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2017 Coast Works Winners Announced

November 15, 2017 (SEQUIM, Wash.) — The third annual Washington Coast Works Sustainable Small Business Competition rewarded entrepreneurs who focus on sustainability and community at the 2017 Coast Works Awards Ceremony, November 9 at Olympic Theatre Arts.

The winners were part of a cohort of twelve entrepreneurs who participated in an intensive training at Olympic Natural Resources Center in June, then received four months of business training and support from the Center for Inclusive Entrepreneurship and Enterprise for Equity.

Three winners received cash awards, but the collective impact of the three successive Coast Works competitions has yielded the formation of the Coast Works Alliance, which was launched at the 2017 Awards Ceremony and will create a mechanism for ongoing entrepreneurial support in the Olympic Peninsula.

Ann Rosecrants received this year’s Community Award of $10,000 to build an online market for Twisted Strait Fibers, a Port Angeles cooperative for natural fiber producers and artisans. Rosecrants noted that during the ONRC Intensive, one of the participants coined the term ‘Dream Warriors’ during a discussion about the concept of fighting for something worthy and believing in each vision as a useful and beneficial project.

“From an idea to a community, Coast Works armed me with the tools for success,” reflects Rosecrants. “We are the Dream Warriors.”

Lauren Kerr received the Leadership Award of $5,000 to launch Sol Duc Farms, a u-pick blueberry and flower farm near Forks. A former wildlife biologist, Lauren will provide apprenticeship and job opportunities for young women aimed at fostering knowledge about
sustainable farming, entrepreneurship, and leadership.

“This award will go a long way towards helping us launch our farm,” says Kerr, “but the most valuable part of this process has been the community and mentorship that comes with Coast Works.”

Jim Stanley received the Change Award of $5,000 to expand Wild Salish Seafood. Jim, a member of the Quinault Indian Nation, operates S/V Josie out of Westport. He plans to use the award to buy a refrigerated trailer and hire Quinault tribal members to increase distribution of Quinault-harvested seafood to his customers in Seattle and Portland.

Stanley echoes the sentiments from his co-winners about the significance of relationships. “The best part of the process has been meeting others who work to make their community better by combining passion with a business-based value proposition.” He doesn’t downplay the role of money. “I appreciate how the award helps me acquire the asset I need to make money. The equity injection means I can expand my business sooner by adding employees.”

The 2017 Coast Works sponsors included title sponsor Key Bank Foundation, the Jamestown-S’Klallam Tribe, the Washington State Department of Commerce, Bank of the Pacific, and a growing community of individuals participating in our crowd-funding campaign.

Next year’s competition will get underway in late spring 2018. Visit www.wacoastworks.org, for updates.

Story Contacts:

Mike Skinner, Coast Works Administrator P| 206.235.6029   E|mike.skinner@cie-nw.org

Robin Stanton, The Nature Conservancy  P|  206.436.6274                   E|rstanton@tnc.org

 

 

 

WASHINGTON COAST WORKS BUSINESS PROFILE: JESSICA ELLIS/FREEDOM ACRES

November 3, 2017 (Montesano, Wash.) —When Jessica Ellis moved her family from Olympia to a 53-acre family farm in Montesano to start a premium dog kenneling business that would use solar power, recycled building materials, non-toxic homemade cleaning product, and native landscaping, there were many naysayers. Today, eighteen months after opening the gates to Freedom Acres Dog Boarding, Ellis is booked 2 months in advance, and during high summer season she turns away four to five customers a week.

“You have to be more determined than the problem in front of you,” says Ellis, who has overcome more than just negative perceptions. Unforeseen land-use and zoning issues were among the more painful barriers. But Ellis also found that commercial lenders didn’t want to fund a fledgling entrepreneur with a non-traditional startup business idea.

“Organizations and lending institutions say they want to help rural small business,” notes Ellis, “and they say they’ll support women and veterans. But no one would loan me money. This is a huge disconnect in my mind.”

Then, in the spring of 2016, Ellis heard about Washington Coast Works Small Business Competition. Ellis had scraped together savings to build a four-kennel cabin and got the courage to quit a vet assistant job to devote herself fulltime to Freedom Acres. Now she needed to scale up and add another cabin with 6 kennels to make her venture viable.

The 5 months of preparation for the Coast Works Competition paid off and Ellis won the top prize of $10,000 to build a second “K9 Cabin.”

“Winning the award was such an honor,” says Ellis. “We not only got the funding to allow us to build our business, we were acknowledged for the social decisions and sustainable choices we were already making.”

On Thursday, November 9, at Olympic Theatre Arts in Sequim, Washington, ten of this year’s Coast Works finalists will compete for the 2017 award funding. The title sponsor is KeyBank and all competing businesses are “triple-bottom-line”, designed to generate profits with significant social and environmental benefits. The FastPitch presentations by the finalists are free and open to the public. Join us at OTA from 1:15 to 4:30 pm to be inspired.

Ellis will be there to cheer on her fellow entrepreneurs, and to present the awards at the evening banquet.

“I know what the award funding will mean to this year’s winner. I am looking forward to the event and sharing in the excitement and the celebration.”

To learn about Coast Works visit wacoastworks.org, or contact Mike Skinner at (206) 235-6029.

Story Contacts:

Mike Skinner, Administrator, Washington Coast Works

O: 425.243.7366  | C: 206.235-6029  |  E: mike.skinner@cie-nw.org

 Jessica Ellis, Freedom Acres Dog Boarding

P: 360.338.2010  E:  freedomacresdogboarding@gmail.com

 

 

Last Chance to Enter Coast Works 2017 Sustainable Small Business Competition

MAY 4, 2017 (Olympia, Washington) — The deadline for applications for this year’s Washington Coast Works Sustainable Small Business Competition is May 22, 2017. Up to 15 finalists will be selected for intensive training, network building, and a chance to win up to $10,000 to move their business ideas forward.  The competition is open to people from coastal communities on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula with ideas for small businesses that build leadership, keep money local, and contribute to the conservation of local natural resources. Applications and instructions can be downloaded at www.wacoastworks.org/apply.

Washington Coast Works was established by The Nature Conservancy, in collaboration with the Center for Inclusive Entrepreneurship, the Taala Fund, and the Olympic Natural Resources Center. The program is designed to diversify the economies in Pacific, Wahkiakum, Grays Harbor, Jefferson and Clallam Counties through the development of new small businesses, build business leadership in local communities, grow a constituency that supports conservation and sustainable natural resource use, and ultimately contribute to a new vision of sustainable community and economic development on the Washington Coast.

To date, thirty emerging entrepreneurs have participated in the Coast Works competition with a wide range of “triple bottom line” business ideas including fish waste infused biochar fertilizer, sustainably foraged bog Labrador tea, paper-crete landscaping materials, community food waste digesters, Quileute-caught fresh smoked salmon, off-grid ecological learning centers, local food cooperatives, sustainable farming, bio-diesel powered stump grinding, sustainable tiny-homes, and many more

To learn more about the competition, visit our website at www.wacoastworks.org, or contact Mike Skinner, Coast Works Administrator, at (206) 235-6029.

 

Coast Works Builds Sustainable Connections

Jean Ramos and Laurel Shearer met at the Coast Works Community Conversation in Aberdeen last March, and they came up with an idea.

Ramos is an elder member of the Quinault Indian Nation living in Queets, Washington. After winning the 2015 Coast Works business plan competition, she launched Tribal SovereigNDNTea, a local business selling Native medicinal tea made from sustainably foraged

Bog Labrador. Bog Labrador, a relative of the Rhododendron, grows abundantly in the rain forests of the Olympic Peninsula. “Native Americans are the original sustainable society,” says Ramos. “That’s why I chose Labrador tea.  We take some and we leave some.” Her business is taking off.

Shearer, a self-taught confectioner and chocolatier, is a Seattle transplant now living in Aberdeen, Washington. She participated in the 2016 Coast Works competition and is now working to launch laurieAnnie (one word, and the “l” in laurie is meant to be lower case), a business that will make locally crafted artisan candies.

“Another participant in last year’s Coast Works competition has been helping me develop my business and suggested making a lozenge,” says Ramos. “I thought it would be interesting to see if Laurel could make a candy using my tea. I didn’t expect Laurel to take the idea seriously, but she did.”

Shearer worked as an accountant for 30 years. She sees her new business as an opportunity to bring her creative side to her work. “Cooking has been my life-long joy,” says Shearer. “Experimenting with foods and flavors has become second nature.”

Shearer and Ramos traded products. A week later, Shearer sent samples of tea-infused chocolates to people in her network for feedback. The result was rave reviews. The chocolates were indescribably delicious and unique.

“Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups has nothing on Jean and Laurel,” exclaims Mike Skinner, who helps administer the Coast Works initiative. “What about sustainably harvested huckleberries, wild blueberries, even spruce tips? The possibilities for regionally flavored candies is limited only by Laurel’s imagination and Jean’s knowledge of traditional Native foods.”

What other regional flavors should Laurel and Jean consider? Our next Community Conversation will be on Tuesday, April 25, from 6:00pm to 7:30pm, at the Lincoln Center in Port Angeles, Washington. Come share your ideas, and explore other ways small businesses can work together to build community resilience and sustainable well-being on the Olympic Peninsula.

Have a business idea you’d like to explore? Coast Works is currently accepting applications for the 2017 round of the competition. The deadline is May 22, 2017. Download your application today at www.wacoastworks/apply. Help us spread the word!

Now Accepting Applications

Got an idea for a small business that builds leadership, keeps money local, and contributes to the conservation of local natural resources?

Coast Works is now accepting applications. Download an application form at www.wacoastworks.org/apply  today! The deadline for applications is May 22, 2017.

Up to 15 finalists will be selected for intensive training, mentorship, network building and a chance to win up to $10,000 to move their business idea forward.

To learn more, and help build the network, attend our free Community Conversation in Port Angeles on April 25th. The event is free. You do not need to register. You bring the good ideas. We’ll provide the pizza. See details at www.wacoastworks.org/calendar.

Key Bank Foundation Presents Sponsorship Check

We are very grateful for the support from our Title Sponsor, Key Bank Foundation. Key Bank’s Michael Fait (center) and Joshua King (far left) presented their check to the Coast Works team (CIE’s Mike Skinner on the far right next to Garrett Dalan of The Nature Conservancy) at our Community Conversation in Port Angeles last Saturday.

Washington Coast Works Launches 2017 Sustainable Small Business Competition

March 14, 2017 (SEATTLE, Wash.) — The third year of the Washington Coast Works initiative kicks off March 21 with a round of Community Conversations led by past Coast Works winners and participants.

Community Conversations will be held in Aberdeen (March 21), Forks (March 23) and Port Angeles (March 25) to envision what sustainable wellbeing means in their communities and to identify projects or activities that could help bring it about. These conversations will continue throughout the year and participants will be invited to a year-end summit to share projects and ideas.

Last year’s Coast Works winner, Jessica Ellis, won $10,000 to expand Freedom Acres, a dog boarding business that uses salvaged materials, solar power, and all natural supplies for its K9 lodge and K9 kennels. In 2015 Emily Foster, a Quileute tribal member from Forks, won $10,000 for equipment and supplies to launch Lonzo’s Seafood Company, offering smoked Quileute-caught fresh salmon.

“Jessica is leading sustainability through her business, and Emily is building a business that will encourage responsible use of our natural resources”, says Eric Delvin, Emerald Edge Director for The Nature Conservancy, one of the organizations leading the Coast Works initiative.

The goal of the Coast Works initiative is to catalyze small and locally-owned triple bottom line businesses that generate profit by contributing to conservation of local natural resources and that will lead a network of community conversations focused on building sustainable community well-being in rural communities on the Washington coast.

“Local businesses promoting sustainability and making sustainable use of local natural resources are an essential part of the foundation for durable conservation and long-term well-being in our rural communities on the coast,” adds Delvin.

Folks interested in learning more about the Coast Works initiative are encouraged to participate in the upcoming Community Conversations. Further information is available at www.wacoastworks.org.

Story Contacts:

Eric Delvin, The Nature Conservancy’s Emerald Edge Director: P | 360-280-2460
E | edelvin@tnc.org.

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Washington Coast Works was established by The Nature Conservancy, in collaboration with the Center for Inclusive Entrepreneurship and the Taala Fund. The program is designed to diversify the economies in Grays Harbor, Jefferson and Clallam Counties through the development of new small businesses, build business leadership in local communities, grow a constituency that supports conservation and sustainable natural resource use, and ultimately contribute to a new vision of sustainable community and economic development on the Washington Coast.

Sustainable Small Businesses Get a Boost

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October 19, 2016 (OCEAN SHORES, Wash.) — A focus on sustainability paid off for the winners of the 2016 Coast Works Sustainable Small Business Competition honored at the Greater Grays Harbor 125th Annual Leaders Banquet on October 14, 2016 at the Quinault Beach Resort and Casino.

Jessica Ellis of Freedom Acres Dog Boarding in Montesano, Washington, won the top prize of $10,000 to build a second “K9 Cabin.” Freedom Acres places a premium on sustainability by using solar power, recycled building materials, non-toxic homemade cleaning materials, and native landscaping on their 53-acre site.

“Participating in the Coast Works initiative really helped us sharpen our sustainability vision and planning,” said Ellis. “Winning the award is such an honor, and the second K9 Cabin will allow us to double our revenue and support both me and my husband full-time.”

Two $5,000 runner-up prizes were awarded to Evan Mulvaney for Hidden River Farms in Montesano and Anna Sablan, a Quileute tribal member from La Push, Washington, for Twilight Tiny Homes. Mulvaney will use the award to drill an irrigation well to enable the restoration of Caldwell Creek which runs alongside the farm. Sablan will use her award for materials for the construction of her first tiny home prototype.

The top winners were part of a cohort of twelve emerging entrepreneurs who completed the multi-month business development program. Winners were selected based on the feasibility of the business goals and the potential for the business to have a positive social and environmental impact. Eight businesses received Momentum Awards of at least $500 to launch their small enterprises in the region.

Eric Delvin, Emerald Edge Director at The Nature Conservancy, understands the importance of vibrant local communities. “Businesses that are committed to sustainable use of our natural resources are fundamental to long term conservation, and we are pleased to continue our support of Washington Coast Works,” said Delvin.

The 2016 Coast Works sponsors included title sponsor Quinault Indian Nation, Washington State Department of Commerce, Bank of the Pacific, Enterprise for Equity, The Herbert Jones Foundation, and individuals participating in our crowd-funding campaign. Next year’s competition will get underway in spring 2017. Visit www.wacoastworks.org, for updates.

 

 

Coast Works to Announce 2016 Winners

DSCN7410_KaraCardinalThe final submissions have been evaluated by an independent panel
consisting of eight judges with deep local knowledge and expertise in entrepreneurship, business startups, business management, and sustainability. The scores have been compiled and analyzed. And the winners have been selected!

We are excited to bring the Coast Works finalists together at the 125th Annual Leaders Banquet this Friday, October 14, to celebrate the successful completion of the 2016 Coast Works competition and to announce the winners. The event will take place at the Quinault Beach Resort & Casino (78 State Route 115 – Ocean Shores, WA). Dinner and the Coast Works program starts at 7pm. To register for the event, contact Angela, Greater Grays Harbor Inc., at 360.532.1924 (angela@graysharbor.org).

See you there!

Finalists Make Their Pitch in the Coast Works Business Plan Competition

14333108_532596346945510_3848258907573146929_nSeptember 26, 2016 (SEATTLE, Washington) — Twelve finalists completed the final step in the 2016 Coast Works Sustainable Small Business Competition by competing in the inaugural FastPitch event at Impact HUB Seattle on September 14, 2016.

First place winner will receive $10,000 in startup funding, with several runner-up awards. Winners will be announced at the 125th Annual Leaders Banquet on October 14, 2016 at the Quinault Beach Resort and Casino in Ocean Shores. To purchase banquet tickets, contact Greater Grays Harbor, Inc. at (360) 532-7888.

“It’s exciting to participate in this year’s contest with the goal of growing sustainable small ventures on our Pacific Northwest coast,” says Dick Binns, a retired Intel executive. Binns joined a distinguished group of volunteer mentors, an emerging network of coastal impact angel investors, and seven other judges in the daylong pitch event.

The panel of judges brings a wide diversity of relevant and local experience to the competition.

“There is a rich crop of new ventures this year,” says David Brentlinger, an impact investment consultant with a forestry background, who was also a judge last year. “The business development training by Enterprise for Equity combined with CIE’s Entrepreneurship Summit has elevated the preparedness of the entrepreneurs we are considering for funding. It will be tough to pick the best!”

FastPitch finalists completed a comprehensive eight-week business development program offered by Enterprise for Equity, participated in a two-day Entrepreneurship Summit offered by the Center for Inclusive Entrepreneurship, and prepared written business plans. Participating business plans included a cultural tourism business, a wood boat kit manufacturer, a beekeeper, a fair-trade chocolatier, a tiny homes builder, a dog boarding business, a permaculture farm, a stump grinder, a sustainable vegetable and hog producer, and a manufacturer of art equipment. All are “triple-bottom-line” businesses and designed to generate profits with significant social and environmental benefits.

The Quinault Indian Nation was the 2016 Title Sponsor of Washington Coast Works, which was established by The Nature Conservancy in collaboration with the Center for Inclusive Entrepreneurship, Enterprise for Equity and the Ta’ala Fund, and funded in part by the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Business Development Grant. Coast Works is designed to diversify the economies in Grays Harbor, Jefferson and Clallam Counties through the development of new small businesses, to build business leadership in local communities, to grow a constituency that supports conservation and sustainable natural resource use, and to ultimately contribute to a new vision of sustainable community and economic development on the Washington Coast. Visit www.wacoastworks.org for more information.