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AKSourceLink is open for business

The Web site for Alaskans looking to start, strengthen, or grow their business is ready to help.

ANCHORAGE, AK - Softly launched in July 2009, AKSourceLink is a community referral network that links small and emerging business owners in Alaska to local resource partners who offer services that help small businesses grow and prosper. AKSourceLink's official launch is set for Sept. 22 at the Alaska State Chamber of Commerce conference in Homer.

AKSourceLink began as a collaborative initiative of 16 economic development organizations with the common goal of promoting entrepreneurship across the state by facilitating access to information and resources for small business owners, especially in Alaska's remote rural communities.

AKSourceLink is an affiliate of the award-winning USSourceLink, which began in Kansas City in 2003 with KCSourceLink, funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration and the Kauffman Foundation. AKSourceLink was launched in with the generous support of the Denali Commission. The UA Center for Economic Development took the responsibility for coordinating the startup, launch and implementation of AKSourceLink.

The AKSourceLink network consists of nonprofit organizations, university programs and government agencies that provide resources to promote the success of small businesses in Alaska. Resource partners include economic development organizations, educators, technical assistance providers, state and federal programs, networking groups, loan providers and more.

The role of AKSourceLink is to connect entrepreneurs and small business owners to the resources they need when they need them. The AKSourceLink Web site also provides links to articles and information of interest to the entrepreneur and business owner, and maintains a statewide calendar of business-related events. They do not offer business counseling or educational services directly to the entrepreneur, but offer a toll-free number where trained Network Navigators direct callers to an appropriate service provider. All these referral services are free of charge.

Even before its official launch, AKSourceLink is already being recognized. It is selected as one of the three winning finalists for the University Economic Development Association's (UEDA) 2009 Awards of Excellence Competition. The AKSourceLink project is a finalist in the Excellence in Partnership Development category. The UEDA Awards Committee has invited representatives from the University of Alaska Center for Economic Development to San Antonio, Texas, on October 11-13 to present the AKSourceLink project at the annual summit on higher education and economic development.

For more information, contact Linda Ketchum, Entrepreneurship Training Coordinator/AKSourceLink Network Builder at (907)
786-5415 or afldk@uaa.alaska.edu.

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