“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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This year, Enterprise for Equity’s comprehensive integrated business training program is the pathway to the competition. Contestants must participate in an Ideation Event or an Enterprise for Equity Information Session and must participate in Enterprise for Equity’s Business Readiness Workshop. Coast Works contestants will be selected from graduates of Enterprise for Equity’s Business Readiness Workshop and will be required to complete Enterprise for Equity’s Business Planning Program.

  • Information Sessions: One-hour meetings open to the public that provide an opportunity to meet with people interested in starting or growing a business and learning about their ideas and needs. Enterprise for Equity will share information about its organization and services. Information Sessions are included in the Ideation Events. If you are not able to attend an Ideation Event, contact Enterprise for Equity to make separate arrangements to complete an Information Session.
  • Business Readiness Workshop: This two-day exploratory and interactive workshop is for entrepreneurs and would-be entrepreneurs. It provides an excellent opportunity to explore self-employment and business from many perspectives. Participants will explore the feasibility of their business ideas, how to look at it from a triple-bottom line perspective (economy, ecology, and equity), what is involved in launching and growing a business, and deepen their understanding of the essential information needed to develop a road map to success. At the end, participants will know how to strategically consider any business concept and have the tools they need for develop their business planning building blocks. Coast Works contestants will be selected from graduates of Enterprise for Equity’s Business Readiness Workshop.
  • Business Planning Program: Participants who have taken the Business Readiness Workshop and are ready to move forward with their business are eligible to enroll in the Business Planning Program. Classes generally meet one evening a week for 8-10 weeks. This experiential program covers all of the main areas of business planning, including: marketing, pricing, competition, costs, cash flow projections, financing, and operations, with an emphasis on sustainability and the triple-bottom line. In addition, the training program gives participants practical, hands-on experience in developing their business plans. Participants gain many skills in entrepreneurial development as well. At the end of the training, participants will have created a fully developed plan for their business. Those who successfully complete the program are considered graduates and are eligible for on-going support and business technical assistance. Coast Works contestants are required to complete Enterprise for Equity’s Business Planning Program.
  • Financing: Enterprise for Equity’s microloan fund offers entrepreneurs who complete the Business Planning Program access to loan financing up to $25,000 for start-up and existing businesses. These funds are available to graduates of the program who cannot get financing elsewhere and want to access loan funds for tools, equipment, marketing, business services, or other business needs. These loans come with support throughout the application process, favorable rates and a streamlined payment process. Enterprise for Equity also partners with several other lending institutions for loans that exceed our thresholds.
  • Other Resources: Enterprise for Equity also offers workshops on Dependable Strengths, Financial Education and Entrepreneurial Mindset for people interested in exploring entrepreneurship as an avenue for growing their incomes.

For Coast Works contestants, Enterprise for Equity’s Business Planning Program will culminate in a Boot Camp and Pitch Clinic, where contestants will participate in workshops on sustainability, lean startup and making a pitch, meet with business advisers and mentors, and assemble an advisory team who will help them polish their business plans and prepare their pitch to the Coast Work’s judging panel at the Coast Works FastPitch.