“Through our Startup Washington strategy, we recognize the vital role of entrepreneurship and home-grown economic development in long-term prosperity for rural communities and the state as a whole. Supporting expansion of business opportunities in tribal lands is a key priority which emerged from our Tribal-State Economic Development Summit last year, and the Washington Coast Works sustainable small business competition is a great step forward in that action plan.” – Gov. Jay Inslee

“This competition provides entrepreneurs in tribal and rural areas with the chance to turn an idea into a business that will create jobs and economic opportunity. This is an investment in often under-served communities that will pay dividends for years to come on the Olympic Peninsula. I extend my thanks to the Nature Conservancy and its partners for developing the Sustainable Small Business Competition.” – Senator Maria Cantwell

“I applaud the Nature Conservancy and its partners for establishing the Washington Coast Works Sustainable Small Business competition, and am proud to support this initiative to launch innovative entrepreneurial opportunities in our state’s rural and tribal communities,” – Senator Patty Murray

“The Olympic Peninsula is chock-full of budding entrepreneurs looking to improve their communities – the Sustainable Small Enterprise Competition can help provide that extra nudge needed to help them take off. Tribal and rural communities alike will benefit from this terrific opportunity to jump start local employment and catalyze private business innovation in sustainability and conservation. I applaud the Nature Conservancy and the Center for Inclusive Entrepreneurship for taking the lead on bringing this great support system to folks in our area.” – Rep. Derek Kilmer

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Each of the collaborators involved in this project will bring their respective organizational strengths to ensure the success of the initiative.

  • Enterprise for Equity (E4E) has been providing enterprise development training and support in the South Sound region for 15 years, launching over 170 small enterprises that are up and running today. E4E will be the exclusive training provider for Coast Works participants through its Business Readiness Workshop and its Business Planning Program.
  • The Center for Inclusive Entrepreneurship (CIE) provides first step entrepreneurship and enterprise development support aimed at sustainable community economic development. CIE will coordinate the overall competition, help develop needed partnerships and sponsorships from local business groups, coordinate portions of the training program and provide technical support to successful applicants.
  • The Taala Fund is the only Native Community Development Financial Institution on the coast of Western Washington. Taala Fund will focus on outreach and recruitment of business proposals that will benefit Native American communities or are sponsored by tribal members.
  • The Nature Conservancy (TNC) works to conserve the lands and waters upon which all life depends. In addition to land and water conservation, TNC is working to support healthy and sustainable communities on the Washington Coast. TNC’s role in the project is to support entrepreneurs in local communities to develop conditions that foster sustainable management of local natural resources.