SALT LAKE CITY, April 29, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Nav, the simple and intelligent financing platform for small businesses, today announced Upcycle Hawaii LLC as the latest $10,000 grand prize winner of its Small Business Grant. Upcycle Hawaii is a brand and manufacturer focused on creating quality products with reclaimed and repurposed materials on the Big Island in Hilo, Hawaii. Owner and “Lead Trashionista” of Upcycle Hawaii, Mattie Mae Larson, plans to use the funds to grow her internal team and invest in new tools.
“This past year presented an extreme challenge for most small businesses across the country and around the world. Nav’s Small Business Grant was created in 2018, but in the last year, the grant has become a lifeline and second chance for some business owners,” said Greg Ott, Nav CEO. “Upcycle Hawaii’s work upcycling trash to turn it into treasure is not only positively impacting the environment, but also their local Hawaiian economy. The vision and love Mattie Mae has put into her business is inspiring, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to award her and her team with this grant.”
In 2016, Larson founded Upcycle Hawaii to raise awareness for sustainability in Hawaii. Growing up on the Big Island, Larson saw the severe decline of local coral reefs, beaches, and parks due to marine debris and plastic pollution firsthand. She knew she wanted to combine her dream to be a business owner with her passion for sustainability to help solve the issues of waste management in her hometown. Now in her fifth year of business, the Upcycle Hawaii team is quickly approaching the milestone of 30,000 square feet and 500 lbs of sheet plastics diverted from local landfills.
“As the ‘Lead Trashionista’, I love that I get to make a positive impact on my community through my small business. Through my work at Upcycle Hawaii LLC, I’ve added jobs to my community, diverted landfill from local landfills, and educated students and clubs on the importance of a sustainable business,” said Larson, founder and owner at Upcycle Hawaii LLC. “This grant money will be imperative to the Upcycle team’s development and growth over the next couple of months. It will allow us to focus more time on thorough training, invest in new tools and equipment, and lessen our stress surrounding our growing expenses this next quarter.”
Nav also awarded a $5,000 runner-up prize to Chow Corp., a nonprofit providing culinary arts training to military veterans and spouses in Maryland. Founded in January 2020, the nonprofit run by Jordan Foley and Charlie McGovern was started to change the way nonprofits think about vocational training for veterans and military spouses. To-date, Chow has helped dozens of military veterans and spouses become culinary business owners.
“We decided to create a nonprofit that bridged the gap from when a veteran left the service to starting a business in the culinary industry. We found the perfect way to do that was through food truck training, which offers the perfect microcosm of culinary management skills, from marketing to motor generator startup to mincing onions,” said Chow Corp. owners McGovern and Foley.
Nav created the Nav Small Business Grant in 2018 to raise awareness about the obstacles small business owners and entrepreneurs experience when building and maintaining their businesses. As of April 2021, Nav has awarded $139,500 to small businesses across the country. In the last round of grant winners, Nav provided a $10,000 grand prize to Prince Abou’s Butchery, a provider of locally sourced, natural halal meats.
The next round of Nav’s Small Business Grants are open now and will close on May 31, 2021. Learn more about the grant and how to apply here.