Small Business Administration encourages Bristol Bay to grow existing talent pool

Sep 24, 2018

The U.S. Small Business Administration regional administrator appluaded Bristol Bay economic leaders for their focus on nurturing local business and highlighted ways the federal agency could help entrepreneurs.

Credit SBA

The regional administrator with the U.S. Small Business Administration was in Dillingham Thursday to meet with the community’s economic leaders. The federal agency assists small businesses primarily through counseling and loans.

Jeremy Field, the regional administrator for the Pacific Northwest, discussed the challenges of growing Bristol Bay’s economy with several organizations, including Bristol Bay Native Corporation and the Bristol Bay Economic Development Corporation.

He emphasized that in a rural community like Dillingham, it is vital to nurture the resources and assets that already exist.

“What I really like is that your leadership here seems to be really focused on what they can grow,” Field told KDLG after the meetings. “You know, economic development, in that world, so many times the professionals are trying to bring in this big business from out of town that’s going to bring all these jobs, and that doesn’t happen a lot. What you really need to do, and what they’re focused on, is growing the talent pool you already have.”

In particular, he highlighted vocational education opportunities offered through the University of Alaska Fairbanks Bristol Bay Campus.

The SBA has a variety of resources at its disposal to help start and expand small businesses.

“We have counselling services that can help you write a business plan, get prepared to make the pitch to whatever lender you’re going to,” said Field. “You know, now you’re growing, we offer loans that help you get a facility. Maybe you’re a local artisan…maybe you want to do a better job of getting your product out further. That’s where we help you expand your business.”

The way SBA defines it, a small business can include owning and operating a commercial fishing permit. On the other hand, since the SBA is a federal agency, and marijuana is a federally controlled substance, they cannot assist with businesses related to cannabis.

You can more information about business counseling and loans through the U.S. Small Business Administration at SBA.gov.

Contact the author at avery@kdlg.org or 907-842-5281.