Fuchsia Shoes Inc. of Bothell edged out four other worthy competitors in Kitsap Bank’s sixth annual edg3 FUND small business competition, taking home the grand prize of $25,000. Edg3 FUND (rhymes with hedge fund) was created to recognize small businesses that are not only working hard to make a profit, but are also having a positive impact on the community. This year, Kitsap Bank received numerous applications from entrepreneurs throughout Western Washington in industries ranging from technology and health products/services to environmental services, food/beverages and agriculture. After much deliberation, the pool of fourteen semi-finalists was selected, and then a public vote helped to determine the five finalists. On November 21st, the finalists gave their pitches before a live audience of over 300 people at the Kitsap Conference Center at Harborside in Bremerton. The winner was chosen by an independent panel of judges composed of entrepreneurs, small business owners, and venture capital investors. The competing businesses were rated based on their commitment to the triple bottom line—entrepreneurs dedicated to growing their community economically, socially, and environmentally. Each presenter was challenged to make the case for why they deserved the $25,000 prize money and how it will be a game-changer for their company.
“We are gratified that so many quality companies participated in edg3 FUND,” remarked Tony George, Kitsap Bank’s President and Chief Operating Officer. “We want to congratulate them all for the contributions they are making to their industries and communities. We expect great things from Fuchsia Shoes, and are pleased to provide them the ‘edg3’ they need to take their business to the next level.”
Fuchsia Shoes Inc.
Fuchsia Shoes, owned by Afshan Abbas, is a direct to consumer brand of artisanal products, selling beautifully handcrafted ballet flats, cashmere scarves and accessories. They work with small scale industry artisans in developing countries who lack access to global markets. By making high quality shoes for Fuchsia, artisans make a livable wage—about three times more what they would normally make. Fuchsia Shoes sources all premium quality raw material locally and uses sustainable materials like recycled denim, jute and organic cotton.
The edg3 FUND finalists represented diverse industries and backgrounds from throughout the Puget Sound region. The four other finalists included:
Camp N Car Port Townsend, WA
JT’s Original Louisiana Bar-b-que Gig Harbor, WA
The Art of Crunch Tacoma, WA
Unity Skate Shop Port Orchard, WA
Community edg3 Award
Village Greens Golf Course (Port Orchard) received the Community edg3 Award and a $5,000 cash prize. The Community edg3 Award goes to one business selected from the pool of 14 semi-finalists that, in the judges’ opinions, best embodies the spirit of community, based upon their submitted application and video.
Village Greens Golf Course
Village Greens Golf Course, an executive 18-hole course, has been located in Port Orchard for over 50 years. The course has seen many owners throughout its longevity and eventually ran its course closing in early 2019. Joseph Perdue, who got his start in golf at Village Greens, stepped in to save the course mowing it back into shape. Juniors, seniors and families of all ages, thanks to Joseph Perdue, can still enjoy a round of golf at Village Greens for many years to come.
edg3 FUND was introduced in 2014 by Kitsap Bank’s Green Team to commemorate Earth Day, and has continued as an annual event held during Global Entrepreneurship Week. The competition covers all of Kitsap Bank’s market area in Western Washington, and is open to all small businesses. Contestants submit an application and a two minute video about their business, which are reviewed by a panel of judges. The judges choose 10-15 companies to compete as semi-finalists, and the company backgrounds and videos are posted on Kitsap Bank’s website and social media for a two week public voting period. The public vote helps to inform the decision of which five companies will compete in the final live competition. The live pitches are presented before an audience of approximately 300 people, as well as a panel of independent judges. The judges determine which company will receive a grand prize of $25,000. In 2016, Kitsap Bank created a new cash prize of $5,000 for the Community edg3 Award. This award can be earned by any one of the semi-finalist companies, and is chosen as the one that in the judges’ opinions best exemplifies the spirit of community. Since its inception, Kitsap Bank has awarded over $145,000 to small businesses throughout Western Washington.
Established August 8, 1908, Kitsap Bank is headquartered in Port Orchard, WA, operating 21 locations throughout Western Washington. With over $1 billion in assets, the Bank provides a full range of financial services to commercial and individual clients. Kitsap Bank has been named a Preferred Lender by the U.S. Small Business Administration, and a Corporate Philanthropist by the Puget Sound Business Journal. Kitsap Bank is ranked the 12th largest bank based in the State of Washington and is the sixth largest women-owned business, according to the Puget Sound Business Journal. The Bank was named Family-Owned Business of the Year in 2015 by Seattle Business magazine and has a 5 Star rating from BauerFinancial Inc. For more information, visit kitsapbank.com and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.###