WASHINGTON COAST–Do you have an idea for a small business that makes money, builds community, and protects the environment? Take a step to move your idea forward!

Washington Coast Works: Sustainable Small Business Competition (wacoastworks.org) offers budding entrepreneurs an opportunity to develop skills, get support and win cash to launch sustainable small businesses. The winner will receive $10,000 in startup funding, and two semifinalists will receive $5,000 each.

Last year, twelve contestants participated in the Coast Works Boot Camp and Pitch Clinic and three winners are now working to launch their new businesses.

This year, thanks to funding from USDA Rural Development, Coast Works is joined by Enterprise for Equity, a business development program with a 15-year track record of success in helping people start and grow small businesses in the region.

Enterprise for Equity will be providing a variety of ongoing business training programs and support services. Coast Works contestants will be selected from graduates of Enterprise for Equity’s Business Readiness Workshop and will participate in its Business Planning Program.

Coast Works kicks off with six community “ideation” events, to be held February 1-4 in Taholah, Aberdeen, Amanda Park, La Push, Forks and Neah Bay (click here for details on locations and dates). These three-hour workshops will:

• Answer all your questions about the competition and Enterprise for Equity, including how to apply, how the finalists and winners will be selected, what training and support will be provided, and more.

• Introduce you to the entrepreneur’s mindset, the opportunity discovery process, and sustainable “triple bottom line” businesses.

• Engage you in brainstorming activities designed to help generate ideas for new sustainable businesses that build leadership, contribute to conservation and keep money in the local economy.

Ideation Events are free and open to the general public. Not everyone wants to start and run a business. But we all have the potential to be entrepreneurial. Through chalk talks and group activities, we’ll help each other awaken our “inner entrepreneur” to brainstorm business ideas that transform problems and needs in our communities into profitable businesses that produce social and environmental benefits – and meet the criteria for the competition!

Coast Works contestants must attend an Ideation Event or make separate arrangements to complete an Enterprise for Equity Information Session. Non-contestants are encouraged to participate, too. To register, complete Enterprise for Equity’s Business Plan Training registration form at www.enterpriseforequity.org/intake/. Once you submit your registration form, a member of the Coast Works team will call you to discuss next steps.

If you have any questions regarding the registration process, contact Enterprise for Equity by email at office@enterpriseforequity.org or by phone at (360) 704-3375. Contact the Coast Works team at info@wacoastworks.org if you have any questions or for more information about the competition.

The competition is being presented by The Nature Conservancy in partnership with Enterprise for Equity (with support from a USDA Rural Business Development Grant), Pinchot University’s Center for Inclusive Entrepreneurship and the Taala Fund.  Click here for more information about the Coast Works partners.