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WENDY AWAI-DAKROUB

CEO, Founder of ‘Ōhi’a Technology Group

Success:

One of fifteen women selected to participate in the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) Enterprising Women of Color (EWOC) Business Center Inaugural Certification Training Cohort in December 2020. She is currently in the final stages of receiving her certification.

Wendy Awai-Dakroub, is the CEO and founder of ‘Ōhi’a Technology Group, one of the fifteen women selected to participate in the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) Enterprising Women of Color (EWOC) Business Center Inaugural Certification Training Cohort in December 2020. Wendy is a multi-ethnic woman and identifies as Hawaiian, Puerto Rican, and Filipino. She has over 10 years of experience in the technology and software solutions industry.

After a few career changes, Wendy found her niche when an opportunity presented itself in the Middle East. She moved to Dubai and began working for a major Informational Technology (IT) company, Cisco Systems, as their Marketing Manager. Through this position, she managed the Middle East region and traveled extensively through the Middle East, Europe, Africa, and Asia. At the same time, Wendy opened and founded the first Sushi restaurant franchise in Dubai, Sumo Sushi & Bento. Upon returning to Hawai’i, she decided to pursue her career in technology consulting, ‘Ōhi’a Technology Group.

‘Ōhi’a Technology Group is an IT technology and software consulting business. Some services offered to clients are service management, application deployment, cloud migration, and custom web development. Wendy has been committed to help native, non-profit, federal, state, local, and private sector businesses and provide them with innovative technology solutions where it’s needed. Wendy was faced with the challenge of losing her income needed to continue restaurant operations during the pandemic. However, with her numerous skills and remarkable background, she pivoted to opening ‘Ōhi’a Technology Group.


“I lost my income during the COVID-19 pandemic. I owned and operated a few restaurants and had to find another source of income to make a living. I relied heavily on my knowledge and experience I had 30 years ago when working for Cisco Systems as their Regional Marketing Manager. Marketing and IT is where most of my experience lies … Through this company, there are moments where it becomes challenging for me to find local talent to work in the IT industry and it often means people leave Hawai’i to seek employment with higher salaries on the mainland to make a living. However, the flexibility and the thrill of having constant change and innovations allow me to feel the rewarding parts of this industry. My ultimate goal is to always provide my clients with the best service and ensure that their satisfaction and overall happiness with my services are my number one priority…” – Wendy Awai-Dakroub, CEO, ‘Ōhi’a Technology Group


Upon hearing about the MBDA EWOC Business Center’s inaugural cohort, she was excited and curious to see how the cohort would go. “I was curious and wanted to learn more about what this certification cohort was about. I never heard of or about certifications for women-owned businesses before this opportunity…”. Wendy was recommended by the Council of Native Hawaiian Advancement and Marí, from the Villa Business Consulting Inc. (VBC Inc.).

“My motivation to sign up stemmed from learning about the numerous Hawai’i contracts leaving Hawai’i and being given to the mainland companies. I wanted to change that dynamic so Native Hawaiian children can benefit from these changes and contracts in the future… Before beginning this cohort, I thought it would be difficult because anything involving the Federal government can require a lot of time and patience. However, my experience with this certification training cohort was very informational I learned a lot about how and what federal contractors are looking for from small businesses. It was such an eye-opening experience because as a small business we often don’t focus on the big picture. After completing the certification training cohort, it led me to see how much of my company I wasn’t focused on. It allowed me to get my business more organized, such as accounting, budgeting, and my paperwork, to get my business certified.” – Wendy Awai-Dakroub


‘Ōhi’a Technology Group is now in the final stages of getting certified! During this process, Wendy did receive a lead from VBC Inc. to provide software solutions for delivery services for a client. “Although this isn’t a ‘contract’, it is a great lead and we are looking forward to working with this client and seeing how the launch of this new service goes in Hawai’i”.

Wendy provided her piece of advice to aspiring women small business owners:

“We tend, as women to do everything ourselves and we get overwhelmed when pulled in so many directions. As much as making money to survive is important, women should focus more on the big picture by setting the business up for success in the future. This involves having or investing in a business plan. Without it, there’s no focus”.