Business Development

Objective 1: Increase the value of Alaska’s international exports by five percent.

Partners: Alaska Governor’s Office of International Trade, World Trade Center Alaska, U.S. Commercial Service Alaska office, U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), Export-Import Bank of the United States.

Resources: Federal State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) grants, U.S. Commercial Service Gold Key programs.

Action Items:

  • Utilize federal STEP grant funding to encourage small Alaska businesses to participate in international trade.
  • Promote the use of export assistance resources available to Alaska businesses through U.S. Commercial Service, SBA, Export-Import Bank, and Small Business Development Centers.

Objective 2: Increase tools and resources available to rural businesses.

Partners: Alaska Small Business Development Center (SBDC), UACED, ARDORs, State of Alaska DED, Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

Resources: U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Grants, SBDC rural outreach and training programs, UACED and SBDC web resources, and Alaska Energy Authority (AEA) rural training resources.

Action Items:

  • Develop consistent mechanisms to provide industry-specific training and technical assistance in rural areas utilizing Regional Training Centers, including distance delivery and a travel circuit for service providers.
  • Create web resources targeted at rural business, and non-web resources to be made available in the case of connectivity gaps.
  • Create new and support existing business mentorship programs in rural Alaska.
  • Continue expanding Registered Apprenticeship programs to improve worker productivity and reduce turnover.

Objective 3: Encourage import substitution with the promotion of Alaska made products.

Partners: DED, Alaska SBDC, National Institute of Standards and Technology Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NIST MEP), UACED.

Resources: Buy Alaska Program, State of Alaska’s AK Loyal branding programs (Made in Alaska, Alaska Grown, Silver Hand).

Action Items:

  • Develop metrics to better calculate the use of Alaskan-grown and Alaskan-made products and the impact on import substitution.
  • Engage in a public relations campaign that highlights the importance and economic impact of Alaska products and services.
  • Promote the programs of the state meant to highlight Alaska made products:
    • Alaska Grown (Alaska agriculture)
    • Made in Alaska (Items 51 percent or more made in Alaska)
    • Silver Hand (Alaska Native-made products)
  • Decrease Alaska’s food imports from 95 percent to 90 percent.
  • Informing Alaska businesses on options for growth in import substitution.

Objective 4: Increase the output and value of Alaska agriculture.

Partners: Alaska Food Policy Council (AKFPC), UAF Cooperative Extension Service, State of Alaska Division of Agriculture, DED, USDA, Alaska Farmland Trust, Alaska SBDC Alaska Cooperative Development Center, Sustainable Southeast Partnership.

Resources: Alaska Grown program, USDA financing, AKFPC, and Cooperative Extension tools and resources.

Action Items:

  • Provide shared marketing of in-state agriculture through the Alaska Grown program.
  • Establish accurate baseline measures for Alaska food consumption and production.
  • Facilitate succession planning for farm business owners seeking to retire.
  • Introduce youth to the business of farming to encourage interest in Alaska agriculture.
  • Reduce barriers to entry by facilitating financing options to purchase agricultural lands and equipment.
  • Maintain and increase capacity for processing, storage, and distribution.
  • Where appropriate, assist in the formation of agricultural cooperatives to share marketing, processing, or other services.
  • Explore options to increase the availability of land for cultivation.
  • Provide technical and promotional assistance to high potential, emerging crops such as peonies, hemp fiber, and others.
  • Facilitate the development of agricultural land trusts to increase the availability of land to prospective farmers.

Objective 5: Grow the impact of Alaska’s Visitor Industry in existing regions and market segments, and increase the impact of the industry to Alaska communities.

Partners: Alaska Travel Industry Association, DED, American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association, Regional Destination Marketing Organizations, ARDORs, U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Resources: Cooperative marketing programs, potential Tourism Improvement District Legislation, USDA Rural Development, Community Tourism Assessment Model, Native American Tourism and Improving Visitor Experience (NATIVE) Act, Cruise Passenger Vessel Tax funds.

Action Items:

  • Increase sustainable growth in emerging visitor industry segments: Cultural Tourism, Eco Tourism, Geo Tourism, Adventure Tourism, and Arctic Tourism.
  • Grow rural and cultural tourism development by utilizing Community Tourism Assessment Models.
  • Increase statewide cruise guests by ten percent.
  • Upgrade port facilities to be compatible with next generation (larger) cruise ships.
  • Increase peak season capacity by maximizing utilization of existing infrastructure, and new infrastructure investment.
  • Increase shoulder season and winter visitor capacity and infrastructure by promoting Alaska specific products, iconic features, and events to targeted markets.

Objective 6: Maximize employment and opportunity in Alaska’s Seafood Industry.

Partners: United Fishermen Association, Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, Alaska Commercial Fishing and Agriculture Bank, DED Community Development Quota (CDQ) organizations, Pacific Seafood Processors Association, UAF Sea Grant Marine Advisory, Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

Resources: Commercial fisheries loan programs, CDQ investments, Sea Grant resources and trainings.

Action Items:

  • Ease barriers to entry in commercial fishing for Alaskans through increased utilization of public and private financing options.
  • Increase resource value to Alaskans by performing value added activities (e.g. processing) in Alaska and supporting processing workforce development activities.
  • Maintain the sustainability of Alaska’s seafood resource for the benefit of Alaska industry participants (large and small operators) and all Alaskans.
  • Address “graying of the fleet” through workforce development initiatives specifically targeted towards school age participants and leveraging Young Alaska Fishermen’s Network / Young Fisherman’s Development Summit.
  • Grow the emerging mariculture and kelp farming industry in coastal regions of the state.
  • Promote the sustainability of Alaska’s fisheries resource.
  • Increase the rate of Alaska hire in the seafood industry.

Objective 7: Maximize opportunities in all aspects of the Maritime Sector.

Partners: Alaska Process Industry Careers Consortium, Alaska Workforce Investment Board, DED, ARDORs, NIST MEP, municipalities, Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Alaska ship and boat builders, Alaska Industrial Development Export Authority (AIDEA), Alaska Ocean Cluster Initiative.

Resources: Federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) funding, EDA funding for infrastructure, public-private partnerships.

Action Items:

  • Position Alaska ship yards to benefit from the increased demand for ship restoration and new builds as the Alaska based fleet ages and requires replacement and refurbishment.
  • Continue to develop the maritime industry support sector workforce by implementation of the Alaska Maritime Workforce Development Plan.
  • Increase the use of existing regional repair and maintenance facilities for local vessel needs.
  • Identify opportunities that take advantage of the increasing traffic through the Northwest Passage and increased resource development for the benefit of the maritime sector.
  • Continue expansion of maritime Registered Apprenticeship programs.
  • Continue expanding maritime vocational training programs that train Alaskans for jobs in the maritime sector.
  • Utilize ongoing and existing analyses of Alaska’s overall ocean economy, which will provide a framework for developing a long term, all-encompassing ocean economy strategy in Alaska.

Objective 8: Strengthen existing resource extraction industries, including the Oil and Gas and the Mining Sectors.

Partners: Alaska Oil and Gas Association, Alaska Miners Association, Resource Development Council Alaska, Council of Alaska Producers, Alaska Support Industry Alliance, DED, Alaska Minerals Commission, Alaska Native Corporations, Alaska Gasline Development Corporation, AIDEA.

Resources: Alaska’s congressional delegation, Alaska’s abundant natural resources, AIDEA’s infrastructure funding.

Action Items:

  • Promote a consistent business environment that includes a stable tax regime, a development and exploration mentality at regulatory agencies, and encouragement of responsible oil, gas, and mining exploration and production.
  • Market Alaska’s vast resources to potential investors seeking new projects.
  • Improve access to resources through improved infrastructure, and work with federal agencies on land access and potential onerous state and federal permitting requirements.
  • Take advantage of potential opportunities associated with the increased access through the Northwest Passage, including spill response, emergency response, and search and rescue infrastructure needs.
  • Support increased mapping to identify high potential areas for resource development.
  • Identify “high priority” natural resource projects that are hindered by access to resources and make measurable progress in moving them forward.

Objective 9: Sustain and grow the timber and forest products industry in Alaska.

Partners: Alaska Division of Forestry, U.S. Forest Service, Nature Conservancy, ARDORs and local economic development organizations, Cold Climate Housing Research Center, Resource Development Council, Sustainable Southeast Partnership, Wood Energy Task Group.

Resources: Alaska Forestry Academy, Alaska Native Corporation forest lands.

Action Items:

  • Promote and support the wood product manufacturing industry.
  • Improve access to sustainable timber resources and inventories in Southeast Alaska.
  • Support local timber industry specific workforce development programs and potential apprenticeships.
  • Maintain existing timber industry infrastructure.
  • Grow biomass use in Alaska by 10 percent.

Objective 10: Create stronger alignment between workforce development and economic development programs and services.

Partners: Alaska Workforce Investment Board, Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development, DED, ARDORs and local economic development organizations, University of Alaska, APICC, Alaska Vocational Technical Center, Tribal organizations.

Resources: WIOA programs, regional CEDS plans, state and federal workforce funds.

Action Items:

  • Support the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development’s implementation of the WIOA, calling for sector-specific strategies for health care, oil and gas, mining, construction, maritime, and transportation.
  • Continually assess unmet workforce needs through business retention and expansion surveys and other outreach.
  • To ensure Alaskans have the skills necessary to meet anticipated workforce needs, maintain awareness of existing apprenticeships, curricula, and training programs and identify any unmet workforce development needs.
  • Strengthen linkages between secondary schools’ Career and Technical Education programs and employers’ on-the-job training programs, including but not limited to Registered Apprenticeships.
  • Continue expanding the number of college programs that award credit for Registered Apprenticeship programs.