Local entrepreneurs granted funds to start up small businesses

$33,500 awarded this year

The 2019 Best in the West award winners celebrated at an awards ceremony last week. (Photo courtesy of Reyne Athanas)

The UAF Kuskokwim Campus Yupiit Piciryarait Cultural Center and Best in the West Partners are pleased to announce the winners of the eleventh annual small business competition for 2019.

·Carole Jung & John Jordan, Jung-Jordan Trucking

·Joe John Pete, Apollo Home Solutions

·Patrick Samson, Tundra Leather

·Yvonne Jackson, Alaska Rural Professional Development

·Aleashia Huber, Cooper Cleaning Company

·Teddy Berry, Berry’s Upholstery

The awardees have put in months of hard work preparing their business plans. A grand total of $33,500 awarded this year, with total awards distributed over eleven years reaching $282,070. Since 2009 there have been 76 small businesses started with the assistance of Best in the West. Regional small businesses keep this region vibrant and growing. Although all of this years’ winners are based in Bethel, Best in the West welcomes applicants region-wide. On December 1, 2019, applications will be available for the 2020 competition.

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

The Best in the West small business competition exists because of our partners. The 2019 funding sponsors include KUC/YPCC, Bethel Community Services Foundation, First National Bank Alaska, Donlin Gold, Calista Corporation, Bethel Native Corporation, Kuskokwim Art Guild, Bethel Chamber of Commerce, Wells Fargo, ConocoPhillips Alaska, BP Alaska, LYNDEN, and Crowley Petroleum. All of the partners are committed to building small businesses in the YK region in order to promote jobs and economic stability.

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