First Statewide Initiative in U.S. Launched to Combat Rural Poverty
November 01, 2005
The program was inspired by one of the most successful development programs ever created - the Development Marketplace. Founded in 1998 by the World Bank, the Development Marketplace program has invested more than $34M in more than 800 projects around the globe in the last seven years. The Alaska model is the first statewide marketplace project of its kind in the country.
"We've tried many different strategies to stimulate rural Alaska economies, but the Alaska Marketplace is based on a successful model that's worked in countries around the globe facing similar poverty and unemployment challenges that we're facing here," said Alaska Federation of Natives President Julie Kitka.
The competition is open to all Alaskans with creative ideas for stimulating economic growth in rural Alaska, with proposals due by December 15th, 2005. The inaugural theme is "Culture & Development," with culture broadly defined to include everything from cultural tourism to the use of technology in rural Alaska.
A diverse panel of expert jurors will evaluate proposals based on innovation, sustainability, poverty reduction and cost-effectiveness. The most promising applicants will compete for a share of $200,000 in seed money, entrepreneurial training and business plan coaching. Finalists will be announced on February 1, 2006, with the Final Competition and Award Ceremony scheduled to take place from April 6-7, 2006.
The Alaska Marketplace website includes complete program details such as application deadlines, technical assistance offered and a detailed description of the Marketplace initiative. All relevant partnership forms and applications can be downloaded from the site as well.
The Alaska Marketplace, was initiated by the Denali Commission - Congressionally established and similar to the Appellation Commission - and is managed by the Alaska Federation of Natives - the only organization in Alaska that represents all of the Native groups.
There is also a growing list of inaugural partners, including BP, ConocoPhillips Alaska, the State of Alaska, Alaska Growth Capital, Alaska Manufacturing Extension Partnership, Alaska Village Initiatives, College of Rural Alaska UAF and the Telecommunications Development Fund.
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