Building up small
By Judy Mottl
There are 193 miles of terrain between Robert and Denise May, who live in the village of Port Lions on Kodiak
Island, and Charlotte Nicolet and son Nick
Koerber, who reside in Seward—but the two
families have much in common.
Both are small business owners and Alaska
Native corporation shareholders who have
embarked on new occupational journeys
with help and support from their respective
Alaska Native Corporations.
Both have learned more than a few lessons
from launching small businesses and overcoming their share of unique hurdles and
And both represent what many politicians
and economic scholars have longed hailed as
the “backbone of America.”
Tapping Shareholder Business Support
With a bachelor’s degree in psychology and
an associate degree in digital art, running a
campsite in Alaska was never at the top of
Charlotte Nicolet’s to-do list—or even on the list.
An author and artist whose work has been
showcased abroad, Nicolet was called home to
Seward a few years back to help a family member
and launched a search to find steady work: a
tricky proposition for many in rural Alaska.
When she took stock of her options, the
Chugach Alaska Corporation shareholder
realized she was living in the perfect place to
operate a campsite and decided to pursue the
business idea. In talking with other shareholders, she learned of a Chugach Alaska
Corporation grant program and applied.
Ashama Point Lodge
“While we don’t write
business plans, we can point
[shareholder business owners]
to resources that can help.
The bottom line is helping
individuals get to the next step
with their prosperity.”
VP of Shareholder Development
Chugach Alaska Corporation