Sustainable small businesses move forward on OP

Fifteen emerging entrepreneurs from coastal communities along the Emerald Edge of the Olympic Peninsula concluded a four-day Entrepreneurship Intensive June 14-18 at the University of Washington Olympic Natural Resource Center in Forks.

The participants are finalists in the 2017 Washington Coast Works Small Business Competition vying for up to $10,000 in startup financing.

The Intensive focused on entrepreneurship, the fundamentals of a triple bottom line business model and the role that small businesses can play in building resilient and conservation-oriented local economies. The 2017 Coast Works Title Sponsor is KeyBank.

Additional support is provided by the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, Bank of the Pacific, Port of Port Angeles and Washington State Department of Commerce.

“Now the real work begins,” says Mike Skinner, director of the Center for Inclusive Entrepreneurship and the Washington Coast Works Administrator. “Participants have been immersed in business fundamentals and strategies needed to develop a triple bottom line business model,” adds Skinner. “They now move forward with ongoing training and one-on-one technical assistance from experienced business advisors to apply what they have learned.”

Finalists will present their written case statement and a five-minute “fast pitch” to a panel of independent judges in late fall.

Past and present Coast Works entrepreneurs, sponsors, funders, partners and folks from the Coast Works communities will be invited to celebrate the finalists and help launch a new Coast Works Alliance.

Kriska Obermiller from Sequim, is starting a Native storytelling business. “I’m so glad I stepped out of my comfort zone and attended this training,” she says. “I met some amazing people. We are the dream warriors and this is where it starts.”

Jess Foss, from Amanda Park, participated last year and re-applied with a new business venture that resources byproducts of his biodiesel-powered stump grinding business.

“Coast Works has changed my life,” says Foss. “I didn’t think it was possible to start my own business. Now, I’m up and running and sales are growing fast.”

To learn about sponsorship and mentoring opportunities or how to contribute to the prize money through its crowd-funding campaign, visit www.wacoastworks.org, or contact Mike Skinner at 206-235-6029.

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