McKinley Alaska Growth Capital announces Inu-IT, Blue Goose Hauling, and Hank’s 48 Store as the winners of the 2023 North Slope Marketplace business plan competition
Anchorage, Alaska – McKinley Alaska Growth Capital has announced that three Arctic Slope Regional Corporation (ASRC) Shareholders have been selected as the winners of the 2023 North Slope Marketplace competition. As winners of the competition, they will be awarded up to $25,000 each to start or grow their businesses. To commemorate their achievements, each will be recognized at the Rural Small Business Conference at the Sheraton Hotel in Anchorage on February 15th during a luncheon.
These three winners are each providing services and tangible benefits to their local communities and are passionate about doing so. Inu-IT, owned and operated by Anton Edwardson and based in Utqiagvik, provides IT services to other small businesses, as well as larger clients like ASRC and Ukpeaġvik Iñupiat Corporation. Anton says he wants to empower smaller businesses by giving them the tools to be able to utilize their system and run it on their own.
Blue Goose Hauling, owned and operated by Jocelyn and Zach Pili, is based in Utqiagvik and provides transportation services throughout Alaska. They specialize in transportation to and from North Slope communities using the Community Winter Access Trails (CWAT). The name of their business was inspired by their great-grandpa, who was recognized by the “Blue Goose,” call sign and whose personality was largely rooted in serving his community and they are proud to carry on his legacy.
Hank’s 48 Store is a startup business owned and conceptualized by Aqquilluk Hank, and will be located in Point Hope and will be the only store in the community to provide the necessary tools, supplies, firearms, and ammunition for local Inupiaq people to sustain a subsistence lifestyle. The community of Point Hope depends on subsistence whaling and Aqquilluk knows firsthand how important this is, as he is not only an entrepreneur, but also a whaling captain.
These three winners were chosen from an impressive cohort of 10 finalists that participated in the North Slope Marketplace’s three-day Business Boot Camp held in August in Utqiagvik. At Business Boot Camp, the entrepreneurs learned about triple-bottom-line principles, worked with a network of successful business and community mentors, and received one-on-one consulting to develop their business models and plans. Following this intensive business training week, the finalists spent three months working with mentors and business coaches to create thorough business plans and financial projections to be submitted to the business plan judges. The winners were selected based on the feasibility, community impact, and the sustainability of their businesses.
The North Slope Marketplace is a program developed and provided by McKinley Alaska Growth Capital along with its collaborative and key partner Spruce Root who provides facilitation, training, and business coaching for the participants. Other program partners and supporters include the University of Alaska Center for Economic Development, Anchorage Community Land Trust, Arctic Education Foundation, Arctic Slope Community Foundation, and Arctic Slope Regional Corporation. We are thankful for their contributions and look forward to continuing partnerships which positively impact rural communities across Alaska.
Applications for the 2024 North Slope Marketplace competition are expected to open in April. To learn more about the North Slope Marketplace, please visit our website, alaskagrowth.com, and follow our social media accounts, Facebook and LinkedIn @McKinley Alaska Growth Capital, for updates.
About McKinley Alaska Growth Capital
McKinley Alaska Growth Capital (Alaska Growth Capital BIDCO, Inc.) is a leading provider of business loans, tax credits and development services across Alaska and the western U.S. utilizing programs offered by the Small Business Administration (SBA), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) Fund. As a certified Native CDFI, more than 60 percent of McKinley Alaska Growth Capital’s activities serve Alaska Native, Native American, and Native Hawaiian businesses and communities. It is the largest non-bank Native CDFI SBA lender in the country. McKinley Alaska Growth Capital strives to support businesses who find traditional lenders unable to meet their needs, specializing in serving clients that are located in and/or serving rural communities. McKinley Alaska Growth Capital is a subsidiary of McKinley Management, LLC with investment from Bristol Bay Native Corporation.
For more information, visit www.alaskagrowth.com.