The Kohala Center ( is an independent, not-for-profit, community-based center for research, conservation, and education. We turn research and ancestral knowledge into action, so that communities in Hawai‘i and around the world can thrive—ecologically, economically, culturally, and socially.

The Kohala Center was established in direct response to the request of island residents and island leaders to create greater educational and employment opportunities by caring for—and celebrating—Hawai‘i Island’s natural and cultural landscape. Today, we focus on cultivating shared leadership in local communities through conservation, education, and economic development programs.

As part of our economic development efforts, we launched our Rural and Cooperative Business Development Services (RCBDS, program in 2011 to expand and strengthen Hawai‘i’s rural economies and food systems by providing technical assistance, professional development, resources, and microloan programs to farmers, value-added producers, and small and cooperative businesses.

RCBDS is funded primarily by U.S. Department of Agriculture grants including the Rural Cooperative Development Grant, Socially Disadvantaged Groups Grant, and Program 2501, with additional support from the Ulupono Initiative, the Kahiau Foundation, Farm Service Agency, and the U.S. Small Business Administration. We serve all sectors of Hawai‘i’s rural economy. Our services include:

• Cooperative Business Education
• Group Facilitation and Organization
• Strategic Project Planning
• Feasibility Assessment
• Business Planning
• Market Analysis
• Loan/Grant Application Assistance and Capitalization Strategies
• Legal Document Assistance
• Professional Referrals
• Board and Member Trainings
• Conflict Resolution

The Kohala Center is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.