Best in the West 2022!

by BCSF Staff

The 14th Annual Best in the West small business competition is now open and accepting applications. The first deadline is February 23rd at 5 pm.

Anyone who lives in the YK Delta and has a small business idea or wishes to grow their small business is encouraged to review the application and eligibility criteria and apply for a grant if eligible. You can find the grant application online at either the Yupiit Piciryarait Cultural Center or Bethel Community Services Foundation Facebook pages or the BCSF website: Paper copies can also be obtained through YPCC Coordinator Marybeth Whalen (contact information below).

Best in the West is sponsored by the Yupiit Piciryarait Cultural Center and Bethel Community Services Foundation. Workshop support is provided by the University of Alaska Center for Economic Development and other partners.

For the February 23rd applicants are asked to provide basic information about their business idea or business expansion idea. Applications will be reviewed by a committee. The committee will invite those applications that meet the criteria to submit a full proposal which will be due in early May.

As part of the process for developing a full proposal, entrepreneurs will be required to attend small business-focused workshops via zoom or Facebook Live. The workshops are focused on helping each entrepreneur develop their business plans and learn about key elements of owning and operating a small business.

Last year, Best in the West awarded $25,000 in grants to the following small businesses: Alaska Native West Wind Products in St. Mary’s; Emcee’s Custom Shop and Hauly Wood in Chevak; and Studio 1, A Little Leaven, Kusko Credit Services, Quyana Café and Quantum Waters in Bethel.

The 2022 Best in the West competition has received funding support so far from GCI. Last year, funders included GCI, Donlin Gold, Kuskokwim Art Guild, Fili’s Pizza, Calista Corporation, ConocoPhillips Alaska and FNBA. If you would like more information about how to support Best in the West in 2022, contact Michelle DeWitt at [email protected] or 907-543-1812.

If you have a business idea or are looking for opportunities to expand your existing small business and have questions or need a paper application, contact Marybeth Whalen at [email protected] or 907-543-4538.