Web posted Friday, August 26, 2011

Finalists selected for AFN rural economic innovation awards

By the Journal of Commerce

Twenty-one finalists from across Alaska will advance to the next round of Alaska Federation of Natives' fifth Alaska Marketplace competition, enabling them to vie for a portion of more than $160,000 in award money. Thirty-one assessors met in Anchorage and reviewed more than 100 eligible concept papers and select finalists to advance to the next phase of the competition.

Finalists have until Oct. 1 to write a more comprehensive implementation plan with the help of entrepreneurial coaches and mentors. All 21 finalists will "pitch" their ideas in person at the final Alaska Marketplace event Oct. 19. Essay competition finalists will be announced Oct. 5. Both business/nonprofit plan and essay competition winners will be announced Oct. 20 at the AFN convention.

A list of the 21 Alaska Marketplace finalists is listed below and on the competition website at www.alaskamarketplace.org.

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The Alaska Marketplace is an initiative of the Alaska Federation of Natives and is supported by a growing list of partners including the Denali Commission, BP, ConocoPhillips Alaska, Shell and the Mitsubishi Foundation.

The competition was launched in 2005 to foster economic development in rural Alaska by soliciting creative ideas from entrepreneurs across the state in an innovation competition. The past four successful competitions have distributed hundreds of thousands of dollars in seed money and have helped spur real economic growth in Alaska's rural communities.

Past winners range from archeological digs to village farms and producers of high-end botanical beauty products. This year's participants were invited to submit either a business/nonprofit plan or essay addressing the competition theme, "Planting Seeds of Change," and one of six subthemes.

2011 Alaska Marketplace Business/Nonprofit Plan Finalists

• Eva J. Sheldon of Anchorage: Kobuk River Cabins, LLC

• Michelle Scannell of Anchorage: Tundra Toys

• Michael Golub of Fort Wainwright: RevUp: Electric Car Instruction and Conversion in Rural Communities

• Heather Wells of Big Lake: Enchanted Forest Nursery

• Dune Lankard of Cordova: Copper River Wild Salmon Company

• Phillip Solomon of Fort Yukon: Yukon River fish wheel kits

• Edmond Asassingok of Gambell: Aksik detachable radiator fins

• Caniineq Wind Group of Kwigillingok: Caniineq Wind Group: Over snow winter freight business

• Ezekiel Tenhoff of Nome: Nome Yurt Camp

• Lindsey Meyers of Bethel: Food As Medicine

• Tim Meyers of Bethel: Meyers Farm

• Erin Margaret Forton of Nome: Bering Tea

• Etta Tall of Nome: Auka's Cream

• Teri Crawley Norton of Anchorage: Sea Salt from Alaska

• Michelle Sparck of Bethel: ArXotica, Inc.

• Mark & Shelly Leary of Napaimute via Aniak : Stone Woman Adventures

• John Stam of Galena: Circular Sawmill in Galena

• Penny Frieda Olanna of Nome: Tory's Tea

• Rebecca Wilbur of Quinhagak: Yup'ik Originals, LLC

• Anges Phillips of Bethel: Betty's Shop

• Teressa Baldwin of Palmer: Hope4Alaska