Unalaskans have swept the first round of a regional business competition, thanks to startup ideas that range from soccer camps to bike rentals.
Last week, a panel of judges chose Travis Swangel, Carlos Tayag, and Doanh Thi Tran as the finalists of the 2017 Aleutian Marketplace Competition.
Sponsored by the Aleut Corporation and the Aleutian Pribilof Island Community Development Association (APICDA), the contest will give one winner $20,000 to start a business.
“We try to create as many opportunities as we can for small businesses to have some kind of success throughout the region, which is a very challenging environment to do business in," said Gary Chythlook, chief administrative officer for APICDA.
While the competition is open to current and former residents of a dozen communities, Chythlook said the strongest business plans came out of Unalaska.
“We did have submissions from Sand Point and from people who are historically from the region," he said. "It just so happened that the judges selected people who are living in Unalaska.”
Swangel has proposed a business called Island Bike Rentals, which would loan bicycles to tourists and locals looking to get around Unalaska.
Tran's Bering Breeze Company would provide tours of the island and rent outdoor recreation equipment.
Carlos Tayag has submitted a plan for the Rural Alaska Soccer Association. His business would develop a regional league after starting soccer clubs in communities around the Aleutian and Pribilof Islands.
The three finalists will present their business plans in Anchorage next week. Judges will announce the winner soon after.