UNALAKLEET—The Norton Sound Economic Development Corporation’s (NSEDC) Small Business Initiative (SBI) program awarded a total of $127,628 to four regional entrepreneurs at a ceremony on Friday, October 9, 2015. Following two days of presentations and interviews, grants went to a store in Brevig Mission, a pet care business in Nome, a Toyostove service and repair shop in Nome, and a hair salon in Nome. The recipients have two years to implement their business plans and utilize the available funding.
In its history, NSEDC has allocated a total of nearly $900,000 to the SBI program, awarding 40 recipients throughout the Norton Sound region. In 2015, the NSEDC Board of Directors increased the overall funding amount from $105,000 to $150,000. In 2015, 23 proposals were received and an independent panel of judges narrowed down the applicants to five finalists who gave live presentations during the final evaluation process. All five finalists received a new laptop with the software programs Quickbooks Pro and Microsoft Office, which encourages the finalists to continue on with their dream of becoming economically self-sufficient.
“Having a knowledgeable and returning panel of judges, independent of NSEDC, is one of the keys to the success of the Small Business Initiative,” said NSEDC’s Community Benefits Director Paul Ivanoff III. The 2015 judges included Merle Apassingok of Gambell, Mark Vink and Annabelle Cunningham of Unalakleet, and David Olson and Donna James of Nome. The judges are responsible for narrowing down the field of applicants to the finalists, and then allocating the available program funding among those chosen for grant awards.
“It’s no easy task for residents to develop their business plans and pitch their ideas to a panel of five judges,” Ivanoff said. “This program is successful because of individuals like Freida Tocktoo and Terrence Southall of Brevig Mission that put a lot of time in establishing their business and hard work behind their idea.”
NSEDC congratulates the 2015 Small Business Initiative recipients and encourages those who did not receive funding to further develop their applications for the 2016 competition.
If you have questions regarding the NSEDC SBI program and the 2015 competition, contact Community Benefits Director Paul Ivanoff III at (907) 624-3190 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
2015 NSEDC SBI grant recipients
|F & T Store||Terrence Southall & Freida Tocktoo||Store||$34,975|
|Animal House||Sandra Rowe||Animal boarding, grooming & supply shop||$35,000|
|Toyo Tech Center||Steve Smith||Toyostove supply & repair shop||$35,000|
|Cool Cutz||Matthew Medlin||Hair salon||$22,653|
Cool Cutz is a new business owned and operated by Matthew Medlin. Mr. Medlin is opening a barbershop located in Nome. His barbershop will offer personal care services to the community and region. Mr. Medlin sees the growing need for grooming services tailored to the men of Nome and the Norton Sound.
F & T Store stands for “Freida and Terrence.” Freida Tocktoo and Terrence Southall of Brevig Mission are establishing a general store that will offer a variety of items such as groceries and toiletries. The store will provide an option for the residents of Brevig Mission for local shopping needs.
Nome Animal House is an existing business owned by Sandra Rowe and located in Nome. This established pet care business is expanding to include basic veterinary services. Services will include emergency pet car, spaying, neutering, tumor removal, dental care, exams, vaccinations, euthanasia, and health certificates. Ms. Rowe is a previous NSEDC SBI awardee.
Toyo Tech Center is owned and operated by Steve Smith in Nome. He will establish a Toyo service and repair shop, available to all outlying communities in the Norton Sound region. Services for this Toyo business will include: Toyo laser heater, water heater, and boiler heater maintenance and repairs. Mr. Smith will also provide workshops and classroom instruction on Toyo products.
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