Alaska Community-Focused Seafood Business Wins Prize, Recognition at Fisheries Innovation Competition
Local Non-Profit’s Seafood Hub to Better Connect Alaska’s Fishermen with Seafood Consumers
Anchorage, AK. An Alaska non-profit took top honors in a global seafood innovation competition in Palo Alto, California on November 10, 2015. The Alaska Marine Conservation Council (AMCC) was one of six winners overall and one of two winners in the growth-stage category for their Alaska Community Seafood Hub concept. The Alaska Community Seafood Hub expands upon AMCC’s current local seafood sales through their Catch of the Season community supported fishery program and through the Kodiak Jig Seafoods brand. The Fish 2.0 Competition Finals & Sustainable Seafood Innovation Forum identified companies who are bringing to market creative approaches to key fisheries challenges, building consumer demand for sustainable seafood, reducing waste and supporting local fishing communities.
Each winner received a $5,000 cash prize. AMCC and the other 31 businesses that competed at the finals are also eligible for Professional Service Awards ($150,000 total, plus an additional $45,000 for Pacific Islands businesses) and Open Door Prizes, which provide access to top-level industry buyers and analysts, training and other connections. These prizes will be announced by mid-December.
For Kelly Harrell, Executive Director of the Alaska Marine Conservation Council, “The connections with other impact-focused fishing businesses and support for taking our work to the next level provided through Fish 2.0 have been incredibly valuable. We were honored to be among innovative businesses focused on delivering social, economic, and environmental benefits in our communities and excited to be able to bring Alaska to this global stage.”
The 18 finalists and 19 runners-up presenting at the competition finals rose to the top from an original pool of 170 applicants that went through four rigorous rounds of competition since April. Another Alaska company, the Ocean Rich Communities of Alaska (ORCA), was a runner up at the competition.
Harrell and AMCC had some help along the way in the form of Alaska’s tight-knit entrepreneurial and investor community. She prepared for her pitch by presenting at 1 Million Cups, an entrepreneurial networking forum held at Anchorage’s Boardroom last spring. She also worked on the seafood hub business plan with Dr. Quentin Fong from UAF/Alaska Sea Grant through a seafood business class last fall, and with Professor Al Hermann as part of Harrell's UAA MBA capstone project completed in May.
The Alaska Community Seafood Hub also got a big boost recently from the USDA, winning a nearly $100,000 grant to grow the seafood hub with marketing and staff support.