Haa Aani CEO Russell Dick, left, listens as The Nature Conservancy Southeast Director Norman Cohen announces the Path to Prosperity competition in July.

A dozen Southeast entrepreneurs will attend an economic boot camp this month to learn how to develop a business plan.

The 12, from six communities, won the first round of a competition designed to help build rural communities. One is a Wrangell guitar-maker.

It’s part of a program called Path to Prosperity, sponsored by Sealaska’s Haa Aani Community Development Fund and The Nature Conservancy.

Haa Aani’s Alana Peterson says the 12 were chosen from among 59 applicants.

“We know there’s a lot of great ideas out there in the region. A lot of individuals and entrepreneurs have some really great business ideas that can help satisfy the needs that we have in this region,” she says.

The free business boot camp takes place October 11th to 13th in Juneau.

Peterson says it will include workshops on business-plan writing, financing and sustainable business practices.

“We want to see that they’ve looked at how their business affects the society as a whole, the environment and that they really try to add shared value in all the activities they do. We want these businesses to be businesses that improve their communities all around,” she says.

The 12 semi-finalists include a mill, two farms, two guitar-makers and a feed-and-seed business. Four are from Haines, three from Hoonah, two from Juneau and one each from Craig, Wrangell and Sitka.

Peterson says small-town proposals were considered first, then those from larger cities.

“Really, the main goal is to create the long-term positive social and economic impacts in the rural communities. And we really believe that entrepreneurship is the path to achieving that goal,” she says.

Two winners will be announced in late January. They will receive up to $40,000 for consulting and technical services to develop their businesses.

Path to Prosperity will begin a new round of competition soon after that.

Business                                      Location            Principal Applicant

1) 7 Echoes Homestead                Haines                Carol Tuynman

2) Glacier Ground Rocknobs       Haines                 Debra Schnabel

3) Shaan Seet, Inc.                       Craig                    James Carle

4) Chilkoot Indian Enterprises    Haines                 Scott Hansen

5) Icy Straits Lumber & Milling   Hoonah               Wesley D. Tyler

6) Tongass Guitars                       Wrangell              Stephen Helgeson

7) South East Alaska Produce      Hoonah               Chelsea Schoonover

8) Raven Guitars                           Hoonah               Kevin Skeek

9) The Sawmill Farm                    Sitka                     Bobbie Daniels

10) Coppa                                      Juneau                Marc Wheeler

11) Shelter Island Family Farm   Shelter Island     Nathan Soboleff

12) Klehini Grange Feed & Seed  Haines                 Tamsen Cassidy