University of Hawaii to build student entrepreneur center

HONOLULU (AP) — The University of Hawaii is expanding its flagship Manoa campus to build a learning center and dorm for students who want to be entrepreneurs.

The complex, called the Residences for Innovative Student Entrepreneurs, or RISE, will be a six-story building set to open in 2023, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported. Officials gathered for a ceremonial groundbreaking on Thursday.

There will be nearly 400 dorm beds with nearby classrooms, labs and meeting spaces geared toward helping students start businesses.

“With RISE our students will benefit from having a state-of-the art facility whose scale and programs are found in only a handful of universities in the world,” said Susan Yamada, board member and former executive director of the university's Pacific Asian Center for Entrepreneurship.

Under a public-private partnership, the University of Hawaii Foundation will be the owner of the complex and help fund operations. The site was purchased in 2017 for $8 million.

The First Hawaiian Bank Foundation and Dods Family Foundation have each pledged $250,000.

“We desperately need critical thinkers and entrepreneurs in a state so reliant on small and medium sized businesses," said Walter A. Dods Jr., a University of Hawaii graduate and former First Hawaiian CEO, in a statement.