Petersburg Pilot -


Petersburg companies in the running for regional business award


Two Petersburg businesses are semi-finalists in a contest amongst Southeast Alaska entrepreneurs competing for $40,000 in consulting funds to grow and expand their business.

Path to Prosperity (P2P), a partnership between the Haa Aani Community Development and The Nature Conservatory, was developed to support entrepreneurs and increase economic development and sustainability in Southeast communities.

Local businesses Tonka Seafoods and Petersburg Indian Association’s SeaLife Compost were selected as semi-finalists from 27 applicants. Ten other Southeast businesses including Wrangell's Eden Marine Services were also selected as semi-finalists.

SeaLife Compost sells compost teabags that can be soaked in water which is then used to provide nutrients to plants.

Tonka is exploring the option of reopening a shrimp fishery in Petersburg.

Tonka owner Seth Scrimsher said the fishery is still active. but the high cost of infrastructure is a difficult barrier to entry for smaller companies.

Winning the contest, Scrimsher said, could help his company receive a financing package.

“It’d be a perfect product for a smaller company to pick up,” Scrimsher said. “Winning the contest would be a step in the right direction.”

“Last year the competition was brand new and not everyone knew what to expect, but it turned out to be quite a success,” said Alana Peterson, Economic Development Coordinator for Haa Aaní, LLC. “This year applicants had more time to work on their submissions and understood the goals of the competition. As a result we received many quality applications.”

Semi-finalists will receive private consulting and mentorships from business professionals and participate in a business boot camp weekend, the press release states.

“The Path to Prosperity contest for entrepreneurs has shown that sustainable business ideas abound in Southeast Alaska,” said Norman Cohen, director of the Southeast Alaska program for The Nature Conservancy. “We live in a region of abundant resources and the sustainable use of these local resources can fuel the rejuvenation communities are seeking to create.”

Semi-finalists have until December 1 to create business plans and present them. Afterwards a panel of five judges will select two winners.


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