2019 Annual Report

Bizgenics, a Hawaii-Based 501(C)(3) Nonprofit Organization

From the Chairman & “Chief Lemon Head”

In a word, 2019 was EPIC
The past year for Bizgenics was active and one of finding our stride. Close friend and advisor Gill Berger aptly noted to me recently that BGF has been highly conceptual up until now, undergone significant foundational shoring this year and now is emerging with clear implementation pathways with programs that are scaling with grace.

Our programs are known to be fresh and exciting and sometimes whacky. At least a couple of them are now widely recognized in the education, innovation and entrepreneurship space.

As a result, we see the trend for our programs as one of scaling both funding and operations. In the first quarter of 2020, we’ll be reporting much exciting news on growth initiatives and new funding pools that we’ve been working on in the latter half of 2019. We’ve planted seeds and they will grow.

Here’s to a great 2019 and an even better 2020!

Love, Lemons & Aloha,
Steve Sue, Chief Lemon Head & Chairman


We Sought Advice in 2019
Advisors Brainstorm:

Danford Oshima, SVP American Savings Bank

Mark Loughridge, Director, CASE Center, Punahou School

Jim Tam, Retired Attorney

Chreighton Liu, Director of Strategic Planning, HEI

Elis Fujii, Director of Development & Marketing BSA

Elroy Abe, Branch Manager, First Foundation Bank

Harvey Rackmil, CFO HonBlue

Ian Bigelow, SVP Locations Real Estate

Leschon Serrano, Senior IT PM, Kamehameha Schools

bizgenics board
Minette Lew-McCabe Joins Bizgenics as a Producer

In the closing days of 2019, Minette joined us as a part-time producer (she was previously with Kupu as their fundraiser and now also has a full-time gig with Red Cross).

Minette brings live event and film production experience to our team, thus is the producer of our new documentary on the Shaka.

Brannon Yamauchi moves into Operations Role

Brannon is biting off more to chew these days. Originally, Bran was learning the art of videography with Board Member Dennis Burns. Now he’s moving into production functions.

You also might recall the story that last year, Bran was the one who discovered that of all cultivated plants, lemon trees are among the top sequesters of C02. This factoid is what launched our Project lemon Tree program.

Interns Melanie & Paul Hennessee Make Two Trips for California

Brother and sister team, Melanie and Paul Hennessee came twice from California to help bring a student perspective to BizzyB. Both are computer science majors at top schools, Mel at UC Riverside and Paul at UC Irvine.

Between white board sessions with Steve, they got to hike Diamond Head, eat a lot of local food and meet Uncle Harold, one of our key interviewees in Lai’e for Shaka, the Power of Mana our upcoming documentary film on the Shaka gesture.


Heroic Sponsor, Michelle Bartell, American Savings Bank

THE LEMON BANK: sponsored and run by ASB every year it’s existing at Lemonade Alley where teams have to regularly make deposit their sales proceeds at the competition. This is bank literacy at work, a very practical part of financial literacy and one which the kids really take to heart.

Huge mahalo to Michelle and ASB for continuing to bring the love and support to Lemonade Alley. 

Top individual Donors, Lilly & Charles Asato

Lilly & Charles Asato have been a top contributor to Lemonade Alley since its inception. Both were born and raised in Hawai’i: Lilly born in Poipu, Kauai and later moved to Whitmore Village, Oahu and Charlie born in Lahaina, Maui and later moved to Kaimuki, Oahu.  Lilly and Charlie met on the mainland and reside in Torrance, CA. They however remain connected to Hawai’i through their daughter Karen who Chief Lemon Head Steve was lucky enough to marry.

Lemonade Alley, the Bizgenics Foundation and its beneficiaries owe so much to this extrordinary couple.


All-Star Volunteer, Rae Olim

Rae will most certainly hate this picture. She’s one of our bizzy-est bees, preferring to stay in the background as an unsung hero. But one of our more heartfelt nods has to go to her this year as a huge mahalo for all the years that she has figured out how to tabulate all those crazy piles of scrip, bills and coin that are pushed her way at Lemonade Alley.

Rae is a pure angle and we thank God for sharing her with us.

Storytellers Extraordinaire Dennis, Cliff, Brannon, Linda

People behind the camera are not only largely unseen at our events, but they also put in tireless hours of cropping, retouching and video editing well after the events are over. Our storytelling crew is 100% comprised of volunteers.

Without the gorgeous assets they create, our events would not be known by so many and thus, no where near as successful. Thanks Dennis Burns, Cliff Kimura, Brannon Yamauchi, Linda Sue and all the other many photographers and videographers who have contributed over the years.

10 Year, Lemonade Alley Emcee Kimee Balmilero

We call her a “Star” because she’s an awesome human being. But now with her winning numerous awards and a starring role on a network TV show (actually two of them)… it can get confusing as to what “Star” means.

But on the point of awesomeness, Kimee has been our volunteer emcee for all 9 years of Lemonade Alley’s existence. She’s also produced Lemonade Alley at schools like Mid-Pacific Institute and other Bizgenics events like Camp BizGym, comedy/improv camps and pitch camps.


Our First Office!

Yes, it’s tiny, but it OURS! We opened a tiny office this year. This pic is as good as it gets with it’s pristine clear walls. Come now and you’ll see walls full of white board work. That was the intent of the space: a strategy, design, meeting location.

Come by for Coffee:

1012B 18th Ave. Honolulu, HI 96816

5th Annual Hawai’i Comedy Fest

Hawaii Comedy Festival has been teaching the business of comedy for half a decade. This program is a passion play by our very own Kimee Balmilero to raise the profile of local actors and funny/fun people.

9th Annual Lemonade Alley

Lemonade Alley once again played at Pearlridge Center. It was another year of happy smiles, tasty inventions, captivating pitches and significant donations made to the charity of each team’s choice.

15,000+ Visitors

70 Featured Contestants

11 Title 1 Low Income Schools Represented

$6,352 Raised for Charities

14 Charities Supports

70 Volunteers

BizzyB.com Teacher Training

BizzyB, our student innovation platform, launched in an improved beta version set up specifically in project-based learning format. HIDoE was greatly supportive of this project and hosted three BizzyB training sessions at the iTeach Conference, Honolulu Convention Center. 170 teachers gained access and used the system.

HIDoE is authoring a Professional Development Teacher Training class which begins training in January, 2020.

Pushing Education Theory: STEM, PBL, SEL Soft Skills & More

Executive Board Members Steve and Tim traveled to conferences and convenings in New Orleans and Cleveland (twice) to help the education industry think it forward. Along with other education travel partners, Elena Farden from Elemental Excelerator and Griff Jurgens from Blue Planet, we  helped push the envelope of new-education thinking.

3 Heady Hacks: Hokulea Anthem, Manu ’O Ku App & 3D Printed Coral Anchors

Thanks to the brilliance and energy of Mark Loughridge, we pulled off 3 hacks at the STEM Works Conference. Student teams created a new anthem for Hokulea’s next voyage, designed an app to track the white tern (Manu ’o ku) and invented 3D-printed coral anchor systems.

Huge mahalo to Henry Kapono, Nainoa Thompson, Yvonne Chan, Rich Downs, James Anshutz,  Lavel Brito, Lee Anderson and Doug Harper for taking time to light up the kids!

Project Lemon Tree, Year 2

PLT continued to grow (yes, pun intended) with pergola builds at Hongwanji Mission School, Hanalani School and Kalani High School. Pot plantings occurred at Sacred Hearts, Waialae Elementary and Our Lady of Good Counsel. Kaimuki Middle’s entire 8th grade (200 students) was treated to 3 design-thinking sessions to plan their pergola build.

$22,500 Kaulanani Tree Grant

$10,000 Curriculum Grant by Elemental Excelerator

17 Classes, 8 Schools Served

Classes Adopted by: ASB, HEI, Sunset Rotary

New! “I Love Buns… Hawai’i”

In the closing days of December, we created a new restaurant marketing program with Lanakila Pacific. This program provides restaurant market smartly and improve bottom lines by selling sliders under the BunsHawaii.com hui. Partners keep al profits, get marketed as a hui and have the option to sell high-margin “I Love Buns… Hawaii” SWAG printed by individuals with cognitive, physical, social or age-related challenges. SWAG product wholesale margin supports Lanakila’s Meals on Wheels and Bizgenics’ Lemonade Alley programs.

We Made Cookies!

For the first time ever, we made Holiday Cookies ~ themed in some of our favorite programs of course. Thanks to Melanie and Paul Hennessee, Linda Sue and Karen Asato for jumping in to make this a fun time.


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.

Just this year, we’ve seen our impact numbers trend up sharply, making numerous funding streams fall within the realm of realistic to pursue. Our goal for 2020 is thus to scale  our next annual budget at a 2X multiplier on this year’s with a similar percentage efficiency use of funds.

If you believe in the potential of our programs, please support any program or our foundation in general.