Sitka may be a long way from Silicon Valley, but that doesn’t mean innovation can’t happen here. Ken Sprague and Nickie Knight are co-founders of Alaska Small Business Innovators, a non-profit that helps to create small business development programs throughout the state. The pair presented some of their ideas to the Sitka Chamber of Commerce this week. Sprague unveiled their latest venture, Startup Sitka.
“Sitka might be a rural town, but there is an opportunity with innovative ideas,” said Sprague. We’re starting to see a lot of younger people coming back into town, wanting to figure out ways to kind of develop those ideas. We want to create this as a launchpad for the network so if family is coming back into Sitka, they have an opportunity to redevelop themselves and expand quickly.
Alaska Startup Week is July 23-31, with events happening across the state. Emerging small business owners are encouraged to attend startup events to network or access resources like free headshots or help with website design. Most Alaska Startup Week events will take place in Anchorage and Fairbanks. Sprague says Startup Sitka will be the first held in a rural location.
“Sitka’s got 10,000 people, but the opportunity for Sitka to be a regional hub for other rural communities that are more depressed gives it a stronger opportunity to work,” Sprague said.
Sprague is holding a meeting tonight (June 30) at the Sitka Public Library from 5-6, and again on July 7th. He’s encouraging Sitkans to get involved and give input on the event. Startup Sitka will be held at the Sealing Cove Business Center on July 25, from 4-8 PM.