10+ Best Small Business Ideas to Start in Hawaii [2023])

Explore top small business ideas for Hawaii in 2023! Uncover opportunities in tourism, food, retail, and more to kickstart your venture.

By Nick Cotter
Updated Feb 07, 2024

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Hey there, aspiring entrepreneur! Ever dreamt of launching your own business in the paradise that is Hawaii? Well, you're in the right place! As we wave goodbye to 2022 and welcome 2023 with open arms, it's the perfect time to dust off those entrepreneurial dreams and dive into the world of small business ownership. And let's be honest, could there be a better place to start than Hawaii? We think not!

With its unique blend of rich culture, breathtaking landscapes, and thriving tourism industry, Hawaii offers a wealth of opportunities for budding business owners. But where to start, you ask? That's where we come in! We've compiled a list of over 10 of the best small business ideas to start in Hawaii in 2023. So, whether you're a local looking to capitalize on your home turf, or a mainlander ready to take the plunge into island life, we've got you covered.

So, grab a cup of Kona coffee, sit back, and let's embark on this exciting journey together. Ready to turn your business dreams into reality? Let's dive in!

Tropical Fruit Stand

Our Tropical Fruit Stand is a vibrant, refreshing oasis that offers a wide array of exotic fruits from around the globe. It's not just a place to buy fruits, it's a unique experience that tantalizes your senses with the enticing aroma of ripe fruits, the vivid colors of our fresh produce, and the exciting taste of our exotic selections.

Here are a few reasons why visiting our Tropical Fruit Stand is a good idea:

  • Freshness Guaranteed: We source our fruits directly from the growers, ensuring that you get only the freshest, most delicious fruits.
  • Variety: We offer a broad range of fruits, from the familiar to the exotic. Whether you're looking for a ripe mango or a rare dragon fruit, you'll find it at our stand.
  • Health Benefits: Tropical fruits are packed with vitamins, antioxidants, and other nutrients that boost your health and immunity.
  • Eco-Friendly: By shopping at our stand, you're supporting sustainable farming practices and reducing your carbon footprint.
  • Experience the Tropics: Even if you can't travel, you can still enjoy the flavors of the tropics right here.
image of a Tropical Fruit Stand

Surfing Lessons

If you're looking for an exciting and memorable experience during your visit to Hawaii, taking surfing lessons is an excellent idea. Hawaii, known as the birthplace of surfing, offers perfect waves for both beginners and advanced surfers. Here are some reasons why you should consider surfing lessons in Hawaii:

  • Expert Instructors: Hawaii is home to numerous surfing schools with experienced instructors who can teach you the basics and advanced techniques of surfing.
  • Perfect Weather: Hawaii's climate is ideal for surfing. With warm waters all year round and consistent waves, you can surf at any time of the year.
  • Beautiful Scenery: While surfing, you can enjoy the breathtaking views of Hawaii's pristine beaches and clear blue waters.
  • Physical Fitness: Surfing is a great workout. It helps improve balance, strength, and cardiovascular fitness.
  • Cultural Experience: Surfing is deeply embedded in Hawaiian culture. By learning to surf, you're also getting a taste of Hawaii's rich history and traditions.
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Examples of successful businesses:

Opening Paragraph: Hawaii, known for its stunning landscapes, vibrant culture, and tourism industry, has also served as a fertile ground for small businesses to thrive. With a unique blend of local traditions and global influences, the Aloha State has witnessed the success of numerous entrepreneurial ventures. From innovative food concepts to sustainable tourism initiatives, here are some small business ideas that have flourished in Hawaii:

  • Food Trucks: The food truck scene in Hawaii has experienced remarkable growth, offering a diverse range of culinary delights and becoming a popular choice for locals and tourists alike. From traditional Hawaiian plate lunches to fusion cuisine, these mobile eateries have carved a niche in the local food industry.
  • Eco-Tourism: Hawaii's breathtaking natural beauty has inspired entrepreneurs to establish eco-tourism businesses focused on sustainable practices and promoting environmental awareness. These ventures offer visitors the chance to explore the islands' unique ecosystems while minimizing their ecological footprint.
  • Hawaiian Art and Crafts: Small businesses specializing in Hawaiian art and crafts have thrived by showcasing the rich cultural heritage of the islands. From handmade jewelry and traditional woodwork to intricate quilts and paintings, these businesses have found success by preserving and sharing the artistic traditions of Hawaii.
  • Surf Schools: With its world-renowned surf breaks, Hawaii has become a hub for surf enthusiasts from around the globe. Surf schools have capitalized on this demand, offering lessons and coaching services to beginners and experienced surfers alike, providing an opportunity to experience the thrill of riding the waves.
  • Farm-to-Table Restaurants: Hawaii's fertile volcanic soil and favorable climate create ideal conditions for agriculture. Farm-to-table restaurants have emerged, emphasizing locally sourced ingredients and supporting local farmers. These establishments offer a unique dining experience that celebrates the island's fresh produce and culinary traditions.
  • Adventure Tourism: Hawaii's diverse landscapes, including lush rainforests, volcanic peaks, and cascading waterfalls, have paved the way for adventure tourism businesses. From ziplining and hiking tours to helicopter rides and lava boat tours, these ventures cater to thrill-seekers looking to explore the island's natural wonders.

Local Artisan Crafts Store

A Local Artisan Crafts Store in Hawaii is a great idea for several reasons. The rich culture and traditions of the Hawaiian islands provide a unique palette of materials, techniques, and inspirations for artisan crafts. Such a store would not only offer a platform for local artisans to showcase and sell their work, but would also attract tourists looking for authentic Hawaiian souvenirs.

  • Support Local Artisans: By offering a dedicated space for local artisans to sell their crafts, the store would help to support the local economy and promote the continuation of traditional Hawaiian crafts.
  • Authentic Souvenirs: Tourists are always on the lookout for authentic souvenirs to take back home. A local artisan crafts store would provide a one-stop shop for unique, high-quality Hawaiian crafts.
  • Cultural Preservation: Traditional Hawaiian crafts are a significant part of the islands' cultural heritage. By promoting these crafts, the store would contribute to the preservation and promotion of Hawaiian culture.
  • Educational Experience: Besides selling crafts, the store could also offer workshops and demonstrations, providing both locals and tourists with an opportunity to learn about the techniques and traditions behind Hawaiian crafts.

More resources:

Hawaiian Cuisine Food Truck

A Hawaiian Cuisine Food Truck in Hawaii is a fantastic idea for several reasons:

  • Authenticity: Being located in Hawaii, the food truck can offer the most authentic Hawaiian cuisine, made with local ingredients and traditional recipes.
  • Convenience: A food truck can cater to customers wherever they are, making it easy for locals and tourists alike to enjoy Hawaiian food without having to travel far.
  • Atmosphere: The casual and laid-back vibe of a food truck perfectly complements the Hawaiian lifestyle, enhancing the dining experience.
  • Variety: A food truck can offer a diverse menu that showcases the richness of Hawaiian cuisine, from poke bowls to kalua pork.
  • Cost-effective: Compared to a traditional restaurant, a food truck requires less initial investment and operating costs, making it a financially viable business option.

Beach Photography Service

A Beach Photography Service in Hawaii is a great idea for several reasons. Hawaii's beautiful beaches provide the perfect backdrop for all types of photography, from family portraits to wedding photos. With a professional beach photography service, you can capture stunning images that showcase the natural beauty of Hawaii and create lasting memories of your time on the islands.

  • Unique Scenery: Hawaii's beaches offer unique and stunning scenery that can't be replicated elsewhere. This makes your photos stand out and adds a touch of exotic appeal.
  • Professional Quality: Hiring a professional beach photography service ensures that your photos will be of high quality. Professionals have the skills and equipment necessary to capture the best shots, even in challenging beach conditions.
  • Convenience: A beach photography service takes the hassle out of arranging a photo shoot. They handle all the details, from scouting the perfect location to setting up the shoot, so you can relax and enjoy the experience.
  • Memorable Experience: A photo shoot on a Hawaiian beach is not just about the photos, it's also a memorable experience. It's a chance to enjoy Hawaii's breathtaking beauty while creating lasting memories.

Related business ideas:

Vacation Rental Management

Vacation Rental Management in Hawaii is a fantastic idea for a multitude of reasons. Hawaii, known for its stunning beaches, serene landscapes, and vibrant culture, is a popular vacation destination for people all over the world. This creates a high demand for quality vacation rentals. Having a professional management team to oversee these properties can ensure they are well-maintained, properly marketed, and provide guests with a memorable stay.

  • Consistent Maintenance: A vacation rental management team will ensure the property is kept in top condition, handling any repairs or issues that may arise. This not only keeps the property looking its best but also ensures the comfort and safety of guests.
  • Effective Marketing: A professional management team will have the tools and expertise to effectively market the property. They will know how to highlight the property’s best features and appeal to potential renters. This can result in increased bookings and revenue.
  • Guest Satisfaction: A management team can provide top-notch customer service, addressing any concerns or needs guests may have during their stay. This can enhance the guest experience, leading to positive reviews and repeat bookings.
  • Local Knowledge: A Hawaii-based management team will have valuable local knowledge. They can provide guests with recommendations for local attractions, activities, and dining, enhancing their overall vacation experience.
  • Streamlined Operations: From handling bookings to managing cleaning services, a vacation rental management team can streamline operations. This can save property owners time and stress, allowing them to focus on other aspects of their investment.

Local Tour Guide Service

Offering a Local Tour Guide Service in Hawaii is a great idea for a variety of reasons. The rich culture, diverse natural beauty, and unique history of the islands make it a prime destination for tourists from around the world. Having a local guide can significantly enhance the visitor's experience, making their trip more enjoyable and memorable.

  • Local guides have in-depth knowledge of the area, including hidden gems that are not typically included in guidebooks or online resources.
  • Guides can provide valuable insights into the culture and history of Hawaii, offering a more immersive experience.
  • They can help visitors navigate the islands more efficiently, saving them time and reducing stress.
  • Local guides can offer personalized tours based on the interests and preferences of the visitors, ensuring a unique and tailored experience.
  • They can also assist with language barriers, making the trip more enjoyable for non-English speaking tourists.
  • Using a local guide supports the local economy and promotes sustainable tourism.

Luau Event Planning

Planning a Luau event in Hawaii is an excellent idea for a variety of reasons. Hawaii, known for its beautiful beaches and vibrant culture, is the perfect setting for this traditional Polynesian feast. Moreover, the local expertise and resources available in Hawaii make it an ideal location to plan an authentic and memorable Luau.

  • Authenticity: Hawaii is the birthplace of the Luau, so planning your event here ensures an authentic experience. You'll have access to traditional Hawaiian food, music, and dance.
  • Scenic Beauty: Hawaii's stunning landscapes and tropical climate provide the perfect backdrop for a Luau. The beautiful beaches, lush vegetation, and spectacular sunsets can enhance the overall experience of your event.
  • Local Resources: Hawaii has a wealth of local resources that can help in planning your Luau. From local caterers specializing in Hawaiian cuisine to professional Hula dancers and musicians, you'll find everything you need to make your event successful.
  • Unique Experience: A Luau is not just a feast, but a unique cultural experience. Planning a Luau in Hawaii allows your guests to immerse themselves in Hawaiian culture, making it a memorable event for everyone involved.

Sustainable Fishing Charters

Sustainable Fishing Charters in Hawaii is an excellent idea for a myriad of reasons. Not only does it offer an exciting and engaging activity for tourists and locals alike, it also plays a crucial role in preserving the delicate marine ecosystem of Hawaii. Sustainable fishing ensures that the fishing activities do not deplete the fish population or cause any harm to the marine environment.

  • Ecological balance: By adhering to sustainable fishing practices, we help maintain the ecological balance of the marine environment. This is crucial for the survival of various species and for maintaining the health of our oceans.
  • Preservation of species: Overfishing often leads to the depletion of certain fish species. Sustainable fishing ensures that the fish population is not exploited and that endangered species are protected.
  • Educational experience: Sustainable Fishing Charters in Hawaii can also provide an educational experience. They can teach the participants about the importance of preserving marine life and the methods used for sustainable fishing.
  • Economic benefits: Sustainable fishing also has economic benefits. It ensures that the fishing industry can continue to thrive in the long run, providing jobs and contributing to the economy.
  • Local culture: Fishing is an integral part of Hawaiian culture. By promoting sustainable fishing, we also help preserve this important aspect of local culture.

Custom Lei Making Business

Starting a Custom Lei Making Business in Hawaii is a great idea due to several reasons. Leis are a significant part of Hawaiian culture and are used in various occasions, making them highly sought after. Additionally, Hawaii's booming tourism industry provides a large customer base for such a business.

  • High Demand: Leis are used in Hawaii for many occasions such as graduations, weddings, birthdays, and cultural events. This creates a consistent demand for custom lei making services.
  • Cultural Significance: Leis are a symbol of the Hawaiian culture. Tourists often seek authentic cultural experiences, and a custom lei making business can provide this.
  • Profitability: Due to the high demand and willingness of customers to pay for custom, handmade leis, such a business can be very profitable.
  • Tourism: Hawaii is a popular tourist destination. Tourists often want to take home a piece of the Hawaiian culture, and leis serve as a perfect souvenir.
  • Creativity: A custom lei making business allows for creativity and personal expression. Each lei can be unique and tailored to the customer's preferences, making the business interesting and fulfilling.


Founder and CEO

I'm Nick, co-founder of newfoundr.com, dedicated to helping aspiring entrepreneurs succeed. As a small business owner with over five years of experience, I have garnered valuable knowledge and insights across a diverse range of industries. My passion for entrepreneurship drives me to share my expertise with aspiring entrepreneurs, empowering them to turn their business dreams into reality.

Through meticulous research and firsthand experience, I uncover the essential steps, software, tools, and costs associated with launching and maintaining a successful business. By demystifying the complexities of entrepreneurship, I provide the guidance and support needed for others to embark on their journey with confidence.

From assessing market viability and formulating business plans to selecting the right technology and navigating the financial landscape, I am dedicated to helping fellow entrepreneurs overcome challenges and unlock their full potential. As a steadfast advocate for small business success, my mission is to pave the way for a new generation of innovative and driven entrepreneurs who are ready to make their mark on the world.