Economic Development Council crowns winners of business contest

Colleen Smith Armtrong photoThe winners of the EDC business contest: Tim Fry of Lopez

Local entrepreneurs are one step closer to seeing their business dreams come true.

The San Juan County Economic Development Council’s first annual “Launch San Juan Islands” business plan competition culminated with four winners at a luncheon on Dec. 2. There were 12 entries with plans that ranged from a dog bakery to iPhone instructions to advanced marine technology.

“We hope to make it better every year,” said EDC Outreach Coordinator Robin Carroll. “And we plan on offering a similar program for non-profits.”

The grand prize winner of $2,000 went to Sasha von Dassow of San Juan Island Transport. He will be bringing agricultural products from local farmers to the mainland – and vice-versa. The second prize of $1,000 went to Leslie and Jacob Betcher of Upright Marine on Orcas Island. They invented a new type of marine buoy anchors that are ecologically sensitive. The two runner up awards of $250 each went to Sandhya Sreerama for her San Juan Island-based Indian food company Port of Spice and Tim Fry of 468 Communications on Lopez for an app that chambers of commerce and the visitors bureau can use for tourists.

Since the beginning of October, the group has participated in business planning and marketing workshops, mentoring sessions and an entrepreneur trade show. They also made oral presentations to the panel of judges. The winners were selected based on: market viability, competitive strategy, management, likelihood of success and impact on the county.