二十一日至二十三日前往華盛頓首府領獎。蔡永強曾經獲得夏威夷及太平洋區域的少數族裔小企業獎,此次再接再厲,更上層樓獲得聯邦政府頒發的首獎,擊敗全美國五十洲和關島的參選者,脫穎而出,實為華人之光。美國小企業行政署 (United States Small Business Administration (SBA)) 計劃於四月三十日(星期三)在此間希爾頓夏威夷鄉村大酒店為其舉辦一場慶祝午餐會,詳情日後將會宣布。


U.S. Small Business Administration
-- News Release --
Release Date: April 23, 2008
Contact: Dennis Byrne (202) 205-6567
Release Number: 08-43
Internet Address:

SBA Honors National Small Business Champions

WASHINGTON, D.C. –Ten small business owners and leaders of small business support organizations were recognized today by the U.S. Small Business Administration for their outstanding support of entrepreneurs. SBA Champion Awards were presented today in Washington, D.C., as part of the annual observance of National Small Business Week.

The winners include people like Rodney Hudson, a service-disabled veteran who served in Iraq; Keith
McLaughlin, who heads SBA lending at The Bank of Missouri; John and Brendan Ready, two remarkable and innovative young lobstermen from Maine; and Robert L. Johnston, a longtime seeds man who knows that big things grow from tiny seeds.

The Champions awards were presented at the Champion Award Winners Gala, sponsored by Administaff.

“The SBA is proud to honor these men and women as true champions of small business, whose tireless efforts have provided tangible and significant support

to small businesses and to their communities,” said SBA Administrator Steve Preston. “They provide the counseling, advice and support that small business owners need, and foster an environment in which the spirit of entrepreneurship can flourish.”

The award winners are recognized for their efforts and excellence in various aspects of small business.

This year’s Champion Awards recognize winners from California, Florida, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Missouri, Rhode Island and Wisconsin. For more detailed information on all the winners please go to 

The winners are:

2008 Financial Services Champion
W. Keith McLaughlin
Senior Vice President
SBA Lending Division
The Bank of Missouri
Columbia, Missouri

2008 SBA Young Entrepreneur
John and Brendan Ready
Ready Seafood
Portland, Maine

2008 Veteran Champion
Rodney Hudson, President
Quicksilver Analytics, Inc.
Abingdon, Maryland

2008 Small Business Exporter
Oscar Neal Asbury
Greenfield Worldtrade Inc.
Weston, Florida

2008 Jeffrey Butland Family-Owned Business
Robert A. Antignano
Angelo’s Civita Farnese
Providence, Rhode Island

2008 Small Business Journalist
Ronald Ameln, President
St. Louis Small Business, Inc.
St. Louis, Missouri

2008 Minority Champion
Johnson W. K. Choi
Hong Kong.China.Hawaii Chamber of Commerce
Honolulu, Hawaii

2008 Women in Business Champion
Julann Jatczak
Vice President
Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

2008 Home-Based Business Champion
Kimberly Davidson
MBD Marketing Inc.
Murrieta, California

2008 Entrepreneurial Success
Robert L. Johnson
Chairman & Founder
Johnny’s Selected Seeds
Winslow, Maine

U.S. Small Business Administration
-- News Release --

Release Date: April 16, 2008
Contact: Cecelia Taylor (202) 401-3059
Release Number: 08-34
Internet Address:

State Small Business Award Winners Heading to Washington To Vie for National Small Business of the Year Award

WASHINGTON – State Small Business Person of the Year winners from across the country are heading to Washington, D.C., next week to see which of them will be named National Small Business Person of the Year at the U.S. Small Business Administration’s National Small Business Week celebration, April 21-25.

The National Small Business Person of the Year and runners-up will be selected from among the 53 state small business winners, including the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam. Small businesses being honored reflect a wide range of businesses, from locomotive repair to an employment search Web site; from a music box manufacturer to a hardware store.

In fact, the public can “attend” Small Business Week events virtually, via the SBA’s streaming video. All events will be available on SBA’s free continuous streaming Web video at

National Small Business Week 2008 will begin with three days of events in Washington, D.C., at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, where more than 100 outstanding business owners from across the country will be recognized. In addition to the State Small Business Persons of the Year, men and women involved in disaster recovery, government contracting, small business champions as well as SBA partners in financial and entrepreneurial development will be honored.

A focal point this year will be a session with President Bush at the White House on Wednesday.

The event also features a series of executive panel forums on Health Care, International Trade, Energy, and Finance. In addition, there will be a procurement session with corporate buyers and prime contractors who will discuss small business partnering and mentoring opportunities for small businesses seeking government contracts. The small business community nationwide can also take part in the forums, and view other Small Business Week events that will be Webcast live at

On April 24, Small Business Week moves to New York, where SBA will participate in the closing bell ceremony at NASDAQ to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Women’s Business Center program, which has served more than 650,000 new and growing small business owners in the past five years alone. An awards event celebrating the top small business lenders and a financial forum on community investment, cosponsored with the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City, will culminate activities in New York City.

For more information about National Small Business Week, including a detailed schedule, visit online at  Media outlets are encouraged to cover National Small Business Week events, and can also register online.

Editor’s note: All award winners are listed on the Web at 

The 2008 National Small Business Week award events will include the following individuals and groups:
• The National Small Business Person of the Year, selected from the 53 State Small Business Persons of the Year.
• The Champion Awards, recognizing both individuals and organizations for their achievements on behalf of small business, including minority, women and veteran-owned small businesses.
• The Phoenix Awards, recognizing a public official, two business owners and a volunteer whose efforts have helped their businesses or communities recover successfully from a disaster.
• The Lender of the Year, honoring financial institutions, including those that provide financing for small business exporters and inner city businesses.
• The Entrepreneurial Development Awards honoring Small Business Development Centers, Women’s Business Centers and SCORE for their innovation and excellence in assistance to entrepreneurs and small businesses.
• The Dwight D. Eisenhower Award for Excellence, recognizing large prime contractors who have excelled in their utilization of small businesses as suppliers and subcontractors.
• The Gold Star Award, recognizing exemplary performance of federal staff who manage the aggressive goals and strategic initiatives that help ensure a role for small business in the federal marketplace.
• The Frances Perkins Vanguard Award, honoring government and industry for excellence in the use of women-owned small businesses as prime contractors and subcontractors.
• The Small Business Prime Contractor and Small Business Subcontractor of the Year, honoring small businesses that have provided government and industry with outstanding goods and services as prime or sub contractors.

Small Business Week award winners will meet with top agency officials, congressional representatives and national business leaders. The State Small Business Award Winners and recipients of the Champion and other Entrepreneurial awards are nominated by local trade associations, chambers of commerce and business organizations and government agencies.
- - -
The U.S. Small Business Administration thanks the cosponsors of National Small Business Week and related events: SCORE, Cisco, Sam’s Club, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Chevron, Administaff, IBM, Dun & Bradstreet, The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, Federal Allies Institute, MyBizHomepage, Lowes, NFIB, Consumer Energy Alliance, National Small Business Association (NSBA), Direct Selling Education Foundation, National Association of Development Companies, FedSources, Association of Small Business Development Centers, Banco Popular, and the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City.

The U.S. Small Business Administration’s participation in this cosponsored activity does not constitute an express or implied endorsement of any cosponsor’s, donor’s, grantee’s, contractor’s or participant’s opinions, products, or services. All SBA programs and cosponsored programs are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. Reasonable arrangements for persons with disabilities will be made, if requested at least 2 weeks in advance, by contacting Co-sponsorship Authorization #SBW2008

WASHINGTON – Small business and advocacy groups, bloggers and think tanks can take part in National Small Business Week 2008, featuring national awards and issue forums at the agency’s premier annual event.

These public policy forums will feature leading experts discussing key issues that impact small business and the economy:

Secretary Michael Leavitt, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Ambassador Susan C. Schwab, United States Trade Representative
Newt Gingrich, Chairman, American Solutions and former House Speaker
Clarence “Bud” Albright Jr., Under Secretary of Energy
Paul A. Schneider, Deputy Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security
Michael E. Porter, Chairman, Initiative for a Competitive Inner City
John Hope Bryant, Founder of Operation HOPE
Other prominent business leaders, CEOs and politicos

Continuous Live Webcasting of Executive Policy Forums
Healthcare: Cost and Coverage: Healthcare Chicken and Egg Trade
Going Global: Accessing New Markets Energy
Meeting the Energy Challenge: Impacts & Opportunities for Small Business
Procurement: Secrets of Building Alliance Partnerships with Prime Contractors
Financial: Investing in the Future: Financing Inner City Businesses (in NYC)

Go online to 
All Forums will be Webcast Live across the Nation. Award events also will be Webcast live.
Sponsored by Cisco; Event times and dates subject to change.
Please check the Web site for most current information.

April 22, 2008 – Mandarin Oriental Hotel and Conference Center, Wash., D.C.
9:30 am – 10:40 am,
Healthcare: Cost and Coverage: Healthcare Chicken and Egg

10:45 am – 11:30 am
Keynote Remarks by Newt Gingrich

11:35 pm – 12:20 pm
Keynote Remarks by Michael Levitt

12:30 pm – 3:00 pm
Keynote Remarks by SBA Administrator Steve Preston & the National Awards Honoring State Small Business Winners

3:30 pm – 5:00 pm
Trade: Going Global: Accessing New Markets

April 23, 2008 – Mandarin Oriental Hotel and Conference Center, Wash., D.C.
8:00 am – 10:00 am
Keynote Remarks by Secretary Stephen Moret, Louisiana
Economic Development & the Phoenix Awards

10:30 am – 12:00 pm
Energy: Impacts & Opportunities for Small Business

12:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Keynote Remarks by Minority Business Development Agency Director Ronald Langston & the National Awards Honoring Procurement Winners

3:00 pm – 4:30 pm
Procurement: Secrets of Building Alliance Partnerships with Prime Contractors

7:30 pm – 11:00 pm
Champion Awards

April 25, 2008 – The Westin New York at Times Square, New York
11:00 am – 2:00 pm
Financial: Investing in the Future: Financing Inner City Businesses; Keynote Remarks by Michael Porter & the Lender Awards

(Video on Demand of events and forums will be available 24 hours after the event. Visit for schedule and details.)

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