(Reprinted by permission of MauiNow.com. Original story is available at http://mauinow.com/2012/05/09/mayor-arakawa-visits-noni-biotech-lab/.)
By Sonia Isotov
On May 4, Maui Mayor Alan M. Arakawa toured the headquarters of Noni Biotech International LLC and invited the company to join a County of Maui business trip in August to Japan and Korea.
The mayor was joined on the tour by Maui County Office of Economic Development Coordinator Teena Rasmussen, Maui County Environmental Coordinator Robert Parsons, Maui Economic Development Board Program Director Tom Liu, and Mimi Hu CPA, principal partner of Levin & Hu LLP.
Mayor Arakawa’s visit began with a tour of the company research lab, led by Noni Biotech’s Director of Research Paul Nordone, who explained some of the company’s research strategies and offered samplings of the company’s newest products in development.
Noni Biotech International currently exports 100% pure Hawaiian noni products and ingredients to over 50 countries under the brand names Noni Maui and Maui Noni.
Their achievements have not gone without recognition. In 2011 the company received the prestigious Presidential “E” Export Award for excellence in exporting. In addition, Noni Biotech was selected as a finalist in the APEC Statewide Business Innovation Showcase in September 2011. Mayor Arakawa presented the award during the ceremony hosted at the Sister Cities summit in Waikiki.
After the morning tour, visitors gathered in the company conference room for a light breakfast and a presentation from Noni Biotech’s Presidents Marie-Laure Ankaoua and David Backstrom.
Ankaoua and Backstrom shared more information about the company’s background and their plans for future development in Maui as well as in their farm and factory, both of which are located on the island of Hawaii.
“We feel very honored that Mayor Arakawa took the time to come and visit us. It shows how much he is paying attention to the growth of small businesses in his county,” said Ankaoua, in a written statement.