Will you be the next Best in the West winner?

The Yukon Kuskokwim delta’s most beneficial boon to potential small business entrepreneurs is now available to anyone who would like to start a small business. It is the Best in the West competition and the deadline for first round applications is January 27th, 2017.

The purpose of the Best in the West small business competition is to help new or potential small business owners in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta region gain knowledge about starting and operating small businesses and potentially gain funding to develop their small business idea.

Participants apply to be a part of the process; the end result is that Best in the West grants small cash awards to the competition winners. Awards range from $2,000 to $8,000.

All participants must attend small business development workshops to and write business plans, market analysis, and build a budget. Like the World Bank has proved with some of its efforts, small cash awards can have a powerful effect on starting a small business.

The average number of applicants is 12-20 for the first round. Finalists selected by committee range 7-12 usually. Currently only six of the 32 awardees are not in business, 26 are either full-time or part-time in businesses. Competition is open to all YK Delta residents, Bethel and the surrounding 56 region villages. All winners must attend post-award business workshops and participate with a mentor.

Bethel Community Services Foundation is the Best in the West project fiscal sponsor and provides the back-end services for the project (receipts for donors, fund administration, etc.). Reyne Athanas at YPCC/UAF Kuskokwim Campus is the project director.

Special thanks to our contributing members: Bethel Native Corporation, Association of Village Council Presidents, GCI, Calista Corporation, Donlin Gold LLC, First National Bank, Kuskokwim Art Guild, ConocoPhillips, Wells Fargo, Bethel Chamber of Commerce, UAF Kuskokwim Campus and Yupiit Piciryarait Cultural Center.

For an application, please visit the BCSF website at http://www.bcsfoundation.org/best-in-the-west-competition/.