UNALAKLEET—The Norton Sound Economic Development Corporation’s (NSEDC) Small Business Initiative (SBI) program awarded a total of $135,800 to three regional entrepreneurs following a review of proposals and business plans and an interview with the program’s judges. Awards went to an inn and smoked seafood business, and an animal resource center and pet store in Nome. One award went to an indigenous artwork retail business in Savoonga. The 2019 recipients have two years to implement their business plans and utilize the available funding.
In its history, NSEDC has allocated a total of $1.29 million to the SBI program, awarding 52 recipients throughout the Norton Sound region. In 2019, 21 proposals were received, and an independent panel of judges narrowed down the applicants to six finalists who gave presentations during the final evaluation process. All six finalists received a new laptop and Quickbooks Pro software.
An independent panel of judges reviewed proposals and decided which businesses advanced to the final round. The same judges returned for the final round at which time they determined which businesses received funding and award amounts. “This program is impossible without the judges, who are all from the Norton Sound, who make the tough decisions regarding all the final proposals,” said NSEDC Community Benefits Director Paul Ivanoff III. The 2019 judges included former SBI recipient Merle Apassingok of Gambell, Mark Vink and Annabelle Cunningham of Unalakleet, and David Olson and Donna James of Nome.
With the goal of seeing a higher success rate for the businesses receiving SBI funding, in 2017 NSEDC established a higher maximum award amount of $50,000 while also limiting the number of grants to be awarded to three per competition. Once an annual program, the SBI is held every other year with the next competition to take place in 2021.
NSEDC congratulates the 2019 Small Business Initiative recipients and encourages those who did not receive funding to further develop their applications for the 2021 cycle.
If you have questions regarding the NSEDC SBI program and the 2021 process, contact Community Benefits Director Paul Ivanoff III at (907) 624-3190 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
2019 NSEDC SBI grant recipients
|Noxapaga Smokehouse Inn||Jessica L. Farley||$50,000|
|Rural Alaska Animal Resources, LLC||Emily Stotts||$50,000|
|St. Lawrence Island Drumbeats||John & Arlene Waghiyi||$35,800|
Noxapaga Smokehouse Inn will provide accommodations for visitors, as well as marketing Norton Sound smoked seafood products. The inn will have two suites to rent and a commercial kitchen for smoked seafood production. When kitchen is not in use it will be rented out for events.
Rural Alaska Animal Resources, LLC will provide a regional resource center and animal-related products to the Bering Strait region. The center will provide spay/neuter surgeries as well as facilitate programs that provide medical treatment/send-back for veterinary care. Retail products include quality pet food and pet care products.
St. Lawrence Island Drumbeats will be a retail business and will feature and promote indigenous artwork from local artists.
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