Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Objective 1: Increase the pipeline of bankable start-up companies in Alaska by 10 percent.

Partners: Angel funds, University of Alaska Business Enterprise Institute, ARDORs, Kauffman Foundation, The Boardroom.

Resources: Angel fund resources, existing technical assistance programs.

Action Items:

  • Deploy $9.8M from the Municipality of Anchorage’s 49th State Angel Fund (49SAF) by 2019.
  • Locate and leverage additional sources of private capital to expand 49SAF model outside of Anchorage.
  • Develop Launch:Alaska into a world-class energy accelerator, graduating 30 companies with $2.5 million in investment by 2019 through recruitment of scalable firms, intensive mentorship and validation, and relationships with the military, Alaska Native Corporations, utilities and the University of Alaska system.
  • Feed regional business plan competitions into a statewide competition and expand similar resources into rural Alaska.
  • Support and expand Alaska Startups (alaskastartups.com) a central, online statewide hub of startup information, events, resources, and partnerships.
  • Conduct a needs assessment of the entrepreneurial space both in urban centers and rural regions.
  • Extend entrepreneurship events like Startup Weekend, Startup Week, and 1 Million Cups to communities statewide, including rural hubs.
  • Support and expand Global Entrepreneur in Residence program, bringing entrepreneurial talent to Alaska to build capacity and mentorship opportunities for Alaska entrepreneurs.
  • Create and expand organized mentorship programs for all Alaska startup companies – ranging from small size to high growth companies.
  • Create and expand coworking spaces in multiple statewide communities for entrepreneurs to gather, collaborate, learn, and grow companies together.

Objective 2: Position Alaska workers and firms to thrive within global trends of automation, robotics, and other disruptive technologies.

Partners: University of Alaska Business Enterprise Institute, DED, private sector entrepreneurs, Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development, U.S. Department of Labor.

Resources: WIOA programs.

Action Items:

  • Assess the industries in Alaska most likely to be immediately impacted by automation.
  • Identify workers with potential to be attracted to Alaska and can utilize existing Alaska infrastructure to take advantage the changing trend.
  • Develop a resiliency plan that uses disruptive technology to Alaska’s advantage and that enables workers in affected industries.
  • Continue expanding on-the-job training programs that help workers upskill for new jobs in evolving industries.

Objective 3: Connect rural Alaska to the entrepreneurial resources of the urban centers.

Partners: Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development’s Job Centers, ARDORs, Alaska Small Business Development Centers, Launch:Alaska, Path to Prosperity, Alaska Native Corporations, Tribes, municipal governments.

Resources: SBA, existing rural entrepreneurial resources.

Action Items:

  • Continue expanding multi-employer apprenticeship programs that bring apprenticeship training resources to rural employers.
  • Support rural entrepreneurs’ awareness of and involvement in Alaska’s “innovation pipeline” of annual startup support and networking activities.
  • Support local business plan competitions in rural communities’, which feed into larger state entrepreneur activities and competitions.
  • Promote, celebrate, and spotlight rural entrepreneurs and startups through statewide media.

Objective 4: Commercialize Alaska grown technologies and intellectual property to fuel start-up companies and high-skilled employment.

Partners: University of Alaska, Small Business Development Centers, ARDORs, DED.

Resources: Technologies under development specific to Alaska that can be monetized for the benefit of Alaska institutions.

Action Items:

  • Link university technology transfer offices to entrepreneurs and companies with the ability to commercialize new technologies.
  • Form public-private working groups to monetize innovations in building technology, construction methods, microgrids and renewable energy, unmanned aircraft, remote sensing, and other technologies developed for Alaskan conditions.
  • Provide technical assistance to innovative companies seeking Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer.
  • Develop “proof of concept” centers or incubators to validate technologies with commercial potential.
  • Encourage adoption of housing designs and construction methods developed for Alaskan conditions with export potential.
  • Develop and refine microgrid and energy innovations to reduce the cost of energy for Alaskan communities.