Attending East Meets West 2020

JTB Hawaii Travel, LLC
February 14, 2020
written by Jimmy Soga


My name is Jimmy and I work in the DMC Strategy Promotion Department.

I recently attended an entrepreneurs and investor’s conference called East Meets West 2020 and would like to share some information with you today.

East Meets West (EMW) is an annual international event that takes place here in Hawaii. The event brainstorms themes and ideas from a global perspective with influencers covering cutting-edge innovations, marketing, travel, technology and sustainability. The two-day event brings together investors and entrepreneurs from Asia, Hawaii, and North America (Mainland) and features international guests, deep learning opportunities, and rich networking. The event actively promotes the interaction with international investors and entrepreneurs with local start-ups and the Honolulu community. The 6th annual EMW aimed reinvent the way people think about Hawaii by linking various panel discussions and presentations to what is actually happening in Hawaii.

This year’s topics included the following, most of which were linked to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted at the United Nations Summit.

  • Artificial intelligence (AI)
  • Sustainability (climate, ocean, waste)
  • The future of work
  • Non-traditional funders and founders
  • Education reform

I personally enjoy the discussions and lectures regarding Future of Work and Sustainability.

For example, the work place in the future will make it much easier to work remotely as technology evolves. I think this will have a large impact in Hawaii as job types and opportunities are limited on an island. As technology advances, pursuing careers and job opportunities from around the world while still being in Hawaii may become a norm. Vice versa, companies in Hawaii will be able to hire out-of-state employees to acquire personnel with specific skill set that are hard to find.

The other interesting topic was Sustainability. Sustainability is a serious issue in Hawaii due to the limited space we have for the amount of people there is. Waste is always a big concern to us as it affects landfill capacities as well as the ecosystem. The seminars dove into what other states are doing as well as what more we can and should start doing in our state.

EMW also attracts young entrepreneurs and students that are interested in learning more about business by partnering with American Savings Bank’s KeikiCo Contest (Keiki = child or young one), inviting high school students that participated in the contest. I thought this was a great idea for youth to experience and be exposed in great mindsets and plant the seeds of entrepreneurship early in a student’s thought process.

Speaking of student opportunities, the 26th Honolulu Festival(*), which will be held in March 7th and 8th this year, has announced a new academic program, Student Symposium in Honolulu. Honolulu Festival is well known for its lively stage performances and individual booth spaces where participants can interact one-on-one with guests. The new symposium will give students an opportunity to present their learnings, research, cultures and propose ideas to everyone.

We hope you come and visit. *Note: The 26th Honolulu Festival has been canceled.

A hui hou.