Athleisure startup ‘God’s Lanes’ wins $25,000 MEO grant
Landa Ampong’s business plan for God’s Lanes, LLC, a startup e-commerce retail company that offers religious sportswear for Christian men and women, was judged the best plan and won $25,000 in a Maui Business Development Center competition.
BDC Director David Daly presented the video ad on Tuesday, October 5, to 30 entrepreneurs who submitted business plans for the competition. All participants took part in MEO’s four core business development course, which is offered over six weeks several times during the year. The next set of classes is scheduled to begin on November 2.
Funding for Ampong’s and seven other grants was provided by councilman Tasha Kama, who used her district’s funds.
“Small business is at the heart of our local economy, and I am excited to see the results of these entrepreneurs turning their ideas into revenue and jobs,” said Kama, a member of the MEO Board of Directors. “By supporting this important business education program and covering a portion of the winners’ startup costs, the county has helped launch these businesses in the right direction: on the path to success.”
Ampong, a Lahaina resident, registered the LLC in August 2020 and received the trade name God’s Lane approved for use by the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs in January 2021.
God’s Lane’s mission is to “encourage you to walk the path that God follows for your life, by providing you with daily reminders of Him as we wear our tracksuits at ease from one life mission to the next.”
The idea for God’s Lane arose during the pandemic when the Ampong family began working to improve their physical, mental and spiritual health. Ampong said in her business plan that they were looking for modern, durable and versatile sportswear with biblical messages but could not find it.
Later when Ampong was able to return to her job as the pandemic subsided, she was still working from home. She wanted clothes that would allow her to transition from virtual work meetings to the gym and other parenting activities.
Her business plan said Ambong decided to fill the sportswear blank with biblical messages and called her work “God’s Paths” for the fact that God has a specific plan for each individual’s life.
Three business plans received $10,000 in grants. Track the company, owner and business description:
- Northshore Nice Cream Naomi Ram is a Macauau-based start-up food truck serving healthy vegan ice cream, snacks and juices made with local fruits.
- Adaptive Hawaiʻi, LLC, Jennifer Gladwin, a startup focused on providing adaptive equipment, accessible concierge services, and comprehensive resources for visitors, locals, and businesses on Maui.
- Malia Lauer, LLC Malia Lauer, a physical therapy startup serving the underserved rural area of East Maui from Nakuru to Kipahulu. Licensed physical therapists will provide individualized evaluation and treatment of orthopedic, neurological, pelvic floor, pediatric, and sports-related injuries.
Four other business plans received $5,000 grants:
- Salt Ice Hawaiʻi, LLC, Jessie Stone, A solution for cooling fish and keeping fish fresh after fishing. Not found on islands, New Zealand salt flake ice is used.
- Maui Balloon Décor, Jasmine Delon, a high-end balloon decor company for corporate, public events and personal celebrations. The company can produce columns, arches, photographs, custom sculptures, and balloon bouquets.
- On The Move, LLC, Mele Andrade, a company that offers summer sports camps for children from kindergarten through fiveNS A class that encourages a healthy lifestyle by teaching basic sports skills, healthy nutrition and social/emotional skills.
- Lucky Cat Provisions, Eden and Teak McAfee, a local grocery reinvented to offer premium specialty foods and tabletop goods, sourced from local farms and nearby kitchens. Scheduled to launch in January 2022, the store will also offer vegan snacks, gourmet desserts, sunset specials and dining accessories.
Grants will not go directly to startups. BDC staff at MEO will ensure that scholarship recipients have completed requirements to become a legitimate business in Hawaii, such as registration filings and tax forms. Next, the BDC staff will work with the recipients to come up with a list of suppliers, for whom the MEO will be paid.
“The judging was very difficult with so many great creative business ideas,” Daly said. “There will be business arising from those grant applicants who have not been selected.
“We thank Councilman Tasha Kama for giving these eight entrepreneurs some capital to turn their dreams on paper into reality, and the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development, Mayor Michael Victorino and Maui County Council for funding the MEO Business Development Center.”
The judges are Wayne Wong, Director of the Small Business Development Center; Lalin Manlapau, Assistant Vice President and Banker for Business at First Hawaiian Bank; Jacob Simmons, Bank of Hawaii Private Banking; and Jerry Smith, director of budgeting and financial oversight for the Maui Center for High Performance Computing.
This was a one-time scholarship program for entrepreneurs who completed the four core business planning course. The next round of Core Four runs from 9 to 11 a.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays, from November 2 to December 2. The cost of the course is $50. Financial assistance is available.