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

 

 

WASHINGTON COAST WORKS COMPETITOR PROFILE: JIM STANLEY

September 20, 2017 (Westport, Washington) —Jim Stanley may have spent fifteen years as a corporate banker, but he never strayed far from his tribal fishing heritage, and has continued to seek ways to give back to his community.

Stanley is a Taholah native and one of fifteen finalists in the 2017 Washington Coast Works Small Business Competition vying for up to $10,000 in startup financing. He launched Wild Salish Seafood after a career in commercial lending and a marketing degree from Western Washington University, as a way to keep more of the commercial fishing dollars in the Quinault community.

By coordinating small-batch seafood deliveries to the greater Seattle and Portland region, Stanley will create new markets; he will create new jobs by hiring retirees and fishermen who still want to work but can no longer withstand the physical rigor of commercial fishing.

“Our success depends on good relationships”, says Stanley. “I am aware of those relationships when I am navigating the complexities of the fisheries eco-system, or working with the crew of Josie, or meeting new customers. And as a young guy, I get to learn from the experienced Quinault fishing fleet, as they share their generational knowledge with me.”

“Jim brings revenue and jobs to the Peninsula while reducing the carbon footprint of the food we eat,” says Mike Skinner, Director of the Center for Inclusive Entrepreneurship and the Washington Coast Works Administrator. “Generating profit and benefiting community and our planet exemplifies the triple bottom line business model that Coast Works is designed to catalyze.”

Videos and other posts on the business Facebook page help capture the stories and images involved in harvesting Dungeness crab and black cod, two primary products of Wild Salish Seafood.

Stanley is in the final phase of writing his case statement for the November 9 competition that will take place in Sequim. Any winnings will go towards revenue producing assets that support his operations.

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

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

Jim Stanley, Wild Salish Seafood; P: 425.283.8715  E:  Jim@WildSalish.com

WASHINGTON COAST WORKS COMPETITOR PROFILE: ANN ROSECRANTS

August 29, 2017 (Port Angeles, Washington) — When wool producer Ann Rosecrants heard about the chance to vie for $10,000 in startup financing through the Washington Coast Works Small Business Competition, she told her non-profit board, “Here’s our website. I’ll take this.”

Rosecrants, who raises Cotswold sheep and llama in Clallam County, submitted her winning application to become one of fifteen finalists in the 2017 Coast Works Competition.

The website that Rosecrants references is at the center of Twisted Strait Fibers’ hub-and-spoke sales platform for any Olympic Peninsula farmer who produces alpaca, sheep, mohair and yak fiber; for the fiber artist who wants to create yarns, art, and products for the home, such as duvets; and, for the consumer who is searching for homegrown fiber products.

Twisted Strait Fibers currently has forty paying members, but there are 516 fiber farms in Clallam, Grays Harbor, Island, Jefferson and Kitsap Counties alone according to the USDA 2012 Census of Agriculture. That is a lot of fiber that is not being processed locally, if at all. Current members recognize that as a cooperative, they can leverage each other’s efforts to create a profitable industry and keep those dollars on the Peninsula. Membership fees and sales profits will generate the revenue to purchase milling equipment. The processing, or milling, of the fibers is where producers lose most of their profit.

“The real costs are in the washing and processing of the fiber,” says Rosecrants, who holds a business degree and is a twenty-year veteran from the United States Air Force. “If we can make this work, we can save farmlands and produce textiles that are biodegradable and sequester carbon,” adds Rosecrants.

“Ann‘s project to create a fibershed on the Olympic Peninsula is an example of the triple bottom line projects that define Coast Works,” says Mike Skinner, Director of the Center for Inclusive Entrepreneurship and the Washington Coast Works Administrator.  “It is exciting for all of us at CIE to provide ongoing training and technical assistance to past and present participants so they can move their business ideas forward. This is in part due to the generous support of the USDA’s Rural Business Development Grant program, the title sponsorship of KeyBank, and the ongoing support of The Nature Conservancy.”

Rosecrants is in the final phase of preparing her written case statement. On November 9, she will present a five-minute “fast pitch” to a panel of independent judges.

Learn more at twistedstraitfibers.com or through the business Facebook page.

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

WASHINGTON COAST WORKS COMPETITOR PROFILE: Jessie Newberg

June 27, 2017 (Port Angeles, Washington) — Winemaker and Port Angeles native Jessie Newberg is one of fifteen finalists in the 2017 Washington Coast Works Small Business Competition vying for up to $10,000 in startup financing.

Hurricane Hills Winery, established in 2016, borrows its name from the panoramic ridge that served as the backdrop of Newberg’s
childhood; the surrounding mountains of the Olympic National Park are the source of the spring water in her wines.

Newberg’s artisan wine is produced using locally harvested fruits and vegetables that result in unique blends, including Blackberry Beet, Orchard Plum, Heirloom Apple and the Blackberry
Lavender Wine that she served at the recent Sequim Lavender Festival. Working with local farmers, Newberg is able to glean produce that might otherwise go to waste because it doesn’t
meet the beauty standards for a market stand. Any award money would be used to scale up the
business and create efficiencies.

“Larger tanks and better processing equipment will allow me keep up with demand,” says Newberg, who has a waiting list for her wines. She sells online and at local farmers markets, and would eventually like to move the business out of her Port Angeles home and into a public tasting room.

Newberg has even bigger dreams. She can envision a permaculture and u-pick operation that would allow community members to participate in harvesting their own produce. “As a single
mom,” notes Newberg, “I work all the time, but can allow some flexibility to be a parent while creating the quality of life and contributing to the community I want for my family.”

“Jessie ‘s motivation and commitment to her business and her community is inspiring,” says Mike Skinner, Director of the Center for Inclusive Entrepreneurship and the Washington Coast
Works Administrator. “She understands the importance of preserving farmland and the value of local ag production,” adds Skinner. “Jessie exemplifies the spirit and objectives of the Coast
Works initiative and has a clear sense of how award funding could take her business to the next level.”

Finalists will present their written case statement and a five-minute “fast pitch” to a panel of independent judges in early November. Past and present Coast Works entrepreneurs, sponsors, funders, partners, and folks from the Coast Works communities will be invited to celebrate the finalists and help launch a new Coast Works Alliance.

Learn more at hurricanehillswinery.com or through the business Facebook page.

To learn about sponsorship and mentoring opportunities or how to contribute to the prize money through our crowd-funding campaign, visit www.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

Robin Stanton, The Nature Conservancy
P: 206.436.6274 | E: rstanton@tnc.org
Jessica Newberg, Hurricane Hills Winery
P: 360.797.3493 | E: hurricanehillswinery@gmail.com

Sustainable Small Businesses Move Forward on the Olympic Peninsula

June 23, 2017 (Forks, Washington) — Fifteen emerging entrepreneurs from coastal communities along the Emerald Edge of the Olympic Peninsula concluded a four-day Entrepreneurship Intensive June 14-18 at the University of Washington Olympic Natural Resource Center in Forks. The participants are finalists in the 2017 Washington Coast Works Small Business Competition vying for up to $10,000 in startup financing.

The Intensive focused on entrepreneurship, the fundamentals of a triple bottom line business model, and the role that small businesses can play in building resilient and conservation-oriented local economies. The 2017 Coast Works Title Sponsor is KeyBank. Additional support is provided by the Jamestown-S’Klallam Tribe, Bank of the Pacific, Port of Port Angeles, and Washington State Department of Commerce.

“Now the real work begins,” says Mike Skinner, Director of the Center for Inclusive Entrepreneurship and the Washington Coast Works Administrator. “Participants have been immersed in business fundamentals and strategies needed to develop a triple bottom line business model,” adds Skinner. “They now move forward with ongoing training and one-on-one technical assistance from experienced business advisors to apply what they have learned.”

Finalists will present their written case statement and a five-minute “fast pitch” to a panel of independent judges in late Fall . Past and present Coast Works entrepreneurs, sponsors, funders, partners, and folks from the Coast Works communities will be invited to celebrate the finalists and help launch a new Coast Works Alliance.

Kriska Obermiller from Sequim, is starting a Native storytelling business. “I’m so glad I stepped out of my comfort zone and attended this training,” she says. “I met some amazing people. We are the dream warriors, and this is where it starts.”

Jess Foss, from Amanda Park, participated last year and re-applied with a new business venture that resources byproducts of his biodiesel-powered stump grinding business. “Coast Works has changed my life,” says Foss. “I didn’t think it was possible to start my own business. Now, I’m up and running and sales are growing fast.”

To learn about sponsorship and mentoring opportunities or how to contribute to the prize money through our crowd-funding campaign, visit www.wacoastworks.org, or contact Mike Skinner at (206) 235-6029.

 

Fifteen Sustainable Small Businesses Move Forward with Washington Coast Works

MAY 31, 2017 (Seattle, Washington) — Fifteen emerging entrepreneurs from coastal communities in Grays Harbor, Jefferson and Clallam Counties, have been selected as finalists to participate in an intensive small-business training for the 2017 Washington Coast Works Sustainable Small Business Competition.

The Coast Works Intensive, to be held at the Olympic Natural Resource Center in Forks, Washington on June 14-18, will include workshops on entrepreneurship, business development, and sustainability. Following the Intensive, finalists will have access to one-on-one technical assistance from experienced business advisors to develop and refine their business concepts, and become eligible to compete for up to $10,000 in startup financing.

Participating businesses include a bio-diesel soap business, a local meat butcher, a u-pick berry business, eco-tourism, agri-tourism and cultural tourism businesses, a winemaker, a tree-free artisan paper business, local food and tea businesses, native weaving and jewelry businesses, an up-cycling nonprofit, an online marketplace for local natural fibers, , and a native seafood marketing business — all “triple-bottom-line” businesses designed to profitably generate significant social and environmental benefits.

The 2017 Coast Works Title Sponsor is KeyBank. Additional prize funding and support is provided by Bank of the Pacific, Port of Port Angeles, and Washington State Department of Commerce. Coast Works winners will be announced in October.

“The competition gave me a new lease on life — something that I want to do for my community,” said Jean Ramos, a prior Coast Works winner. “I want to build our community.” Ramos has successfully launched SovereigNDNTea, a Queets business selling Native medicinal tea made from sustainably foraged Bog Labrador.

The complete calendar of events leading up to the competition is available at www.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

Robin Stanton, The Nature Conservancy

P: 206.436.6274  |  E: rstanton@tnc.org

 

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.