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Sitka Local Foods Network Launches Sitka Food Business Innovation Contest


A sampling of current food products grown, manufactured or processed in Sitka.

Image courtesy of Sitka Local Foods Network

Do you think you have a great idea for a food business or product from Sitka? The Sitka Local Foods Network is launching the inaugural Sitka food business innovation contest in an effort to spark local food entrepreneurs so we can make more local food available to residents and visitors.
This contest will provide two $1,500 kicker prizes — one for established food businesses and one for start-up businesses (no older than two years) — to help entrepreneurs launch or expand their food businesses. The contest is open to food businesses and individuals making and selling food products in Sitka, Alaska. All food business ideas must be geared toward getting more locally grown, harvested and/or produced food into the Sitka marketplace through sales in grocery stores, the Sitka Food Co-Op, the Sitka Farmers Market, restaurants, or individual marketing (such as a community supported agriculture/CSA or community supported fisheries/CSF program).
“The Sitka Local Foods Network’s mission is to get more locally harvested and produced food into the diets of Southeast Alaskans,” said Charles Bingham, Sitka Local Foods Network board president. “For the past decade we’ve offered entrepreneurs a chance to sell their produce, bread and fish at the Sitka Farmers Market, grown produce to sell at the market through St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm, and provided a garden education program to residents. We think this contest is the next step toward getting more local food into the Sitka marketplace.”
Participants in this contest are eligible and encouraged to enter other food business innovation contests, such as the Path To Prosperity or Symphony of Seafood contests. All participants retain the proprietary rights to their products and ideas. This contest is open to new and existing food businesses in Sitka. Student businesses (such as those fostered by Junior Achievement or similar programs) are welcome.
There is a small $25 entry fee for this contest. All participants (business and individual) must complete and submit our contest entry form by 5 p.m. on Friday, April 6, 2018 (by snail mail so it arrives before the deadline to Sitka Local Foods Network, Food Business Innovation Contest Entries, 408-D Marine Street, Sitka, Alaska, 99835, or by email with the Subject Line of “Food Business Innovation Contest Entries” to sitkalocalfoodsnetwork@gmail.com). Submitting a business plan (up to 20 pages) is recommended, but not required.
The entry form will have room to describe your food business idea in a few paragraphs, but submitting a business plan will provide more room to outline plans for funding and marketing the idea and will help a entry's overall score. Judging will be based on how the food business idea provides new local food options in Sitka, how novel the food business idea is, how feasible the food business is (can it make a profit and be sustainable), and how professional the presentation appears. At some time about the third week of April, the Sitka Local Foods Network will host a pitch presentation where judges will interview the contest entrants and try samples of the food products. The judging panel will score presentations and entry forms based on how much idea has a measurable impact on providing local food in Sitka (25%), has the potential for commercialization (25%), provides new employment in Sitka (25%) and fills a need in the Sitka marketplace (25%).
If additional sponsors are found, additional prizes and categories (such as fish or farm) may be added. Depending on the number of entries and interest of the participants, Sitka Local Foods Network may host a reception where contestants can demonstrate their products to Sitka residents. If the reception occurs, there will be a chance for people to vote on their favorite products with the winner receiving the People’s Choice Award (this will be separate than the two main prizes selected by our judging panel). SLFN is currently seeking a sponsor for the People’s Choice Award.
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