September 22, 2020





Dynamic Lineup of Creative Disciplines Coached by Leading Industry Experts Available to Hawai‘i’s Entrepreneurs


HONOLULU – The state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism’s (DBEDT) Creative Industries Division (CID) announces that applications are being accepted for the five Creative Lab Hawai‘i (CLH) Weekend Ideation Programs held virtually, providing Hawai‘i’s entrepreneurs with the training and development needed to be primed for opportunities to export their intellectual property globally. Deadline for applications for these free talent development programs is October 30, 2020, and participants must first join a mandatory info session to be accepted into the program. Info sessions are hosted via Zoom and scheduled weekly on Wednesdays from now through October.


The CLH Weekend Ideation Programs are designed for individuals who have been working on projects for particular platforms and/or pursuing a career in a specific artistic craft, offering insights from industry experts into the business side of a diverse repertoire of creative disciplines. The 2020-2021 program slate includes an Indigenous Storytellers ideation, following its successful inaugural workshop last year, along with all-new offerings in Acting, Theater, Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality, and Directing.  


“Developing Hawai‘i’s talent pipeline is crucial to our economic recovery as we continue to build and strengthen our entrepreneurial and creative community in these unprecedented times,” said Mike McCartney, director of DBEDT. “The Weekend Ideation Programs provide a focused platform to cultivate the incredible ingenuity of our local talent.”


Preparing entrepreneurs with the skillsets to nimbly respond to openings in the marketplace will be essential to recapturing economic growth opportunities in the creative sector following the impact of the pandemic. Based on an analysis conducted by the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program, the study estimated losses of 2.7 million jobs and more than $150 billion in sales of goods and services for creative industries nationwide due to the COVID-19 crisis.


Said Georja Skinner, division chief DBEDT’s Creative Industries Division and founder of CLH, “Now more than ever our creatives are hurting due to the loss of income. The CLH program provides the community with new avenues to strengthen their business acumen, opening up new markets, all with the guidance of coaching from leading industry creatives. Our entrepreneurs come through the process better positioned to develop their own opportunities in a global marketplace and to monetize their craft and content.”


CLH Weekend Ideation Programs consist of an all-day Saturday and Sunday ideation session presented via Zoom, as well as three months of follow-up coaching sessions. A baseline of experience in a specific industry sector being covered is required. Interested parties must register online at before the October 28, 2020 deadline to schedule their mandatory information session, held on Wednesdays at 6:00 p.m. HST via Zoom. Attendance is a prerequisite for receiving an application for any of the following workshops:


ACTING – November 14 & 15, 2020

Developed for actors of stage, screen and voiceover who are ready to accelerate their careers by honing their business acumen, the ideation provides participants with insights into navigating the entertainment industry and what it takes to distinguish themselves from their competitors from a business perspective—a knowledge aspiring actors often do not possess. Program Director for the workshop is Hawaii-born actor Kimee Balmilero, renown for her regular role as Medical Examiner Dr. Noelani Cunha on CBS’ “Hawaii Five-0” and “Magnum P.I.”


INDIGENOUS STORYTELLERS – November 21 & 22, 2020

Designed to help emerging storytellers find a pathway for developing their stories for global media platforms while retaining the integrity of their distinct voices, the workshop is geared for creative entrepreneurs who self-identify as members of an indigenous community, as well as individuals seeking to partner with these entrepreneurs on creative projects. Born and raised on  O‘ahu, Program Director Jason Suapaia brings his expertise as a seasoned executive for over 16 years to the ideation. Jason has experience managing creative professionals and various media projects at companies such as 1013 Integrated, PBS Hawai‘i, and Ocean Blue Hawaii.


THEATER – December 5 & 6, 2020

Focusing on creative entrepreneurs who are writing and/or producing plays, the ideation will be conducted by Program Director and Hawaii resident Michael Jackowitz. The Tony Award-winning producer has served as the Musical Theater Liaison for the Harold Prince Musical Theater Program at The Directors Company in New York (1993) and is the Founding Partner of WitzEnd Productions, formed in 2013 for the creation of New Work. He continues to serve as Rubicon Theatre’s Director of New Work in California. Michael’s extensive experience as a Broadway producer includes past productions such as Tuck Everlasting, the highly-anticipated Diana, slated for 2021, and his newest production Estella Scrooge, slated for debut virtually in December 2020.



Ideal for creatives who are planning projects on emerging VR/AR platforms, the workshop will explore how recent technological advancements in these fields have revealed exciting new enterprises and how to leverage these opportunities.

DIRECTING – February 27 & 28, 2021

This workforce development training session provides insights specifically into directing for micro-budget films. Micro-budget motion pictures are typically budgeted for $200,000 and under, with the program’s preferred focus geared towards projects that can be budgeted at $50,000 and under. Participants will learn all-important strategies to maximize their creative and financial resources.


“Developing entrepreneurial capacity is perhaps all the more essential now for our creatives to successfully navigate a competitive marketplace through their craft,” said CLH Executive Director Michael Palmieri, who is instrumental in selecting participants from the pool of applicants and identifying A-list talent to coach the workshops. “It is phenomenal to see what comes out of these diverse ideations, as participants become empowered with new tools to take the next step in their project plans and to accelerate their trade skillsets.”


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About CID (Creative Industries Division)
CID, a division within DBEDT, is the state’s lead agency dedicated to advocating for and accelerating the growth of Hawai‘i’s Creative Economy. Through initiatives, program development, and strategic partnerships, the division and its branches implement activities to expand the business development, global export and investment capacity of Hawai‘i’s arts, culture, music, film, literary, publishing, digital and new media industries.  

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About CLH (Creative Lab Hawaii Program)
The Creative Lab Hawai’i Program was founded in 2012 by the Hawai‘i State Department of Business, Economic, Development and Tourism (DBEDT)’s Creative Industries Division to accelerate the growth of Hawai‘i’s creative entrepreneurs through immersive, hands-on training in broadband/new media, producing, screenwriting, interactive media, music and design/fashion. The CLH Program, a key facet of Hawai‘i’s creative economy, is developing an ecosystem to increase export, attract investment and build the State’s creative entrepreneurial capacity in media, music and fashion/design. The CLH Program features three program components: 1) Immersive Programs; 2) Ideation Workshops; and 3) Public Keynotes. Website:


About DBEDT (Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism)
DBEDT is Hawai‘i’s resource center for economic and statistical data, business development opportunities, energy and conservation information, and foreign trade advantages. DBEDT’s mission is to achieve a Hawai‘i economy that embraces innovation and is globally competitive, dynamic and productive, providing opportunities for all Hawai‘i’s  citizens. Through its attached agencies, the department fosters planned community development, creates affordable workforce housing units in high-quality living environments, and promotes innovation sector job growth.



Media Contact:

Georja Skinner

Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism

(808) 586-2364

[email protected]