July 10, 2015

For Immediate Release

The Nature Conservancy
Robin Stanton, (206) 436-6274

Center for Inclusive Entrepreneurship
Mike Skinner, (206) 780-6228

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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