Category Archives: Press Releases

12 Budding Entrepreneurs to Compete for $20,000

July 10, 2015

For Immediate Release

The Nature Conservancy
Robin Stanton, (206) 436-6274
rstanton@tnc.org

Center for Inclusive Entrepreneurship
Mike Skinner, (206) 780-6228
mike.skinner@pinchot.edu

12 Budding Entrepreneurs to Compete for $20,000

Washington Coast Works Sustainable Small Business Competition Enters New Phase

WASHINGTON COAST—Twelve finalists from coastal communities have been chosen to participate in an intensive small-business boot camp in Forks for the Washington Coast Works: Sustainable Small Business Competition (wacoastworks.org).

The boot camp, July 30-Aug. 2, will include workshops on entrepreneurship, business, and sustainability. Following boot camp, finalists will have access to one-on-one technical assistance from experienced business advisors to develop and refine their business concepts, before going on to compete for $20,000 in startup funding, along with ongoing training and support.

First place winner will receive $10,000 in startup funding, while two second-place winners will receive $5,000 each. Prize funding is provided by First Federal Savings and Loan Association of Port Angeles and the Quinault Indian Nation.

The finalists are:

  • Elizabeth Alexandra (Aberdeen) – launching a worker cooperative to collect food waste for production and sale of compost.
  • Emily Foster (Forks/ Quileute Nation) – launching a business that smokes and sells locally caught fish to both residents and tourists.
  • Liz Ellis (Aberdeen) – launching a business providing low-income housing with community gardens.
  • Anna Kim (Westport) – launching a business to manufacture and sell sustainable “papercrete” landscaping materials using recycled paper
  • Robert Long (Neah Bay/Makah Tribe) – launching a business to produce and sell sustainably farmed seaweed and shellfish.
  • Kelsey Pearson (Forks) – launching a food cooperative that will offer a diverse array of local food and produce to the community.
  • Linda Reeves (Queets/Quinault Indian Nation) – launching a market place for Native arts and crafts, as well as local produce and food.
  • Roxanne Eison (Taholah/Quinault Indian Nation) – expanding her existing forest thinning business to include sustainable harvesting and sale of salal.
  • Greg Larsen (Hoquiam) – launching a business to manufacture alternative, affordable and sustainable housing using shipping containers.
  • Mark Ray (Neah Bay/Makah Tribe) – launching a coffee shop featuring local coffee roasters, craft beers, wines, and foods.
  • Jean Ramos (Queets/Quinault Indian Nation) – launching a business to sell traditional Native medicinal products.
  • Michael Myers (Cosmopolis) – launching a consulting business focusing on converting waste to energy using methane digesters.

The competition is being presented by the Taala Fund, the Center for Inclusive Entrepreneurship at Pinchot University, and The Nature Conservancy in an effort to diversify the local economy 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.

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Have An Idea for a Small Business? Enter Now

June 8, 2015 Contact

For Immediate Release

The Nature Conservancy
Robin Stanton, (206) 436-6274
rstanton@tnc.org

Center for Inclusive Entrepreneurship
Mike Skinner, (206) 780-6228
mike.skinner@pinchot.edu

Have An Idea for a Small Business? Enter Now

$20,000 in prize money for Washington Coast Works Business Competition

WASHINGTON COAST–Do you have an idea for a small business that makes money, builds community, and protects the environment? Enter the Washington Coast Works competition to develop the idea and win startup funding.

Deadline to enter the Washington Coast Works: Sustainable Small Business Competition (wacoastworks.org) is June 19.

The Washington Coast Works competition offers budding entrepreneurs an opportunity to develop skills, get support and win cash to launch their businesses. The winner will receive $10,000 in startup funding, and two semifinalists will receive $5,000 each. Prize funding is provided by the Quinault Indian Nation and First Federal Savings and Loan Association of Port Angeles.

The competition is open to applicants starting new businesses in Grays Harbor, Jefferson and Clallam Counties, including the tribal communities of Neah Bay, La Push, Hoh, Queets and Taholah, as well as other rural communities, and the cities of Forks, Ocean Shores, Aberdeen, Hoquiam, Montesano, Cosmopolis and Westport.

The competition is being presented by The Nature Conservancy in partnership with the Center for Inclusive Entrepreneurship at Pinchot University (formerly Bainbridge Graduate Institute) and the Taala Fund. USDA provided funding through its Rural Business Opportunity Grants to help launch the competition.

Details are at wacoastworks.org.

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Small Business Gets a Boost

Washington Coast Works Sustainable Small Business Competition Launches

WASHINGTON COAST–Budding tribal and rural entrepreneurs on the Washington Coast will get a boost in developing small-scale sustainable businesses through a new competition funded in part by the US Department of Agriculture.

The competition, Washington Coast Works, is being sponsored by The Nature Conservancy in partnership with the Center for Inclusive Entrepreneurship at Pinchot University (formerly Bainbridge Graduate Institute) and the Taala Fund. USDA has granted $74,600 through its Rural Business Opportunity Grants to help launch the competition.

The goal is to launch sustainable local businesses that will increase local employment and have positive social, ecological, and economic impacts on their rural communities.

“We have a wealth of natural resources, and the talent to develop new, sustainable ways to use them,” said Rod Fleck, Forks city attorney/planner.  “This is a great opportunity for our community’s entrepreneurs to develop new businesses or improve existing ones.”

“I applaud the Nature Conservancy and its partners for establishing the Washington Coast Works Sustainable Small Business competition, and am proud to support this initiative to launch innovative entrepreneurial opportunities in our state’s rural and tribal communities,” said Sen. Patty Murray, D-WA.

“This competition provides entrepreneurs in tribal and rural areas with the chance to turn an idea into a business that will create jobs and economic opportunity,” said Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-WA. “This is an investment in often under-served communities that will pay dividends for years to come on the Olympic Peninsula. I extend my thanks to the Nature Conservancy and its partners for developing the Sustainable Small Business Competition.”

“The Olympic Peninsula is chock-full of budding entrepreneurs looking to improve their communities – the Sustainable Small Business Competition can help provide that extra nudge needed to help them take off,” said Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-6th District. “Tribal and rural communities alike will benefit from this terrific opportunity to jump start local employment and catalyze private business innovation in sustainability and conservation. I applaud the Nature Conservancy and the Center for Inclusive Entrepreneurship for taking the lead on bringing this great support system to folks in our area.”

After an open application period, 10 semifinalists will be chosen to participate in an intensive business development training with the Center for Inclusive Entrepreneurship (CIE). From the 10 semi-finalists, winners will receive $10,000 in seed funding.

CIE will continue to work one-on-one with all 10 semi-finalists who complete the training, to help successfully launch their businesses, including assistance with business model development, accessing capital, developing business skills, and connecting to networks of support.

The competition will be open to applicants starting new businesses in Grays Harbor, Jefferson and Clallam Counties, including the tribal communities of Neah Bay, La Push, Hoh, Queets and Tahola, as well as other rural communities, and the cities of Forks, Ocean Shores, Aberdeen, Hoquiam, Montesano, Cosmopolis and Westport.

Visit Washington Coast Works on the web at wacoastworks.org or contact Mike Skinner with CIE, (206) 780-6228, for more information.

Pinchot University is a pioneer in sustainable business and transformational leadership. Housed under Pinchot are the Bainbridge Graduate Institute, the Professional Development program of continuing education and the Center for Inclusive Entrepreneurship. Visit Pinchot on the Web at Pinchot.edu.

Taala Fund is a certified Native Community Development Financial Institution (Native CDFI) that has a mission to promote private business development and build assets on the Quinault Indian Reservation and among Quinault Tribal members, improving the quality of life for its people and communities. Visit the Taala Fund on the Web at taalafund.org

The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working in Washington and around the world to protect the lands and waters on which all life depends. Visit The Nature Conservancy in Washington on the Web at WashingtonNature.org.