Category Archives: Press Releases

Sustainable Small Business Competition Deadline is Next Monday

MAY 17, 2017 (Olympia, Washington) — Midnight on Monday, May 22, is the deadline for applications for the 2017 Washington Coast Works Sustainable Small Business Competition. Fifteen finalists will be chosen to participate in intensive training, network building, and a chance to win up to $10,000 to move their business ideas forward. All businesses must be “triple bottom line” enterprises 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.

Applications received to date are start-up businesses focused on natural fibers, sustainable small farms, and sustainable local food products.

“In past years, the competition focused on coastal communities”, says Mike Skinner, Washington Coast Works Administrator. “This year, the competition also includes communities along the Strait of Juan de Fuca and as a result, many of our applications are coming from the Port Angeles area.”

The complete calendar of events leading up to the competition is available at www.wacoastworks.org, or contact Mike Skinner at (206) 235-6029.

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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

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.

 

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.

 

 

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.

 

13 Budding Eco-Entrepreneurs to Compete for $20,000

Photo by National Park Service
Photo by National Park Service

Washington Coast Works Sustainable Small Business Competition Enters New Phase

August 3, 2016 (Washington Coast) —Thirteen finalists from coastal communities are advancing in the Washington Coast Works Sustainable Small Business Competition (wacoastworks.org). First place winner will receive $10,000 in startup funding, with several runner-up awards. The Quinault Indian Nation is this year’s competition title sponsor. Other sponsors include the Washington State Department of Commerce and Bank of the Pacific.

The 2016 Washington Coast Works finalists are:

  • Alan Richrod (Aberdeen) – Small manufacturing of unique art project holding systems.
  • Anna Sablan (La Push) – Solar powered tiny houses.
  • Carrie & Jonas Merrill (Beever) – Beekeeping farm.
  • Ceantanni Polm (Ocean Shores) – Community supported permaculture farm operating with closed loop systems.
  • Earla Penn (La Push) – Cultural eco-tours of the Quileute reservation.
  • Evan Mulvaney (Montesano) – Pig farm using sustainable agriculture and pastured pork.
  • Jeff Meeks (Montesano) – Sustainable production of boat kits and woodworking.
  • Jesse Foss (Amanda Park) – Bio-diesel stump grinding and wood chip recycling.
  • Jessica Ellis (Montesano)- Solar powered dog boarding.
  • Laurel Shearer (Aberdeen) – Homemade candies using fair trade chocolate.
  • Mike Maki (Hoquiam) – Bio-Char based organic fertilizer.

All are “triple-bottom-line” businesses from coastal communities in Grays Harbor, Jefferson and Clallam Counties and designed to generate profits with significant social and environmental benefits.

The finalists have completed a comprehensive eight-week comprehensive business plan development program, provided by Enterprise for Equity and a two-day Entrepreneurship Summit in Forks facilitated by the Center for Inclusive Entrepreneurship. At the Summit, finalists participated in workshops and activities focused on the entrepreneur’s mindset, lean startup techniques, sustainability, business finance and pitch presentations and connected to experienced business professionals who will help them refine their plans and pitches to be presented to the judging panel in mid-September.

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Washington Coast Works was established by The Nature Conservancy, in collaboration with Enterprise for Equity, the Center for Inclusive Entrepreneurship and the Ta’ala Fund, and funded in part by the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Business Development Grant. 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.

Crowd-funding Raises Prize Money for Coast Works Business Plan Competition

newcausevoxlogoJuly 18, 2016 (Seattle, Washington) — It’s easy to invest in big Wall Street backed businesses, but next to impossible to invest in a local Main Street business in your community – especially if that business is a startup. The Washington Coast Works Sustainable Small Business Competition is changing that with a crowd funding campaign that lets ordinary folks contribute what they can afford to help emerging entrepreneurs launch new businesses in rural and tribal communities on the Washington Coast. First prize is $10,000 in startup funding, with multiple runner up prizes. See www.coastworks.causevox.com.

This year’s Coast Works entrepreneurs include a cultural tourism business, a wood boat kit manufacturer, a beekeeper, a construction business, a chocolatier, a tiny homes builder, a food truck, a dog boarding business, a permaculture farm, a stump grinder, a nature-inspired fitness company, a sustainable vegetable and hog producer, and a manufacturer of art equipment. All are “triple-bottom-line” businesses designed to generate profits with significant social and environmental benefits.

“How awesome that all of us can contribute to the Coast Works prize money this year,” says Coast Works intern Sarah Haensly who designed the campaign. “Web-based crowd funding now makes it possible for anyone to contribute what they can afford – without calling up your local stock broker.”

Tanikka Watford knows how hard it is to raise startup funding for a small business. She needed significant capital to launch Deep Roots Foods, a Tumwater-based small-scale food co-pack food processing business.

“I was fortunate to find local investors through Social Venture Partners’ FastPitch competition last year, but those opportunities are rare,” says Watford. “I think it is amazing that you all are making it possible for people in Coast Works communities to participate directly in their local economic development!”

Visit www.wacoastworks.org for more information.

Story Contacts:

Robin Ohlgren, Coast Works Director of Sponsorship: P| 208-301-1011 E|robin@ohlgren.com

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Washington Coast Works was established by The Nature Conservancy, in collaboration with Enterprise for Equity, the Center for Inclusive Entrepreneurship and the Ta’ala Fund, and funded in part by the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Business Development Grant. 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.

 

Quinault Indian Nation named Title Sponsor for Washington Coast Works Sustainable Business Plan Competition

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June 21, 2016 (Seattle, Washington) — Washington Coast Works is pleased to announce the Quinault Indian Nation as the Title Sponsor for the 2016 Sustainable Small Business Competition. This year’s business training is underway and will conclude July 22-24 during the Entrepreneurship Summit at the Olympic Natural Resource Center in Forks, Washington. At the Summit, participants will develop their presentation pitch and polish their business plans for a chance to vie for up to $20,000 in startup financing. Winners will be announced in October.

This year’s participating entrepreneurs include a cultural tourism business, a wood boat kit manufacturer, a bee keeper, a construction business, a chocolatier, a tiny homes builder, a food truck, a dog boarding business, a permaculture farm, a stump grinder, a nature-inspired fitness company, a sustainable vegetable and hog producer, and a manufacturer of art equipment. All are “triple-bottom-line” businesses from coastal communities in Grays Harbor, Jefferson and Clallam Counties and designed to generate profits with significant social and environmental benefits.

“The Quinault Indian Nation is a critical partner for us,” said Eric Delvin, Emerald Edge Project Manager at The Nature Conservancy. “Their commitment to conservation of their natural resources and to sustainable economic development is clearly demonstrated by their sponsorship of Washington Coast Works.”

Other 2016 competition sponsors include Enterprise for Equity and Washington Department of Commerce.

Washington Coast Works is an initiative of The Nature Conservancy in collaboration with Enterprise for Equity (with support from a USDA Rural Business Development Grant), the Center for Inclusive Entrepreneurship, and the Ta’ala Fund, a native community development financial institution that supports business development in western Washington coast tribal communities.

The complete calendar of events leading up to the competition is available at www.wacoastworks.org. Contact at Mike Skinner info@wacoastworks.org to learn more about the competition, to volunteer to mentor or judge, or to request information about more sponsorship opportunities.

Story Contacts:

Robin Ohlgren, WA Coast Works Sponsorship Director of Sponsorship: P | 208-301-1011  
E | robin@ohlgren.com

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Washington Coast Works was established by The Nature Conservancy, in collaboration with Enterprise for Equity, the Center for Inclusive Entrepreneurship and the Ta’ala Fund, and funded in part by the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Business Development Grant. 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 Move Forward with Washington Coast Works

Eight intrepid entrepreneurs at Enterprise for Equity's Business Readiness Workshop in Forks, Washington last month
Eight intrepid entrepreneurs at Enterprise for Equity’s Business Readiness Workshop in Forks, Washington last month

MAY 31 (Seattle, Washington) — Fifteen emerging entrepreneurs from coastal communities in Grays Harbor, Jefferson and Clallam Counties are participating in an intensive 8-week business development training provided by Enterprise for Equity as part of the 2016 Washington Coast Works Sustainable Small Business Competition.

Participating businesses include a permaculture farm, a wood boat kit manufacturer, a construction business, a chocolatier, a bee keeper, a tiny homes builder, a dog boarding business, a cultural tourism business, a nature-inspired fitness company, a stump grinder, a sustainable vegetable and hog producer, a manufacturer of art equipment and a food truck — all “triple-bottom-line” businesses designed to generate profits with significant social and environmental benefits.

The training concludes in late July with an Entrepreneurship Summit to be held at the Olympic Natural Resource Center in Forks, Washington. At the Summit, participants will connect to a team of volunteer mentors and advisors who will help them develop their pitch and polish their business plans for presentation to a panel of judges in mid-September, and for a chance to win up to $20,000 in startup financing. Winners will be announced in October.

“It (the competition) gave me a new lease on life — something that I want to do for my community. I want to build our community”, said Jean Ramos, a winner from last year’s competition working to launch a sustainably foraged Labrador tea business.

Liz Ellis, another winner in last year’s competition, used her award to launch East Aberdeen Community Farm.

“I feel so fortunate to have been part of the three days of very intensive workshops,” Ellis said about last year’s Summit. “For me, the most valuable part of the competition was learning and being inspired by professionals and people in business, coaches and economists, and the fellow applicants from the north and the south.”

Washington Coast Works is an initiative of The Nature Conservancy in collaboration with Enterprise for Equity (with support from a USDA Rural Business Development Grant), the Center for Inclusive Entrepreneurship and the Ta’ala Fund. The program is designed to diversify the economies in Grays Harbor, Jefferson and Clallam Counties and contribute to a new vision of sustainable community and economic development on the Washington Coast.

The complete calendar of events leading up to the competition is available at www.wacoastworks.org. Contact Enterprise for Equity at (360) 704-3375 ext. 3 or Mike Skinner info@wacoastworks.org for more information about the competition.

Story Contacts: 

Robin Ohlgren, WA Coast Works Fundraiser: P | 208-301-1011  
E | robin@ohlgren.com

Liz Ellis, East Aberdeen Community Farm: P | 360-780-0349  E | harborsolar@yahoo.com

Jean Ramos, SovereigNDNTea: P | 360-780-0349   E|  jeanniebug.123@gmail.com

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Washington Coast Works was established by The Nature Conservancy, in collaboration with Enterprise for Equity, the Center for Inclusive Entrepreneurship and the Ta’ala Fund, and funded in part by the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Business Development Grant. 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.

Washington Coast Works Launches Sponsorship Drive

FEBRUARY 19 (Seattle, Washington) — Over 40 aspiring entrepreneurs, community leaders, business professionals and economic developers participated in one of six ideation events during early February in Aberdeen, Taholah, Amanda Park, Forks, La Push, and Neah Bay. Participants shared their business ideas and learned about the opportunity to vie for startup funding to move their business ideas forward.

It’s not too late to jump on board. Folks looking to start or develop businesses on the Washington coast are eligible to participate in the competition. To learn more about the competition and on-going business readiness and business planning workshops, two free information sessions are offered at the Timberland Library in Hoquiam on Thursday, March 1, 2016 from 5:30-7:00pm and at Peninsula College in Forks on Wednesday, March 16, 2016 from 5:30-7:00pm.

The goal of the Coast Works initiative is to provide the opportunity to develop triple bottom line businesses that generate profit by contributing to conservation of local natural resources, local leadership, and the local economy. Last year’s first-place competition winner, 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.

“Emily’s business idea is a great example of a business that encourages responsible use of our natural resources”, says Mike Skinner, the Coast Works Administrator. “Businesses making sustainable use of local natural resources are the ones that will form the sustainable economies and vibrant rural communities for the future.”

We are excited to announce that Robin Fahle Ohlgren has joined the Coast Works team to lead the sponsorship drive. Ohlgren is an organizational strategist and entrepreneur with a strong background in community-based economic development. She will be reaching out to businesses and organizations on the Olympic Peninsula to present opportunities to support and sponsor the initiative. You can contact Ohlgren at robin@ohlgren.com to learn more about sponsorship, or if there are occasions to meet with key business leaders who would like to hear about opportunities to get involved.

 

“Our communities are attractive to newcomers when there is an engaged entrepreneurial culture,” Ohlgren said. “I get a great deal of satisfaction helping folks grow their business and especially enjoy creating connections between established business leaders and newly-minted entrepreneurs.”

The complete calendar of events leading up to the competition is available on the Coast Works website at www.wacoastworks.org. Contact Enterprise for Equity at (360) 704-3375 ext. 3 or Mike Skinner info@wacoastworks.org for more information about the competition.