“Small businesses face a broad spec-
trum of challenges whether it be in ac-
cessing capital, managing high energy
costs and fixed expenses, or the overall
For small businesses in particular, the
“path to prosperity” can be punctuated
with obstacles. However, with the sup-
port of innovative partnerships and pro-
grams like P2P, entrepreneurs across the
region are proving that a sustainable and
diverse Alaska economy is within reach.
“We are rich in natural resources. We
are rich in culture. I think we often get
stuck on the challenges, but the oppor-
tunities are huge,” Peterson says. “All
the businesses that we have identified
through P2P have really made me feel
optimistic because they were already out
there. We didn’t create these businesses
or these people.” R
Bethany Goodrich is a freelance
multimedia journalist and the
for the Sustainable Southeast
“Our skis are designed to handle the
rigors of the Alaska wilderness. We have
personally tested them on a human
powered traverse completely across the
largest non-polar icecap in the world,
through Glacier Bay, Wrangell-St. Elias,
and Kluane national parks. We also
have a quickly growing number of Alaskans on our skis testing them out in all
corners of the state,” boasts Kraft.
Innovative Small Businesses
Build a Sustainable Alaska
Rural Alaska communities face many
“One big challenge is that the people
of Haines seem to be divided about
what their vision is for making the
place economically sustainable while
still preserving its way of life, its natural beauty, and resources,” says Shade.
“Part of our original vision when we
created Port Chilkoot Distillery was to
prove that we could do things on a small
scale that fits into the community, that
people want, that also exports products
out of the community and imports dol-
lars to help our community grow—all
without harming our way of life.”
Copeland, Shade, Seward, and Kraft
share this common vision for their
small businesses. They are not alone.
They join a diversity of innovative en-
trepreneurs across the region that are
capitalizing on Alaska’s unique re-
sources to build successful, sustainable,
value-added business ventures.
Alana Peterson is the P2P Competition Administrator for Haa Aaní LLC.
“We received over one hundred applications in the first two years of the P2P
program. This just proves the region is
rich in entrepreneurial activity and opportunities. It also speaks to the need that
entrepreneurs in the region have for technical support when it comes to starting or
growing their businesses,” says Peterson.
Ian Grant is the Associate State Director for the Alaska Small Business Development Center—a supporting partner
of P2P. Grant shares this sentiment.
“Healthy small businesses truly are the
backbone and driving force of a sustainable Alaskan economy. In 2014, the impact
of Alaska Small Business Development
Center clients alone represented sixty-six
new businesses, 239 jobs, and $89.99 million in private investments,” Grant says.
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