Alaska Startup Resources and Calendar

What is the Alaska Startup Community all about? We are are building practical solutions to the challenges that matter in the arctic and the world – Innovation with Impact! Alaskans are solution oriented, practical minded, and resourceful. Our solutions enhance the value and sustainability of our communities, oceans, energy systems, food security, healthcare and celebrate the artic and outdoor adventures. Alaska is a global epicenter for the impacts of climate change, alternative energy transitions, rural economic security, and healthcare. And, Alaska is at a global nexus of time zones and location with most of the developed world’s economy reachable within a regular work day and airplane flight. The work we do in Alaska matters for Alaskans today, the generations that have lived here for 10,000 years, and the generations to follow.

WHERE TO START… There is so much for startups locally and accessible from around the world, and each startup and founder is unique… when asked for where to start... its all about making a few connections, and then being willing to help those that need your help. Startup Community building is something that works best with a ‘give first’ approach. You can get started with connecting and take your first steps in Alaska with the following:

  1. Sign up for the Alaska Startup Digest to receive weekly updates about events and news about the alaksa startup community,
  2. Go to Facebook and visit the AlaskaStartups Page to see what is happening and then Join the AlaskaStartups Group and post in the Group what you are working on (doesn’t have to be detailed) and what you want to do next,
  3. Attend the Anchorage 1MillionCups event (on Zoom currently) and introduce yourself and what you are up to;
  4. Sign up with the AK Small Business Development Center for free and ask for suggestions on what/where/when to find the resources that will help you take your next steps towards your goal.

Center for Economic Development – See the report section on their website for some interesting reports on our startup community and innovation ecosystem. A favorite is this “State of Entrepreneurship” report that shares:

“Over the last decade, startups
in Alaska consistently added
4,000 to 6,000 jobs to the
economy each year. Firms
that are aged five years or
younger accounted for 89%
of Alaska’s net employment
growth in the private sector.”

State of Entrepreneurship” report 2018

Events and Resources – Year of Innovation

The Big Picture – Alaska Community Key Annual Events include:

Community Spreadsheet of Events – Some are listed below but there is much more on the linked spreadsheet.

EventSubmission Due DateEvent DateHosted by
1 Million CupsRolling. FollowLinkWednesdays, 9
AM Starting 9/1
UAA/CED
Reverse Pitch Challenge8/139/1 5PM. Registration EBDAlaska V3
gBeta Cohort 29/4 ApplicationsPitch Night – 11/?? TBDgBeta Anchorage – Generator
UpStart Alpha AcceleratorTBDPitch Night – TBDUAA/CED
Startup Weekend – ANCRegistration by 10/3111/5-7Alaska V3
Alaska Startup WeekTBDNovember 5-14 with 11/7 Kickoff partyCommunity
Accelerate Alaska ConferenceTBD11/11 – Startup WeekA.A. – Ross Johnston
Startup Weekend – FairbanksTBD 11/12-14UAF Center ICE
Alaska Innovation SummitTBD – Shorts, PitchesTBD – Usually around 2/23-24 in JuneauJEDC
UAA/UAx Business Plan CompetitionTBDApril – TBDUAA CBPP
Alaska Angel ConferenceTBD – Usually FebruaryApril – TBDAK Angel Conference
Arctic Innovation CompetitionTBDApril – TBDUAF SOM
This is not including other key events that might be added with regional and national interest… ACA Regional, Portland TechFest, Calgary Innovation… contact Ky for more information.

Resources and Programs

Here are a couple places to sign up to receive newsletters and announcements. See something missing? Please use the “suggest a link” at the top or bottom of the Alaska Startup Digest to share your favorite way to stay connected and it will be added in the future.

Alaska Newsletters and Places to Visit for Information

Community Building

Alaska Startup Week – Held in November at the same time as the Global Entrepreneurship Week.

49SAF All Call – Ecosystem Builders quarterly meetup to update a shared event calendar and discuss major events. Contact 49SAF or check the AK Startup Digest for future meetings.

Innovation to Launch Resources

Ideation

1Million Cups – Weekly during the fall and spring – Present your early stage idea for feedback and crowdsourcing ideas and contacts.
Arctic Innovation Competition An idea competition with cash prizes (Spring)
Upstart Alpha Accelerator – UA student and community accelerator program.
NSF I-Corps – UAF Site Program – UA Student and Community customer discovery program with funding.

Model

Startup Weekend (Virtual national COVID SuWk held in spring. Anchorage or Fairbanks events not held in 2020 – TBD)
gBETA Accelerator – New in Anchorage

Strategy

Mentoring – No current formal mentoring programs available.
Innovation Summit – February statewide meet up. Virtual in 2021.

Planning

Alaska Small Business Development Center – SBDC assistance with planning, funding and other business support resources and classes.
Procurement Technical Assistance Center – PTAC assistance with doing business with the government.
UAA Business Plan Competition – Watch for updates on the 2021 deadlines that are expected to be in late January.
Spruce Root – Path to Prosperity – Rural SE and SW Alaska small startup business assistance and seed funding.
Best in the West – Bethel, AK – Business Plan and startup business assistance.
NorthSlope Market Place – Business Plan and startup business assistance

Finance

Alaska Small Business Development Center – SBDC assistance with planning, funding and other business support resources and classes.
Alaska Investor Network – Alaska’s angel group that meets monthly in the fall and spring. Must apply to present. (link not working?)
Alaska Angel Conference – An annual angel training fund providing about 100K in investment in the spring. Deadlines for applying and participating early in the year.
49SAF – Funding and community organizing
UAF Center ICE Seed Fund – UA Faculty, Staff and Student funding, with some community funding for work with the University.
Alaska Venture Fund – “…we pursue bold ideas, building new models of collaboration and collective action to create lasting change.”

Small Business Grants for Minorities

See below for accelerator programs that can be a source of funding and early launch support.

Launch

Alaska Small Business Development Center – SBDC assistance with planning, funding and other business support resources and classes.
Launch Alaska – Energy Accelerator Program providing assistance to late stage startups seeking pilot project opportunities related to food, water, transportation, and the environment.
Alaska Ocean Cluster – Pending startup studio for Blue/Ocean ventures
Health TIE (Testbed for Innovation and Entrepreneurship) – semiweekly programs featuring health tech startups and assistance with pilot projects.
Anchorage Community Land Trust – Set Up Shop business and entrepreneurship support program
Students to Startups Programs – UAF Program and UAA/CED UpStart Internships. Students placed with startup companies.

Accelerator and Incubator Programs

This is a partial list of programs in Alaska or with Alaska connections from AK startups attending the program.

National, Out of state or virtual options

Coworking Spaces In Alaska

The Boardroom – Anchorage

Imoja – Anchorage (Moving soon to a new site.)

CoWork by RSD – Anchorage (new)

Alaska CoWork – Anchorage

Akela Space – Arts/Creative – Anchorage

The Hive – Fairbanks

UAF Center ICE – Fairbanks

The Hub – Fairbanks (open?)

Juneau CoWorking – Juneau (still open?)

What is missing?

The parking lot…

Things to add in the future:

  • Startup Venture Directory
  • Startup Founder Directory
  • Startup Founder Programs
  • Annual Alaska Startup Investment Funding Report (Last done by Ky for 2019)
  • List of Startup Podcast – 49SAF, Launch AK?, ???
  • List of Startup online resources – Start Up Resources from Score, TechStars Toolkit for Startups
  • List of Startup books

Your comments and suggestions are welcome!