2020 Annual Report
Bizgenics Foundation, a Hawaii-Based 501(C)(3) Nonprofit Organization
From the Chairman & “Chief Lemon Head”
2020: The Year of the Unexpected
The past year for Bizgenics was one of pivots, re-positioning, and new programs. The horror of COVID-19 causing passing and damaging businesses cannot be understated, however entrepreneurship teaches us that market disruptions make way for rebirths and new opportunities.
For example, the Star-Advertiser and TV news stations reported in early March that Lemonade Alley was one of the first large events cancelled due to COVID-19. And while many were dismayed, as the months progressed it proved to be the right course of action. More importantly, a silver lining appeared in the cloud of COVID with Bizgenics receiving 20 fully paid CARES Act interns who, among other things, worked on upgrading Lemonade Alley to a new on-campus model for teachers to run in their own in classrooms. It’s safer, involves more kids, and costs us less to operate with lower risks. In a related rainbow, our Project Lemon Tree school tree planting program was also halted but re-birthed as a residential tree planting program with hundreds of trees placed as urban reforestation installations. We’re still looking to activate the science of PLT Orchards as a truly sustainable state agriculture program, so let us know of any opportunities that come to mind.
COVID-19 also disrupted education systems with schools turning to online solutions. This spawned deep interest in our BizzyB online project-based learning system with new partners coming aboard, both locally and on the mainland. We were even contracted by Island Pacific Academy to create a new vision for their school which resulted in our STEP Learning™ Method and Fab Five™ Design Think model being written in to flip their school over the next two years to become the first high school in the country specializing in design-thinking. Meanwhile, we created a new 21st Century Literacy curriculum based on SEO (Search Engine Optimization) for James Campbell High School, worked with 8 student STEMworks interns over the summer to create UN SDG Goals curriculum in BizzyB, and started work on a Workforce Development Council contract for 4 new entrepreneurial experiences for at-risk youth at the Youth Services Center, Dillingham.
On the story front, Bizgenics was awarded a contract by the State Creative Industries Division to operate the new soundstage at the Entrepreneur’s Sandbox in Kakaʻako. Bizgenics proved to be the right combination of education, entrepreneurship and digital media to elevate what we dubbed “ID8 Studios” (see ID8.org). We see this project as a key to digital literacy, digital media / storytelling and building both Hawaiʻi’s brand and the creative production industry in Hawaiʻi. The studio is available for rent, so please bring productions to the space.
Finally, as if things couldn’t get more whacky in the age of COVID-19, last November, Kamehameha Schools funded a film documentary project on the Shaka gesture that we had begun, but shuttered due to COVID-19. It’s an epic story with wisdoms that are relevant to getting along and living large. We’re now back in production with a unique “democratized” crowd-source model that involves thousands of Hawaiʻi’s K-12 students and residents in creating animation, video, and SWAG merchandise designs. The pile on has begun with the signing of an award-winning Hawaiian director and the addition of a top TV/Film director/producer as a co-executive producer for the picture. Many more team members are sought like funders, sponsors and participants, so don’t be shy to recommend folks who may have an interest. See the story at ShakaFilm.com.
OK. I’m often told to stop and breath… so after a deep breath, here’s to an epic 2021.
I look forward to serving with you.
Love, Lemons & Aloha,
Steve Sue, Chief Lemon Head & Chairman
While COVID-19 put some of our programs on hold, we saw the demand for BizzyB, our collaborative online learning management system, grow. Beginning in April 2020, BizzyB helped HIplan Hackathon go 100% virtual. A month later we assisted a STEMworks Hackathon. Over the summer, mainland partners Camp Girl Boss and Science Coach began using our platform.
Project Lemon Tree
2019-2020 School Year Impacts
5 Islands Served
21 Title I Schools
STEP Learning Model
Bizgenics debuted its new STEP™ Learning Method. Our holistic approach to education combines the best of knowledge-, project-, and challenge-based learning in a way that meets contemporary demands for creativity, innovation, entrepreneurial mindset, design-thinking, leadership, and soft skills training.
In November 2020, Bizgenics was contracted to operate ID8 Studios by the Hawai‘i Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism’s Creative Industries Division. The facility’s mission is to support and grow Hawai‘i’s creative production community, including developing career pathways for students, building a community of industry professionals, providing production capacity for Hawai‘i businesses, and supporting associations and nonprofits.
Shaka, the Power of Mana
In the midst of the pandemic, Bizgenics re-envisioned this project about the origins of the “shaka” gesture to utilize a democratized approach where thousands of people around the world would participate remotely in creating content for the film. In December 2020, we received a green light to begin production through initial funding and contribution of cultural experts by Kamehameha Schools.
Bizgenics developed a new curriculum series entitled, “SEO, 21st Century Writing via Search Engine Optimization.” Huge kudos to James Campbell High School for funding this effort to create this ground-breaking system.
In addition, Summer STEMworks interns authored curriculum based on the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals, and Aloha Connects Innovation interns worked on updating our existing curriculum offerings.
A Lot with Little
We’re not your typical bleed-heart charity. So funding is a bit tricker to raise. And as a relatively young nonprofit, we have a lot of program building and impacts to prove. We therefore have learned to get by on a skinny budget by activating many dedicated volunteers and an active Board.
Our impact numbers are beginning to trend up sharply, making numerous funding streams fall within the realm of realistic to pursue. With the Shaka documentary and ID8 Studios launching, 2021’s annual budget is already 10X last year’s .
If you believe in the potential of our programs, please support any program or our foundation in general.