Alaska Path to Prosperity Announces Winning Entrepreneurs

A distillery and a ski manufacturer take top honors

The Nature Conservancy and Haa Aaní LLC are pleased to announce two $40,000 winners in the annual Path to Prosperity contest for entrepreneurs. Path to Prosperity aims to launch companies that will increase local employment, have a positive social and economic impact on their communities, promote the sustainable use of local natural resources, and increase entrepreneurial know-how and business leadership in Southeast Alaska.

"Small businesses are the lifeblood of communities in Southeast Alaska,” says Norman Cohen of The Nature Conservancy. "Path to Prosperity is building a generation of entrepreneurs for whom the sustainable use of local natural resources is a defining tenet of their businesses. Today’s winning entrepreneurs — and all 12 finalists — show how small business is helping to spark an economic resurgence in Southeast Alaska.”

The 2015 winners are:
• Fairweather Ski Works
• Port Chilkoot Distillery 

Both are fledgling businesses in Haines, Alaska, and both report the Path to Prosperity contest has brought their businesses to a new level.

"The P2P program provided us with invaluable resources to get our business headed in the right direction,” says Graham Kraft, a co-owner of Fairweather Ski Works.

"The P2P program helped us think about our business in new ways,” said Heather Shade, a co-owner of the Port Chilkoot Distillery.  “We were at a point in our start-up where we needed to  take a look at our original business plan, evaluate what we had accomplished, what did and didn't work for the business so far, and to identify the resources we would need to go forward."

Each of the winners receives an award package of up to $40,000 in seed funding for consulting and technical assistance to develop their business concept, along with support in finding investor funding.

“We couldn’t be more excited to see Path to Prosperity grow like it has since its inception,” said Ed Davis, Haa Aaní LLC director. “We can see the growth in the quality of applications P2P is receiving and the recognition of the program across the region. We are happy to expand the program by offering a third prize to the People’s Choice finalist. The People’s Choice finalist will be determined by online votes.”

“Haa Aaní LLC has been involved with Sustainable Southeast Partnership which has helped promote the program in the communities and identify entrepreneurs with innovative ideas,” said Alana Peterson, Haa Aani LLC economic development coordinator. “This has contributed to the quality of candidates and applications we saw.”

Visit www.p2pweb.org to learn how to enter the next round of the Path to Prosperity contest.

About Fairweather Ski Works
Fairweather Ski Works builds one-of-a-kind, handcrafted skis and split boards specifically designed for the rigors of Alaska’s big mountains and wild back country. Alaskan artists build the boards with locally and sustainably harvested forest products and feature artwork. Visit fairweatherskiworks.com.

About Port Chilkoot Distillery
Port Chilkoot Distillery produces small-batch, premium-distilled spirits from regionally sourced agricultural and wild-harvested raw materials in Southeast Alaska. The distillery handcrafts whiskey, gin, and other liquors using innovative recipes and production techniques.  The unique flavors and styles of the spirits are distinctive of the Southeast Alaskan region. The distillery is a destination where visitors can learn about our craft, try our products mixed with local, fresh ingredients, and enjoy our historical building in the Port Chilkoot area of Haines. Visit portchilkootdistillery.com.

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About Haa Aaní LLC

Haa Aaní LLC is a Sealaska subsidiary with a mission dedicated to developing economic sustainability in Southeast Alaska.

About The Nature Conservancy

The mission of The Nature Conservancy is to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. Visit us at nature.org .

The Nature Conservancy

907-424-5101

dsolberg@tnc.org

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