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Alaska SBDC: New Businesses Led by Women and Veterans Thrive Despite Challenges

Jun 25, 2024 | News, Small Business

Photo Credit: YuriArcursPeopleimages | Envato

Alaska’s small businesses are a driving force in the state’s economy. The recently released 2023 Alaska Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Annual Report reveals that small businesses are increasingly led by women, veterans, and new entrepreneurs.

Empowering Entrepreneurs

The annual report, which comes on the heels of the Alaska Business Survey released in early June, highlights a year of impactful support, featuring success stories of businesses that secured funding, expanded operations, and launched thanks to Alaska SBDC guidance. The report also features a new “State of Small Business” section and Special Programs overview, offering valuable insights into Alaska’s entrepreneurial landscape.

“Alaska’s small businesses are a crucial part of the state’s economy, and the Alaska SBDC is proud to be able to support them. This year, we have developed and deployed unprecedented new programs, funding sources, and resources for Alaska’s entrepreneurs in addition to our existing business support services. As this report shows, the results of those efforts are paying off,” says Alaska SBDC Executive Director Jon Bittner.

The annual report reveals how Alaska’s small businesses thrive despite inflation and hiring challenges outlined in the recently published 2023 Alaska SBDC Small Business Survey. It also highlights how the Alaska SBDC empowers entrepreneurs with resources to overcome these obstacles and the impact of the Alaska SBDC in 2023. Findings show:

    • Alaska SBDC advisors supported businesses in 100 communities, empowering rural entrepreneurs in 78 communities
    • Alaska SBDC clients secured more than $37 million in new funding in 2023, fueling business expansion and innovation. 
    • Alaska SBDC Special Programs support clients, helping them with promotion, innovation, and securing funding, particularly for underserved communities.
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Alaska Business July 2024 Cover

July 2024

Notably, the Alaska SBDC is the only SBDC in the nation to serve as an administrative lead for a State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) program. In its first nine months of operation, Alaska SSBCI helped secure $28.9 million in loans to thirty-four small businesses across twenty-two communities. To date, Alaska SSBCI has helped secure $66.9 million in loan values to seventy-four businesses across twenty-six communities.

The new “State of Small Business” section, in partnership with the University of Alaska Center for Economic Development at the UAA Business Enterprise Institute, offers a comprehensive analysis of Alaska’s entrepreneurial landscape, revealing key trends:

    • Alaska SBDC clients are more likely to be women; black, indigenous and people of color; and veterans.
    • Despite economic challenges, Alaska has seen a positive trend in new business formation since 2018, showcasing a strong entrepreneurial spirit.
    • While optimistic, small business owners remain concerned about accessing capital and hiring qualified workers. 

The Alaska SBDC remains committed to providing the support and resources needed for continued statewide growth via its core services and special programs: 

    • No-fee and confidential business advising and online resources and tools
    • Low-fee and no-fee workshops and training programs
    • Exposure and support through the BuyAlaska program
    • Innovation preparation with Technology, Research, Education, & Development
    • Accessing funding with the Alaska State SSBCI

The Alaska SBDC invites the community to explore the 2023 Annual Report, available for download at https://aksbdc.org/about/annual-reports/.

Alaska Business Magazine July 2024 cover
In This Issue
Best of Alaska Business 2024
July 2024
Welcome to the 2024 Best of Alaska Business special section! For the ninth time we invited our readers to tell us which Alaska businesses they love the most, this year in forty-four categories. Throughout the month of March, you told us who should be featured in these pages, and we're thrilled to be able to publish the results.
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