Best in The West 2020 Winners

The University of Alaska Fairbanks: Kuskokwim Campus & Yupiit Piciryarait Cultural Center and the Best in the West Partners are pleased to announce the winners of the twelfth annual small business competition for 2020:

● Joni Beckham, Adventure is Calling Travel

● Jon Felperin, Rural Alaska Public Safety Corps

● Raymond Alexie, Alexie’s Heating Parts & Service

● Pamela Conrad, Munchees Food Wagon

● Seth O’Brien, Bethel Bed Bug Heaters, LLC (no photo)

● Ryan Butte, Laser Levels, LLC

● Chelsea Hoffman, The Clean Sweep

The awardees have put in months of hard work developing their business plans. In the midst of everything going on, with COVID-19, this group of individuals completed the final stages of Best in the West via Zoom conference, a bit of a change up from previous years.

A grand total of $31,000 has been awarded this year, with total awards over twelve years of $313,070.

Since 2009 there have been 82 small businesses funded with the Best in the West. Regional small businesses keep the delta vibrant and growing. Best in the West welcomes applicants & sponsors region wide.

On December 1, 2021, applications will be available for the 2021 Best in the West competition.

The Best in the West small business competition exists because of our partners. The 2020 funding sponsors include Kuskokwim Campus & Yupiit Piciryarait Cultural Center, Bethel Community Services Foundation, Bethel Native Corporation, Donlin Gold, Coastal Villages Region Fund, Kuskokwim Art Guild, Calista Corporation, Wells Fargo, ConocoPhillips Alaska, Lynden, Crowley Fuels and Northern Air Cargo.

All of the partners are committed to building small businesses in the Yukon Kuskokwim Delta, to promote jobs and economic stability.

“Participating in this program takes dedication and it has successfully created thriving businesses in the YK Delta,” said Reyne Athanas, former program director from Yupiit Piciryarait Cultural Center which is part of UAF, Kuskokwim Campus. “Eighty percent of the businesses we’ve funded are still in business today.”