An effort to promote more local beef production and reduce the state's reliance on imported meats has received a six-figure investment from a Hawaii-based venture capital fund.
EEx Fund One LLC, which supports Energy Excelerator programs, has invested $300,000 in Kunoa Cattle Company, The Garden Island reported on Tuesday.
"With this additional support we can do more to create an authentic local food system, with healthier land, animals and food," said Kunoa co-founder Bobby Farias.
The cattle company recently purchased and upgraded Oahu's only slaughterhouse with the goal of expanding Hawaii's market for locally produced beef.
At the state-owned facility, the company has provided enhanced processing of its own livestock and livestock from other producers throughout the state that are selling under their own individual local meat brands.
About 10,000 animals a year can be processed at the slaughterhouse, said Jack Beuttell, a partner with Kunoa Cattle Company.
"Our goal is that by investing in this facility and upgrading it and improving the standards for animal welfare and food safety, we can attract more business from our fellow ranchers across the state and perform services for them so they can increase their production as well," Beuttell said in a previous interview with the newspaper.
Supporters of the project say it will help boost the state's economy and reduce the need to turn to outside sources for meat.
"Kunoa's solution is an important part of the goal to increase food self-sufficiency in Hawaii, where we import more than 90 percent of our beef supply," said Jill Sims, co-founder of Energy Excelerator. "Supporting companies that drive solutions to the challenges we face as a state is key to growing an innovation economy."
EEx Fund One LLC invests in companies that have participated in Energy Excelerator programs. Kunoa Cattle Company was selected in 2015 to participate in a program that provided seed funding and introductions to customers, investors and other strategic partners.
The cattle company is one of dozens of projects funded by Energy Excelerator that aim to provide solutions to the world's energy problems.