Perspectives on Business and Economics, Vol. 40

31 Trident Seafoods utilizes this raw material for its high-concentration fish oil production (Trident Seafoods, 2021). A similar scenario exists for boatbuilding. With Alaska’s coastline surpassing 6500 miles, a lucrative fishing industry, 9400 vessels 28 feet and larger, and even more numerous smaller craft, boat repair and building have ample customers (Klouda & Fauske et al., 2018). Small, high-growth businesses may also take advantage of tourism’s existing infrastructure and customer base. Tourists are always looking for ways to immerse in regional culture. An example is Gold Daughters, a tourist destination offering a glimpse into life during the Alaskan Gold Rush through panning for gold (I. Reeves and J. Reeves, remarks to Martindale Center, August 17, 2021). Significant room for growth remains in diversifying the tourist experience, like this one. The major barrier, however, is the cost of doing business beyond tourism season, when the customer base is minimal and shipping products elsewhere is expensive. Alaska’s inaccessibility leads to high-cost shipping and creates a need for aviation infrastructure. Alaska has 758 airports, fourth-most among 50 states, and ranks sixth in the number of registered aircraft despite ranking forty-eighth in population (Klouda & Zervantain et al., 2018; Alaska Population 2021, 2021). The airplane-to-population ratio is reflected in the high concentration of aviation-related skills. For instance, in Alaska, there are 10 pilots for every 1000 residents, five times the national average. The dispersion of communities across the state raises costs but at the same time creates an environment with educated individuals who can innovate in aviation. The state’s knowledge in this field is widely due to the University of Alaska’s efforts to educate and train the local population to be successful in growing this sector. A major current goal is for Alaska to be a leading training hub for pilots across the world. The existing infrastructure and unoccupied air space in such a vast state make Alaska an ideal training location for young pilots (Klouda & Zervantain et al., 2018). With this expertise, Alaska is also well positioned to advance aviation technology itself. One technology being widely investigated in Alaska is unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). UAVs could provide cheaper and safer alternatives in mapping, surveying, and hazard management. Another area where Alaska hopes to lead is in electric airplanes (Klouda & Zervantain, et al., 2018; N. Klouda, personal communication, October 15, 2021). Alaska’s potential is significant because the first planes where the transition to electric/gas hybrids will be made are the small bush planes used between isolated villages. The improvements will be both economic and environmental, reducing fuel consumption in a range of 20% to 50%. As hybrid planes become more commonplace, Alaskans will familiarize themselves with the technology and have the potential to continue to innovate in the field (Bradner, 2021). Alaska Environment and Geography The inaccessibility, size, and northern latitude of Alaska create business opportunities not possible elsewhere in the US. The state’s giant landmass encompasses a plethora of biomes: mountain ranges with the highest peaks in North America, a coastline similar in length to the Lower 48’s, nearly 100,000 glaciers (with the longest exceeding 100 miles), and the only temperate rainforest in the nation. The high latitude creates a daylight cycle unlike anywhere else in the US, with daylight ranging from 5.5 to 22 hours, depending on the season. Thus, Alaska’s diverse landscape provides competitive advantages in sectors entrepreneurs could tap, such as renewable energy, aerospace, and agriculture. Renewables, including solar, wind, hydro-, and geothermal power, can all thrive. With solar power, a 4-kW system in Alaska could produce more than 4000 kWh annually compared to the 3400 kWh typically produced (Byrd, 2020). This increase in efficiency is due to the days with 20 hours plus of sunlight, high levels of solar radiation, and cooler temperatures that allow panels to work without overheating. As one indicator of the possibilities, Arctic Solar Ventures in Anchorage grew revenue beyond 300% every year from 2015 to 2018 (Klouda & Johnson et al., 2018). Other renewable energy sectors offer comparable advantages. Vast, open, mountainous terrain and a long coastline are amenable to wind turbines. Indeed, wind has received the largest share of renewable energy funding in Alaska, at 35%. Hydropower already accounts for a third of the power produced in the state, and extensive coast and river systems have even