Best Businesses to Start in Hawaii

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Small businesses account for more than 90% of all Hawaii businesses and employ 52% of Hawaii’s workforce. Everything in Hawaii is connected. Small businesses are bound to the fabric of Hawaii’s economy and provide Hawaiians with unique products and services every day. In addition to serving local Hawaiians, businesses in agriculture, tourism, and hospitality share a slice of beautiful Hawaii with the world. If you want to contribute to Hawaii’s vibrant culture, now might be a good time for you to start your new business.

What is the best business to start in Hawaii? The answer depends on your goals for starting a business and what inspires you. Many entrepreneurs already know what type of business they want to run, but others need a little spark to get started. There are endless options for business ideas in Hawaii. Luckily, our business experts are here to help. We’ve compiled this list of ideas for the best business to start in Hawaii to help you brainstorm.

When you’ve decided on a plan, start your business with us. We offer business formation services to quickly and easily start your Hawaii LLC or Hawaii corporation. If you aren’t sure which business structure to choose, we can also help you compare different business structures. For now, let’s go over what might be the best small business to start in Hawaii. 

The Most Profitable Small Business Ideas in Hawaii

When you start your own business, you want it to succeed. How lucrative your business will be may depend on the type of business you choose to start. Here’s a list of good businesses to start in Hawaii. 

Idea #1: Agriculture

With its rich soil and mild, year-round climate, Hawaii supports many different forms of agriculture. Top Hawaiian agriculture commodities are greenhouse and nursery products, sugar cane, coffee, cattle, and hogs. On the island of Maui, pineapple is a popular crop, while farmers on Oahu produce dairy and eggs. Hawaiian agriculture generates an average of 357 million dollars in sales each year. In addition, Hawaiian farmers actively used only 7% of available farmland in 2021. This makes it a great choice for the best small business in Hawaii. 

Idea #2: Boutique Apparel

The U.S. Clothing Boutique industry will reach $19.1 billion in revenue in 2022. Plus, “made in Hawaii” has its own selling point. Delivering high-quality, authentic designs that showcase Hawaii’s rich history and culture can be a satisfying venture for a creative, free spirit. More importantly, running a boutique isn’t a one-size-fits-all proposition. You can make it your own by targeting your boutique toward local Hawaiians, tourists, or online customers. 

Idea #3: Information Technology

Formed in 1983 as part of the Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism, the Hawaii Technology Development Corporation (HTDC) exists to support Hawaii’s technology industry growth. HTDC provides incubation facilities, grant programs, educational and networking programs, statewide mentoring, and technology workforce development. If you like working with computers or consider yourself tech-savvy, you’ll have the support you need to start your technology-based company in Hawaii.

Idea #4: Homestay Services and Vacation Rentals

When searching for the best of Hawaii business opportunities, you’ll likely find plenty of information on tourism and tourist services. One of the easiest ways to get started in the tourism industry is to rent a room in your home. It doesn’t take much to provide a clean place for someone to stay. You can easily provide bed and breakfast services or lodging-only services by registering your extra space on popular vacation rental websites.

Idea #5: Travel Agency

If you live in Hawaii, you know all the best places to visit on the island. Starting a travel agency can be a good choice if you have connections with hotels, transportation services, and tourist experiences. You can start with a simple website and help bring tourists to all the most popular places.

Idea #6: Cafe

Americans love coffee, and Hawaii is no exception. A cafe can be simple to start with few resources, and it can appeal to locals as well as tourists. Even better, consider roasting and selling locally grown coffee for the built-in draw of “made in Hawaii.”

Why these are the best small businesses to start in Hawaii

Hawaii has a rich cultural history and draws tourists in from all over the world. Therefore, these are the best small businesses to start in Hawaii because:

  • They preserve, respect, and further the Hawaiian culture
  • They are in high demand industries
  • They create jobs and strengthen the island economy
  • Many of these industries offer grants for women to start a business in Hawaii, such as the Amber Grant or FoundHer

These shouldn’t be the only things you consider when choosing what type of business to start. Think of what you have to offer and your passions. Even if your concept isn’t the most popular, you may still turn it into a profitable business with hard effort and solid planning.

Best Cities in Hawaii for Starting a Business

While the most obvious place to start your business is on the island where you live, these cities stand out for starting a new business:

  • Oahu
  • Honolulu
  • Lahaina
  • Hilo
  • Hana
  • Kihei
  • Kahului
  • Princeville

These cities rank high as the best place to start a business in Hawaii because they are popular city centers, near ports for inventory receiving and exporting, and they tend to attract a large number of tourists. 

Why Form Your Business With Us

Our business experts understand the choices you have to make as a new business owner. We’ve helped hundreds of entrepreneurs start their business and keep it running smoothly. For example, when you use our Worry-Free Compliance Service, we’ll remind you of important deadlines to help your business stay in compliance with state requirements. Also, we’ll help keep your business documents organized and in one place. When you’ve chosen the best business to start in Hawaii for your talents and dreams, let our business experts help get your company off the ground with our business formation services.


  • Hawaii’s small size is also its strength. Every business must work with the community to benefit our health, community, and islands. In addition, Hawaii’s rich soil and frequent tourism add to the booming economy.

  • New business owners can grow their company by looking for assistance in their community. Business support groups like the Chamber of Commerce and HTDC offer resources for new Hawaiian entrepreneurs.

  • If you want to open a franchise, good opportunities are available in many industries, including healthcare, food services, consulting, and tourism. It’s a good idea to research what franchise opportunities are open and running in the state when you want to start your business.

  • Because an eCommerce business isn’t dependent on your location, you can choose any business that fits your passions and experience. However, online sales can be a good place to start.

  • There are many choices if you want to work from home and wonder about the best business in Hawaii for you to start. Online sales can be lucrative, but shipping to the continental U.S. might be costly. Professional services, consulting, and blogging can work great for home-based businesses. You can start these businesses with little capital and quickly grow a client base.

Disclaimer: The content on this page is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal, tax, or accounting advice. If you have specific questions about any of these topics, seek the counsel of a licensed professional.

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Written by Team ZenBusiness

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