EAGER: Collaborative Research: Developing and Testing an Incubator for Digital Entrepreneurship in Remote Communities
This collaborative award supports research to design and evaluate a model for entrepreneurial small-business accelerator optimized for job creation in remote Alaskan communities, in collaboration with indigenous populations. Specific objectives and outcomes of this project include: * To conduct two workshops with large-scale community involvement in Noorvik, Alaska and Arviat, Nunavut gathering and linking data to the Exchange for Local Observations and Knowledge of the Arctic (ELOKA) project related to comparative US/Canadian venture capital investment potential in the North American Arctic. * To develop a digital incubator/accelerator model specifically optimized towards preparing North American indigenous Arctic entrepreneurs to start businesses in the creative and cultural sectors. Diversifying and strengthening Alaska's economy aligns strongly with U.S. Arctic Policy for national security and economic development. Alaska is a frontier market with extensive untapped creative entrepreneurial assets. Drawing from existing rural and Pan-Arctic business innovation and research, coupled with direct work with Alaskan communities, the IdEA initiative works to grow the Alaskan economy for the transformative benefit of the United States Arctic and potentially other rural communities in the United States. In addition, this research project will also provide key insights into the infusion of training in entrepreneurship into diverse undergraduate and graduate experiences, as the NSF Strategic Plan 2018-2022 notes such training "can speed the translation of new discoveries into commercial applications" and greatly benefit the nation. The (IdEA) Incubator for Digital Entrepreneurship in the Arctic works with remote Alaskan communities to co-produce transformative digitally-focused and economically-centered knowledge developing a digital incubator/accelerator connecting Alaskan rural entrepreneurs with venture capital. The proposed research activities permit comparative cross-pollination of concepts related to Pan-Arctic labor market opportunities for economic development potential, technological capacity, and cultural capital. The incubator leverages multidisciplinary mixed-methodological community-centered approaches to develop and test coproduction of a framework for scientific and economic knowledge in the field of Community Informatics. IdEA applies optimized entrepreneurial training linking entrepreneurship best practices with venture capital support, enabling rural Alaskan communities to develop and apply their unique expertise for the specific purpose of growing and diversifying their economy in alignment with U.S. Arctic Policy for national security and economic development.