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Colton Collins

Submitted by: Colton Collins
State: Hawaii
City: Hilo

Business Description

Our mission is to collect, cultivate, and conserve rare tropical plants. We find new plant varieties from a diversity of ecosystems and supply them to botanical gardens, nurseries, and enthusiast.

What one unique aspect of your business will make you succeed over the next year?

Plant Group Hawaii’s ability to explore remote forests, find exotic flowering plants, and introduce these plants to the United States is our unique aspect that continually helps us to succeed. Throughout our company’s history we have introduced dozens of exciting plant varieties. Currently, our collecting expeditions are focused on Zingiberales in the American tropics and Southeast Asia. Our exploratory efforts are guided by type localities, species distribution models, and local guides. This year we have planned expeditions to explore cloud forest in the Andean region of Colombia, Amazonian Brazil, and the monsoonal forest in northern Thailand. We will be searching for rare Heliconia and gingers that are not found in cultivation. Our members are eager to grow any unique varieties that we find and that is why we will succeed over the next year.

How does your business make a positive impact on the community?

On local scale, we provide a positive impact to our community via education and exposure. Whether at a plant fair or visit to our nursery we expose our community to a diversity of plants that many have never seen before. We share our knowledge regarding each species natural history and empower community members with the confidence to grow these uncommon plants themselves. On a grand scale, we provide a positive impact to our global community via our ex-situ conservation efforts. Many of the species we collect and cultivate are venerable to habitat loss and a changing planet. Through our business, we help to protect these plants in these uncertain times.

What would you do with a $1,000 Sam’s Club gift card, training, and help from a SCORE mentor to grow your business?

Plant Group Hawaii will use a $1,000 towards a plant collecting expedition in Colombia. We already have a trip planned but if we are awarded with these funds we will be able to extend the expedition for a few more days. With more time in country we’ll be able to find more plants and add to our inventory. Since we cannot use a Sam’s Club gift card directly towards travel expenses we will use the award to pay for our office supplies thus freeing up our budget for travel. We will use the training and help from a SCORE mentor to improve our marketing, especially our online presence. With an upgraded inventory and an improved marketing scheme we will grow our business.
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