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Southeast Alaska Business Competition Path To Prosperity Kicks Off Year Two

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Path to Prosperity, an annual contest sponsored by the Nature Conservancy and Haa Aanì Community Development Fund, Inc., a subsidiary of Sealaska Corp., aims to support the economic health of rural communities in southeast Alaska by helping launch companies that will increase local employment, make a positive social impact and promote sustainable use of local resources.

RELATED: Raven Guitars, Icy Straight Lumber Named Winners of Path to Propserity Competition

Haa Aanì recently launched year two of the Path to Prosperity (P2P) business development competition. In round one, applicants must submit an “Apply to Compete” registration form and a description of the business concept by May 30, 2014. ? 

Sealaska established Haa Aaní, LLC in 2009 to reflect a commitment to sustaining rural economies. Thriving communities allow shareholders to live and work in their home regions.

“Whether from Kake or Prince of Wales Island, outmigration from Southeast rural communities threatens the health and well-being,” said Haa Aaní, LLC president and CEO Russell Dick.????

One requirement of the application process is that the business concept must be for a business located in Southeast Alaska. “P2P applicants can be existing businesses or start-ups, but do not need to submit a business plan in the first round of the application process,” said Alana Peterson, Haa Aaní, LLC economic development coordinator. “We want to make the process as easy as possible.”????

Participants can expect some changes from the 2013 competition. First, the UAS School of Management will provide each of the twelve finalists a scholarship to attend one (3 credit) course of their choice at the School of Management.

Additionally, because of the overwhelming response and success in year one, funding is being committed to provide for a third award. This third award will be a People’s Choice, to be determined by an online popular vote. ? 

The winners of the inaugural P2P in 2013—Kevin Skeek and Steve Helgeson's Raven Guitars, and husband-and-wife team Wes and Sue Tyler's Icy Straits Lumber and Milling in Hoonah, Alaska—received $40,000 each in seed money for consulting and technical assistant services to develop their businesses ideas.

“P2P is the perfect gateway for me to finally accomplish my dream of having a career I would fall in love with,” said Kevin Skeek. “During the process I was able to find Steve who had the same dream as I did. With winning the competition, Steve and I will be able to get the proper training needed for us to make sure we provide jobs to our rural communities and top quality guitars for our customers.” ? ?

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“Wes and I express our deepest thank you to Haa Aaní, LLC, The Nature Conservancy and all of the generous sponsors who had a part in the Path to Prosperity technical grant,” said Sue Tyler.

“The inter-action with the sponsors and other participants throughout the process was such a wonderful experience. We appreciate being a recipient from the depths of our heart.”?

??Timeline of Year Two for Path To Prosperity???·

Monday, March 17, 2014 – Open Application Period (round 1)?

Tuesday, April 8, 2014 – Webinar

Friday, May 30, 2014 – Applications Due (round 1)

Monday, July 7, 2014 – Announce top 12 semifinalists

August 31 - September 3, 2014 – Boot Camp Weekend

Monday, December 1, 2014 –Business Plan Submissions Due

Thursday, January 29, 2015 –Two Winners Announced

February 2015 – People’s Choice Competition?: ?The competition is open to all Southeast Alaska residents. This includes individuals, for profit businesses and tribal entities. ?