Four regional businesses receive NSEDC Small Business Initiative grants
The Norton Sound Economic Development Corporation’s (NSEDC) Small Business Initiative (SBI) program awarded a total of $105,000 to four regional entrepreneurs at a ceremony on Wednesday, October 1, 2014. Following two days of presentations and interviews, grants went to a car dealership in Nome, an ecotourism company based out of Teller and Nome, a repair shop in Brevig Mission and a café in Gambell. The recipients have two years to implement their business plans and utilize the available funding.
In its short history, NSEDC has allocated a total of $750,000 to the SBI program, awarding 36 recipients throughout the Norton Sound region. In 2014, 21 proposals were received and an independent panel of judges narrowed down the applicants to six finalists who gave live presentations during the final evaluation process this week.
“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 2014 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.
Ivanoff also applauded those who put in the hard work to submit proposals for this year’s competition. “Of course, the program would not be a success without the strong proposals we receive every year from Norton Sound residents,” he said. “Not only does this program fall directly in line with our mission of providing economic development, it contributes to the health of our communities by keeping jobs and spending closer to home. It’s great to see the drive and dedication of these individuals who are eager to see their dreams become reality.
NSEDC congratulates the 2014 Small Business Initiative winners and encourages those who did not receive funding to further develop their applications for the 2015 competition.
If you have questions regarding the NSEDC SBI program and the 2014 competition, contact Community Benefits Director Paul Ivanoff III at (907) 624-3190 or email@example.com.
2014 NSEDC SBI grant recipients
|Midnight Sun Motors||Sonja Callahan||Car dealership||$20,000|
|Opiq Adventures||Dora Hughes||Ecotourism||$35,000|
|D & K Shop||Eddie Tocktoo||Repair shop||$25,000|
|Waam’s Café||Troy Apatiki & Erika Apatiki||Café||$25,000|
Midnight Sun Motors
Sonja Callahan’s car dealership will focus on delivering high-quality vehicles to the people of the Norton Sound region at an affordable price. Midnight Sun Motors will specialize in vehicles with all-wheel and four-wheel drive, offering residents access to low-mileage and well-maintained trucks, cars and SUVs. While primarily operating out of Nome, they hope to expand and work with other communities in the region.
Dora Hughes’ adventure and ecotourism business will provide high-end tours to give people from around the globe deep experiences in nature, focusing on the traditional Alaska Native culture and heritage. Based out of Nome and branching out on the Nome highway system, Opiq Adventures will focus on non-consumptive recreation including wildlife viewing, photography, hiking, observing local culture and birding. “Opiq” means snowy owl in Inupiaq.
Eddie Tocktoo’s repair shop will be based in Brevig Mission, but will also serve Shishmaref, Wales and Teller. Focusing on repairing small engines and appliances, the shop will also offer rental space for those in need of a warm place to do their own repair work. Eddie has experience working on small engines and 13 years of experience maintaining residential appliances.
Troy Apatiki and Erika Apatiki are an uncle and niece duo. Their family-owned café and coffee shop will be based in Gambell, providing snacks, beverages and gaming, along with espresso coffee. Without local restaurants or a teen center, Troy and Erika hope Waam’s Café products and services will benefit the residents of their community.