Washington Coast Gets Sustainable Business Boost
By Eric Delvin, Community Conservation Coordinator
Photograph by Bridget Besaw
What does a business competition have to do with conservation? The Nature Conservancy is committed to a future in which nature and people thrive together. On the Washington Coast, generations have drawn their livelihoods from a wealth of natural resources—abundant salmon and shellfish and trees that grow faster than anywhere else in the world.
As those resources become more stressed, coastal communities are seeking new ways to sustain themselves economically. Strong local communities and empowered local leadership are crucial for longterm stewardship of these natural resources.
Washington Coast Works is a competition that will give budding tribal and rural entrepreneurs a boost. It’s designed to diversify the local economy through the development of new small businesses, build business leadership in local communities, grow a constituency that supports conservation and sustainable natural resource use, and ultimately contribute to a new vision of sustainable community and economic development on the Washington Coast.
The competition is being presented by The Nature Conservancy in partnership with the Center for Inclusive Entrepreneurship at Pinchot University (formerly Bainbridge Graduate Institute) and the Taala Fund. USDA has granted $74,600 through its Rural Business Opportunity Grants to help launch the competition.
The goal is to launch sustainable local businesses that will increase local employment and have positive social, ecological, and economic impacts on their rural communities.
“We have a wealth of natural resources, and the talent to develop new, sustainable ways to use them,” said Rod Fleck, Forks city attorney/planner. “This is a great opportunity for our community’s entrepreneurs to develop new businesses or improve existing ones.”