A focus on sustainability paid off for the winners of the 2017 Coast Works Sustainable Small Business Competition honored at the Coast Works Awards Ceremony on November 9, 2017 at Olympic Theatre Arts in Sequim.
You can make a difference for sustainable business on the Washington Coast.
Photographed by Tim Regan, Flickr Creative Commons
It’s easy to invest in big Wall Street backed businesses, but next to impossible to invest in a local Main Street business in your community – especially if that business is a startup. The Washington Coast Works Sustainable Small Business Competition is changing that with a crowd funding campaign that lets ordinary folks contribute what they can afford to help emerging entrepreneurs launch new businesses in rural and tribal communities on the Washington Coast. First prize is $10,000 in startup funding, with multiple runner up prizes. See the Washington Coast Works website for details.
This year’s Coast Works entrepreneurs include a cultural tourism business, a wood boat kit manufacturer, a beekeeper, a construction business, a chocolatier, a tiny homes builder, a food truck, a dog boarding business, a permaculture farm, a stump grinder, a nature-inspired fitness company, a sustainable vegetable and hog producer, and a manufacturer of art equipment. All are “triple-bottom-line” businesses designed to generate profits with significant social and environmental benefits.
“How awesome that all of us can contribute to the Coast Works prize money this year,” says Coast Works intern Sarah Haensly who designed the campaign. “Web-based crowd funding now makes it possible for anyone to contribute what they can afford – without calling up your local stock broker.”
Tanikka Watford knows how hard it is to raise startup funding for a small business. She needed significant capital to launch Deep Roots Foods, a Tumwater-based small-scale food co-pack food processing business.
“I was fortunate to find local investors through Social Venture Partners’ FastPitch competition last year, but those opportunities are rare,” says Watford. “I think it is amazing that you all are making it possible for people in Coast Works communities to participate directly in their local economic development!”
MAY 31 (Seattle, Washington) — Fifteen emerging entrepreneurs from coastal communities in Grays Harbor, Jefferson and Clallam Counties are participating in an intensive 8-week business development training provided by Enterprise for Equity as part of the 2016 Washington Coast Works Sustainable Small Business Competition.
Participating businesses include a permaculture farm, a wood boat kit manufacturer, a construction business, a chocolatier, a bee keeper, a tiny homes builder, a dog boarding business, a cultural tourism business, a nature-inspired fitness company, a stump grinder, a sustainable vegetable and hog producer, a manufacturer of art equipment and a food truck — all “triple-bottom-line” businesses designed to generate profits with significant social and environmental benefits.
The training concludes in late July with an Entrepreneurship Summit to be held at the Olympic Natural Resource Center in Forks, Washington. At the Summit, participants will connect to a team of volunteer mentors and advisors who will help them develop their pitch and polish their business plans for presentation to a panel of judges in mid-September, and for a chance to win up to $20,000 in startup financing. Winners will be announced in October.
“It (the competition) gave me a new lease on life — something that I want to do for my community. I want to build our community”, said Jean Ramos, a winner from last year’s competition working to launch a sustainably foraged Labrador tea business.
Liz Ellis, another winner in last year’s competition, used her award to launch East Aberdeen Community Farm.
“I feel so fortunate to have been part of the three days of very intensive workshops,” Ellis said about last year’s Summit. “For me, the most valuable part of the competition was learning and being inspired by professionals and people in business, coaches and economists, and the fellow applicants from the north and the south.”
Washington Coast Works is an initiative of The Nature Conservancy in collaboration with Enterprise for Equity (with support from a USDA Rural Business Development Grant), the Center for Inclusive Entrepreneurship and the Ta’ala Fund. The program is designed to diversify the economies in Grays Harbor, Jefferson and Clallam Counties and contribute to a new vision of sustainable community and economic development on the Washington Coast.
The complete calendar of events leading up to the competition is available at www.wacoastworks.org. Contact Enterprise for Equity at (360) 704-3375 ext. 3 or Mike Skinner firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about the competition.