Perspectives on Business and Economics, Vol. 40

32 further potential. Finally, Alaska’s geothermal potential, although not as high as in other areas of the world, is nevertheless significant. There is already a resort that runs solely on geothermal power, Chena Hot Springs. Importantly, financial support currently exists and continues to grow through entities such as the Alaska Renewable Energy Fund, which from 2008 to 2015 funded over $259M in renewable energy projects. With additional growth, the state is positioned to be a world leader in renewable energy development (Klouda & Krynicki et al., 2018; Franolic’s article in this volume further explores this topic). Expanded energy production would reduce production costs for small businesses not otherwise able to compete effectively, thereby creating demand for the new energy supplies. Like renewable energy, the growing aerospace industry is not widely concerned with shipping costs or land ownership issues because of its existing infrastructure and lack of exported product. The aerospace industry already has a strong footing, with two space launch sites in the state. Alaska is one of only four locations in the US far enough north for launches of what are known as vertical orbit spacecraft (Spaceports, 2021). Given these distinct geophysics, attracting a larger cluster of firms to utilize the existing infrastructure would contribute to economic growth (N. Klouda, personal communication, October 15, 2021). In contrast, for agriculture firms to thrive, they must address Alaska’s higher shipping costs. For instance, Alaska’s peony farms can sell at higher prices thanks to a seasonal difference in the ecosystem. Alaskan peonies bloom from June to September, months when other producers cannot grow high-quality blooms. Alaskan farmers control the market during this time despite high shipping costs (North Pole Peonies, remarks to Martindale Center, August 18, 2021). Other agriculture areas being explored in Alaska are kelp (see article by Tynes in this volume) and wheat. A silver lining of climate change, Alaska’s increasing efficiency in wheat and other food production, is discussed later. Although expansion in many renewable energy fields and in aerospace would require a parallel expansion in the well-educated workforce, this would be a positive development and a further contribution to growth. In contrast, agriculture tends to be more labor-intensive versus requiring high levels of education, which means peony farms can employ high school students during the summer bloom, thereby avoiding the educated workforce barrier. Overall, the unique geography of Alaska offers economic advantages and mitigation of barriers for many sectors. The Alaska Brand The unique geographical features and personality of Alaska create a brand that can fuel Alaskan business growth. This brand is a combination of serenity and natural beauty along with the harsh conditions the citizens endure every winter, factors that lead to Alaskans having a true appreciation for the outdoors. In 2017, Alaska tied with Montana for first in outdoor participation, with 81% of residents engaged in outdoor activities, well above the 48% national average (Klouda & Johnson et al., 2018). Pristine space to perform all sorts of outdoor activities enables Alaska to thrive in the outdoor equipment market and use these landscapes for branding. Although about 320 million acres of Alaska are publicly owned, which impedes businesses’ land ownership, that landscape inspires outdoor activities (Mollozzi et al., 2009). Within those 320 million acres are 15 national parks, 120 state parks, 16 national wildlife refuges, and 2 national forests (Klouda & Johnson et al., 2018), with myriad areas to hunt, fish, camp, canoe, and otherwise recreate. Alaskans spend much of life outdoors and learn intricacies about often harsh environments. Individuals with lifetimes of knowledge about the outdoors and necessary equipment can innovate and create outdoor products that sell. In addition to Alaskans learning from experience, there are degrees in outdoor leadership, outdoor studies, and outdoor skills offered at universities across Alaska. As a result, this sector does not face the barrier of uneducated employees. Moreover, there is a general customer appeal when a product is made in Alaksa and is “Alaska tough.” Locals particularly enjoy knowing that products they purchase are crafted by someone experienced with Alaska’s often harsh environment (Klouda & Johnson et al., 2018). The brand goes beyond “Alaska tough” per se, as reflected in Alaska’s many nicknames, including “The Last Frontier.” The state’s inaccessible nature, history, and wildlife all can be utilized for advertising coupled with strong