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ANCHORAGE - Thirty finalists from across Alaska, including Robert Hoffman, of Bridging Culures with Crest Art in Sitka, were selected to advance to the next round of the fourth Alaska Marketplace competition, where they will vie for a portion of nearly $300,000 in award money for business project ideas. Last year's competition awarded more than $300,000 to 11 entrepreneurs with the best ideas for stimulating Alaska's rural economies.
Nineteen assessors from the business, government, nonprofit and education sectors met Feb. 5 to review 94 eligible applications.
In all, Alaska Marketplace received 101 business idea applications from across the state. About 14 percent of the applications came from Southeast Alaska. About 60 percent of applications were submitted by men and 40 percent by women. Alaska Natives submitted 71 percent of the applications. More than three quarters of the applications were for-profit business ideas, compared to 25 percent for nonprofit ideas.
"The tremendous response we've received from across Alaska further proves that there is a wealth of untapped entrepreneurial potential in our great state," said AFN President Julie Kitka. "We look forward to seeing more of what each of these finalists has to offer at the Alaska Marketplace competition at this years Competition in May."
Finalists have until April 3 to write a more comprehensive business plan with the help of entrepreneurial coaches. Rural residents will be given stipends for their travel to Anchorage for the final competition at ConocoPhillips on May 5. The finalists will pitch their ideas in person to judges, who will choose winners to receive seed money for their ideas. The public is encouraged to attend and cast votes for "People's Choice" Award.