Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Spotlight: Anchorage, AK

Anchorage

Anchorage, sometimes called the City of Lights and Flowers, holds nearly half of the state’s residents and has more square footage than the entirety of Rhode Island. It’s even been recognized as one of the Top 50 Best Cities for Entrepreneurship.

Anchorage, AK, sometimes called the City of Lights and Flowers, is located in the state’s south-central region. The city is very large in terms of both population and land size, holding nearly half of the state’s residents and having more square footage than the entirety of Rhode Island. Anchorage’s size seemingly lends itself somewhat to a robust entrepreneurship scene as the city appeared on Livability’s 2017 list of the 50 best cities for entrepreneurship.

More recently, the city also appeared on a pair of WalletHub’s 2018 rankings: 126th on the list of best large cities to start a business (with rankings of 61 and 81 in the “Business Environment” and “Access to Resources” categories, respectively) and 73rd on the list of the best cities for Hispanic entrepreneurs. The state as a whole is also a somewhat surprisingly-good city for entrepreneurs, ranking in the top 20 states in the Kauffman Foundation’s 2017 early-stage entrepreneurship index, with a rate of new entrepreneurship that ranked just outside of the top five.

Based on these rankings, FundingSage has reviewed the resources that make up Anchorage’s entrepreneurial ecosystem:

Entrepreneurial Meetups:

Alaska Web Developers is an Anchorage-based group dedicated to supporting web development and growth in the state’s economic and entrepreneurial well-being.

Holding regular meetings at the Anchorage Makerspace, Anchorage Makers is a group of creators, tinkerers and inventors.

Code for Anchorage is a group that holds biweekly hack nights in which area software developers meet and work on software that can help the city.

Anchorage’s Investor’s Business Daily group meets regularly to help investors in the area make connections and learn best practices.

Through monthly meetings, the Real Estate eXchange group supports and helps educate Anchorage-area real estate investors.

 

Regular Entrepreneurial Events:

The Anchorage Chamber of Commerce hosts a number of events based on business and entrepreneurship in and around the city.

Held every year in Anchorage, the Rural Small Business Conference is a place for small business owners in Alaska’s rural communities to make connections and learn about their trade.

This news source as a resource organized by Techstars that keeps a calendar of all the major business and entrepreneurship events taking place around the state.

2018 marked the third annual Startup Week Alaska, a weeklong conference with events celebrating entrepreneurship held in cities around the state, including Anchorage.

 

Startup Competitions:

Since 1999, the Alaska Business Plan Competition has been an annual chance for entrepreneurs from Anchorage and around the state to pitch their ideas and earn cash prizes.

 

Co-working Spaces:

Located in downtown Anchorage, The Boardroom is a co-working space with a variety of membership plans and amenities, including tech support, free coffee and happy hours.

Solve IT Alaska, an organization dedicated to supporting information technology workers around the state, offers office space for rent in Anchorage.

 

Makerspaces:

Though it doesn’t have a full workshop, the Mountain View branch of the Anchorage Public Library offers 3D printing services to its members.

Anchorage MakerSpace is a 5,000-square foot workshop with a wide array of tools and equipment that hosts classes, workshops and regular Open Shop times open to the public.

The University of Alaska Anchorage’s College of Engineering has a Prototyping Lab, open to students, faculty, staff and some other organizations.

 

Incubators:

Alaska Startups Ideator is an invite-only community that connects startups with mentorship, investors, development teams and more resources.

NorthWest Data Solutions, a software development company, runs the Idea Incubator to help develop and support upcoming software companies.

The University of Alaska Anchorage has a Business Enterprise Institute, which connects business development and support resources with entrepreneurs and small business owners.

 

Accelerators:

Geeks Accelerator is an Anchorage-based accelerator program that works to help promising software companies grow into full-fledged, successful businesses.

Founded in 2015, Launch Alaska is an accelerator program that works with scalable startups in the food, water, transportation and energy industries.

 

Colleges/Universities:

Alaska Pacific University’s Business School offers a graduate certificate in entrepreneurship as well as an Alaska Native Executive Leadership Program.

In addition to a minor in entrepreneurship, the University of Alaska Anchorage’s Business Enterprise Institute supports student entrepreneurship outside of the classroom.

 

Angel Groups/VCs:

The 49th State Angel Fund is a government function in Alaska that provides capital to startups in Anchorage and the state as a whole.

The goal of the Alaska Venture Capital Association is to grow the Alaskan economy through funding entrepreneurs, creating jobs and building a variety of industries.

Headed by John Wanamaker, Alaska Venture Partners is an organization that provides angel investment, private equity and corporate consulting services.

Alyeska Venture Management manages the Alaska Accelerator Fund, a fund that provides venture capital to promising early-stage companies around the state.

With offices in Anchorage and Helsinki, Finland, Pt Capital invests in industrial and hospitality companies in the Pacific Northwest, Iceland, and Finland.

 

Entrepreneurial Newsletter Coverage:

Alaska Business Magazine offers the Alaska Business Monitor weekly newsletter and the Alaska Business Scene monthly events update.

The Anchorage Daily News offers subscribers an e-edition and the option to subscribe to a number of newsletters, though none specifically focus on business or entrepreneurship.

 

Are you familiar with entrepreneurial ecosystem infrastructure in Seattle not included in the article above?  If so, let us know via a comment, and we will add it to the article. 

Interested in Ecosystem Spotlights of other cities in the USA?

Seattle, WASan Francisco, CABoston, MA


Quinn Pilkey

Quinn is a journalism major at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He also serves as a freelance author for Hashtag Basketball where he writes about the NBA's Charlotte Hornets and at Funding$age where he researches and writes about entrepreneurial ecosystems.