About Skagway Development Corporation
The Skagway Development Corporation (SDC) was formed at the City of Skagway’s request in 2001. The City believed that a more professional and full-time approach to economic development needed to transpire for Skagway to develop into a vital year round community . Previous efforts towards economic development by the City of Skagway had been by volunteer boards and commissions. These had not seen tangible results and one of the main reasons for this was that efforts had centered solely on recruitment and overlooked other economic opportunities. SDC was incorporated in the State of Alaska in December 2001 and received 501(c)(6) tax-exempt status in August 2002. The Board operated as a volunteer organization and in April 2003 a full-time Executive Director was hired after an extensive nation-wide search.
The Executive Director, in cooperation with the Board of Directors, implemented a five-pronged approach to economic development. Each of these prongs addresses different issues and their intent is to diversify the definition of economic development in Skagway.
These consist of:
- Recruitment of outside business investment and/or ventures;
- Conducting business feasibility studies;
- Prepare and pursue marketing strategies that promote the community as a whole or individual sectors/assets;
- Enterprise Facilitation” (as proposed by Ernesto Sirolli) is a process of identifying promoting, assisting, and supporting the entrepreneurial capital within the community. This is conducted utilizing the corporation's business resource center services. Capacity building for entrepreneurs is vital to ensure a greater capability of business owners to become more efficient and effective in the running of their businesses. The education of school students regarding business, economics, and free enterprise through seminars and other programs such as Junior Achievement, will help to promote an enterprise environment which increased options for careers. Enterprise facilitation is a vital part of the development program as it works with resources that currently exist in the community;
- Providing an alternative source of funding through the SDC Revolving Loan Fund for enterprises and ventures that are not eligible for commercial loans. In 2002, through funds from the USDA ($118,600), SDC developed a Revolving Loan Fund which has benefited eight local businesses. The total amount of loans currently is $135,000 which represents three start-up businesses, business expansions as well as working capital for the slow winter months. Three of these loans have been to businesses owned and operated by women and one to a Native American couple.
In 2003 it was recognized by the SDC Board of Directors that a separate entity working on community development issues was needed to compliment the economic development program. To best accomplish this it was necessary to incorporate a separate 501(c)(3) organization, SDC-Community Development Services (SDC-CDS). The philosophy of SDC and SDC-CDS is that economic and community development go hand in hand and generally one is necessary for the other to occur.
The SDC-CDS Purpose is “To implement a process designed to encourage community development, community services, and to increase the quality of life in Skagway, Alaska.” SDC-CDS was granted tax-exempt status in March 2004 and has been active in pursuing funding for community based activities and projects. SDC-CDS also acts as a pass-through organization channeling funds from funders to community groups and events.