Purple Maiʻa

Mālama Design Studio

An accelerator for Native Hawaiian small businesses rooted in 'Ōiwi values

What is Mālama Design Studio?​

Mālama Design Studio is a 9-month accelerator created to empower Native Hawaiian founders. By providing essential services in graphic design, website support, branding, and social media management, this program equips participants to build strong, sustainable businesses while promoting our rich ʻŌiwi culture. Through a cohort-based approach and personalized support, Native Hawaiian entrepreneurs gain access to professional design services, enhance their online presence, and develop compelling brand identities.

This program aspires to build pilina between cohort members across the pae ʻāina, foster economic development within the Kanaka ‘Ōiwi community and celebrate the spirit of “Eahou“, a commitment to achieving a circular, regenerative economy based on the principles of aloha ʻāina, self-determination and political sovereignty no ka lāhui. Learn more about the logo here!


Aia i hea ka waiwai a ka lāhui? Aia ma ke kumu.

Where is the wealth of the Nation? It is at the source.

How does the 9-month program work?

Identifying Opportunities for Innovation

To truly shift the trajectory of your company, our team of creatives will be providing hands-on support to assess your current design based needs and provide strategic value directly to your roadmap. 

Building Out Your Digital Presence 

Our development team will help craft and implement marketing strategies, provide website support, enhance branding, and offering creative development and design solutions to help you scale your business.

Who Should Apply?​

Native Hawaiian Owned Businesses​

We welcome applications from Native Hawaiian entrepreneurs, based in Hawaiʻi, operating early-stage businesses. Weʻre seeking founders who require help with technical solutions and are willing to collaborate with our team of creative experts for the duration of our 9-month program.

Poe Aloha ʻĀina Building for Ka Lāhui​

We’re interested in supporting ʻŌiwi founders working to reduce the existing inequalities within our ecosystem, motivated by aloha ʻāina and dedicated to the path towards ea.

Our target areas include food security, land stewardship, health and wellness, renewable energy, education, housing solutions and biocultural restoration.

Uncle John of Hawaiian Checkers is on a mission to bring Kōnane back into school, C-suites, and government.


Native Hawaiian Ancestry

Applicants must have Native Hawaiian ancestry.

Residence in Hawai'i

 Applicants must be currently residing in Hawai’i.

Early-Stage Business

The program is tailored for individuals who are in the early stages of their entrepreneurial journey with at least 12 months of a revenue generating product or service in- market. 

Looking for Digital Support

We invite founders who are seeking support and training in branding, marketing and website development to apply and embark on this journey with us.

By focusing on Native Hawaiian entrepreneurs in Hawai’i who are at the outset of their business endeavors, we aim to provide the most impactful assistance, fostering economic empowerment, self-determination, and cultural preservation within our community.

Photoshoot with Rooted in Wailuku, part of Cohort I.

What Services Does the Program Offer?

Being a part of Mālama Design Studio means having access to a suite of design services provided by our team, as well as funds to contract other Hawai’i based creatives, and experts in their field. This program is highly collaborative and flexible, while providing enough structure to complete each deliverable on par with the program timeline. Upon acceptance, we go over your needs as a business and work together to find the best solutions.

Companies selected for the program will receive:

  • Initial company analysis & high-level business strategy recommendations
  • Technology analysis to determine possibilities for digital optimization & growth
  • Design Studio services rooted in Hawaiian Culture – our team will assist with creative needs for the 9 months of the program
  • $4,500 stipend to implement & maintain a tech-oriented business solution
  • We are a remote accelerator, you can participate in the program from home

Graphic Design
and Branding

Visual brand refresh
Custom logo design
Fresh graphic assets
Illustration and graphic design


Custom Wix, Shopify, Squarespace, WordPress Website
Professional Photoshoot

and Strategy

Content creation
Social media templates
Marketing strategy
Campaign building
Canva essentials

Research and
Software Solutions

R&D for a specific issue
Presenation decks
CRM integration

Stipend for Equipment

Camera equipment
Podcasting setup
POS basics

Guidance with Digital Tools

Software walk-throughs
Documentation overviews

Photoshoot with Drip Studio HNL, part of Cohort I.

Cohort II Timeline

Embarking on a 9-month program is a journey of continuous development and learning. Mālama Design Studio is an opportunity for Native Hawaiian small business to gain access to a team of graphic designers, photographers, web developers, and marketing strategist to assist in developing key assets and tools for their business. Check out a general outline of how the program looks over the course of a year.


Applications for Cohort 2 are now closed.


Additional Information

Curious to hear more about the program? Explore two case studies from Cohort I, and meet the busineses that kicked off Mālama Deisgn Studio! Big perk of this program is it draws from curriculum designed for Ka Maka ʻĪnana and Digital Creators. Each business goes through a Triple Piko Analysis, and is given access to the Purple Maiʻa Network of freelancers and businesses across the pae ʻāina. Keep reading to meet the Mālama Team, and learn more about our mission as an organizaiton: Eahou!

↓ Case Studies ↓

For Profit Case Study

Leira Organics

Leira Organics is a Makaha made skincare line founded by Ariel Ebel. As a massage therapist and esthetician, Ariel aligns ike kupuna with training to make products for her unique clientele.

For Leira Organics, Self-care is healing across generations, and truly starts from within. She came to Mālama Design Studio in need of a refresh to her online presence. Check out the simple, subtle tweaks made to bring her business into alignment.

Non-profit Case Study

Mālama Hulēʻia

Mālama Hulēʻia is an amazing non-profit in Lihue, Kauai. As an organizaiton, they advocate, educate, and lead community efforts to remove red mangrove along the Hule‘ia river, while re- establishing native wetland ecosystems.

The Mālama Team was able to help Mālama Hulēʻia prepare a marketing campaign for their 5-Year Anniversary Workday in October 2023. Read the case study to learn more about this partnership.

Tap Into the Purple Process and Network with Mālama Design Studio

Triple Piko Analysis

We walk each company through a “Triple Piko Analysis” to identify the motivations that root your business to “past, present and future”, the lāhui, and aloha ‘aina.

Research and Development

Have an issue you’ve been trying to solve? Got a product line you’d like to expand? Mālama Design Studio can help you find the solutions.

Connect with Freelancers

Our network of talented kanaka freelancers makes the work fun and exciting! Part of the Mālama Design Studio program is gaining access to budget that helps to facilitate these collaborations.

Network with Purple Businesses

With a wide range of programs under the Purple Maiʻa umbrella, joining Cohort II means becoming a part of the ʻohana.

Meet the Team

Keoni DeFranco
Managing Director
Jazzy Kealoha
Program Coordinator
Keaʻa Davis
Lead Design and
Product Strategist
Pōhai Panoke
Creative Developer
Leimomi Bong
Creative Developer
Kūnaʻe Diehl
Social Media Manager
Hunter Kawailiʻūla
Graphic Designer

As an Organization We Support Eahou​

For Mālama Studios, supporting Eahou is a commitment to co-creating a future for Hawaiʻi in which our basic needs are met and we take a leadership position in the world for what a radical, culturally informed, social system can look like, rooted in the principles of aloha ʻāina, self-determination and political sovereignty. This means fair redistribution of wealth and resources, protection of land and water, and a circular regenerative economy focused on increasing the quality of life for all on our shores.

Learn more about our commitment to Eahou and building The MālaPlex in our manifesto.

What if I don't meet the requirements?

Mālama Design Studio is a part of the Purple Maiʻa network of business accelerators. The resources we pull from include curriculum developed by our Digital Creators and Ka Maka ʻĪnana courses. Don’t see yourself as part of Mālama Design Studio? We might have another opportunity for you to explore! Check out the Purple Maiʻa programs below.


Digital Creators

Ka Maka ʻĪnana


Is Mālama Design Studios making sense yet? If not, reach out to us! We’d love to hear from you.

You can contact Keoni DeFranco directly for all inquires.