The Washington Coast Works Sustainable Small Business Competition will award $10,000 to the winning contestant and another $10,000 in runner-up awards. The entrepreneur competition has been established by The Nature Conservancy in collaboration with Enterprise for Equity, Pinchot University’s Center for Inclusive Entrepreneurship, and the Taala Fund. It is also funded in part by a USDA Rural Business Development Grant.
The entrepreneur 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. Entries from other rural communities and the cities of Forks, Ocean Shores, Aberdeen, Hoquiam, Montesano, Cosmopolis and Westport will also be accepted.
The competition is designed to diversify the local economy through the development of new small businesses and build business leadership in local communities. Its goal is to grow a constituency that supports conservation and sustainable natural resource use. Ultimately it is seeking entrepreneurs who will contribute to a new vision of sustainable community and economic development on the Washington Coast.
The thirteen finalists are:
- Alan Richrod (Aberdeen) – Small manufacturing of unique art project holding systems.
- Anna Sablan (La Push) – Solar powered tiny houses.
- Carrie & Jonas Merrill (Beaver) – 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” entrepreneur businesses from coastal communities in Grays Harbor, Jefferson and Clallam Counties. All of their proposals are designed to generate profits with significant social and environmental benefits.
The finalists have completed an 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. They also had an opportunity to connect with experienced business professionals who will help them refine their plans and pitches to be presented to the judging panel in mid-September.
Source and photo credit: Forks Forum News