14333108_532596346945510_3848258907573146929_nSeptember 26, 2016 (SEATTLE, Washington) — Twelve finalists completed the final step in the 2016 Coast Works Sustainable Small Business Competition by competing in the inaugural FastPitch event at Impact HUB Seattle on September 14, 2016.

First place winner will receive $10,000 in startup funding, with several runner-up awards. Winners will be announced at the 125th Annual Leaders Banquet on October 14, 2016 at the Quinault Beach Resort and Casino in Ocean Shores. To purchase banquet tickets, contact Greater Grays Harbor, Inc. at (360) 532-7888.

“It’s exciting to participate in this year’s contest with the goal of growing sustainable small ventures on our Pacific Northwest coast,” says Dick Binns, a retired Intel executive. Binns joined a distinguished group of volunteer mentors, an emerging network of coastal impact angel investors, and seven other judges in the daylong pitch event.

The panel of judges brings a wide diversity of relevant and local experience to the competition.

“There is a rich crop of new ventures this year,” says David Brentlinger, an impact investment consultant with a forestry background, who was also a judge last year. “The business development training by Enterprise for Equity combined with CIE’s Entrepreneurship Summit has elevated the preparedness of the entrepreneurs we are considering for funding. It will be tough to pick the best!”

FastPitch finalists completed a comprehensive eight-week business development program offered by Enterprise for Equity, participated in a two-day Entrepreneurship Summit offered by the Center for Inclusive Entrepreneurship, and prepared written business plans. Participating business plans included a cultural tourism business, a wood boat kit manufacturer, a beekeeper, a fair-trade chocolatier, a tiny homes builder, a dog boarding business, a permaculture farm, a stump grinder, a sustainable vegetable and hog producer, and a manufacturer of art equipment. All are “triple-bottom-line” businesses and designed to generate profits with significant social and environmental benefits.

The Quinault Indian Nation was the 2016 Title Sponsor of Washington Coast Works, which was established by The Nature Conservancy in collaboration with the Center for Inclusive Entrepreneurship, Enterprise for Equity and the Ta’ala Fund, and funded in part by the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Business Development Grant. Coast Works is designed to diversify the economies in Grays Harbor, Jefferson and Clallam Counties through the development of new small businesses, to build business leadership in local communities, to grow a constituency that supports conservation and sustainable natural resource use, and to ultimately contribute to a new vision of sustainable community and economic development on the Washington Coast. Visit www.wacoastworks.org for more information.