Welcome to Alaska Startups!
Welcome to Alaska Startups! The Alaska Startups website has only recently come into this world. Be gentle and help us to make it better. The idea for Alaska Startups was born from a refrain many of us kept hearing throughout the entrepreneurial community -- “why is there not one place to go for innovators to find the resources available in our community?”
As a transplant to Alaska, I saw firsthand the need for a way to easily access the entrepreneurial community. It was a steep learning curve understanding how to engage and what resources were available in Alaska for innovators and entrepreneurs. As the microfinance and entrepreneur Americorp VISTA I focused on aggregating microloan information compiled by a previous VISTA. Putting together those resources was quite literally my full-time job. How would an entrepreneur or wannapreneur have time to navigate all of those resources and make the best decision for them?
I went to UACED Associate Director Gretchen Fauske, my boss and mentor, with this dilemma. She shared her vision for Alaska Startups with me. She envisioned a comprehensive website for innovators in Alaska, one that would build on existing resources like Startup Digest and Innovate Alaska, offering ways for entrepreneurs to easily connect with our community and access the information they needed, when they needed it.
Shortly after this conversation, Global Entrepreneur in Residence Nigel Sharp took up residency at the UAA Business Enterprise Institute. As he was settling in, Nigel was running into the same exact problem, and decided to prototype Alaska Startups website by creating a printed, pocket size “Innovation Map” with all the entrepreneurial resources in Alaska. Nigel and I listed the resources we knew about and the ones we could google and then shared the initial design and content with key stakeholders in the entrepreneurial community for feedback, knowing that if we’d missed our community would help fill the gaps. Finally, with the support of Launch Alaska, the first version was printed in time for Launch Alaska’s 2017 Demo Day. Through the feedback we received from the printed prototype, we made a game plan to create the Alaska Startups website… which is launching today as a beta version.. Much like the the Innovation Map, we’re relying on all of you to provide us with feedback to shape the future of this site.
Alaska Startups is for the community and of the community. UACED manages this site and has partnered/seeks to continue to partner with members of entrepreneurial community to make it better. If that describes you (which if you got this far in my letter -- the answer is yes), join our team and help build Alaska’s entrepreneur ecosystem of tomorrow!
Keep innovating, rabble-rousing, and getting into shenanigans, my entrepreneurial friends.