Spruce Root fosters entrepreneurial energy in Southeast

Last year’s cohort from the Spruce Root Path to Prosperity boot camp. (Photo by Element Agency)

Last year’s cohort from the Spruce Root Path to Prosperity boot camp. (Photo by Element Agency)

Spruce Root — a community organization providing Southeast entrepreneurs resources, support and financial assistance — has registration open for their Path to Prosperity Master Class this fall.

“The three-day course is designed to help sustainability-minded Alaskan entrepreneurs take their business to the next level,” Ashley Snookes, Programs Manager at Spruce Root, said.

Spruce Root is looking for Alaskan business owners who have been operating with a business license for over two years to take the pilot course, which provides the opportunity to establish and build relationships with mentors, create a growth strategy, improve access to resources and more.

Snookes has been with Spruce Root for over a year. Originally from Sitka, Snookes says seeing small businesses thrive in her home region is one of the most rewarding aspects of her job.

Living in Southeast Alaska provides its own set of challenges, one of which is the obvious physical disconnect. It can be difficult (not to mention expensive) to fly to every region, but even harder to develop the network that entrepreneurs rely on in order to grow their businesses.

“Whenever we talk about the work that entrepreneurs do, or starting a small business, I think everyone knows and assumes, “Yeah, it’s going to be hard,” but the tenacity of which most of our small business owners continue to push their ideas into being is just — it’s pretty amazing,” Snookes said.

If entrepreneurs in Southeast Alaska can’t make it to the master class, Snookes says there are other programs that provide general assistance, as well as funding. Spruce Root provides free business coaching to any Southeast business owner that wants to start or grow their business, as well as access to a fund, where they can give out small business loans when needed. Entrepreneurs who aren’t ready to take the master class are encouraged to look at the Path to Prosperity annual business competition.

“There’s a lot of exciting things going on in our region,” Snookes said.

The deadline to register for the Path to Prosperity Master Class is July 31; the class will take place Sept. 26-29 in Juneau.

Spruce Root’s 2018 cohort. (Photo by Element Agency)

Spruce Root’s 2018 cohort. (Photo by Element Agency)