The Hawaii Venture Capital Association presented the 2009 Deal of the Year Award to Pacific Biodiesel Inc. at a luncheon in Honolulu recently. This award is given to the company that raises the most equity investment capital during the calendar year, an especially challenging business proposition last year because of the combination of a tough economy and cutbacks to Hawaii tax credits for investing in innovation companies. This is Pacific Biodiesel’s 12th refinery, nearly one a year since the first at the Central Maui Landfill in 1996. The latest, Big Island Biodiesel, will start production next year. The project will create over 100 jobs between building and operating the plant, growing and collecting feedstock and distributing finished product. All the investors are Hawaii residents or businesses, including the state through the Hydrogen Fund. First Hawaiian Bank lent $5 million, guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The feedstock may eventually be jatropha, a drought-resistant tree that produces oily fruit. HVCA and Pacific Biodiesel will contribute a total of $1,500 in money for prizes to be given to Career Pathways High School Business Plan Competition, a statewide competition that gives Hawaii high school students a real world opportunity.