Fish Radio
Juneau Summit celebrates Innovation
January 28, 2015

The AK Legislature convenes in Juneau today.

The AK Legislature convenes in Juneau today.

This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch … Juneau is “clustering” at the annual Innovation Summit. I’ll tell you more after this –

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Grow what you’ve got is the trend in Juneau as the way to boost and sustain its economy. This week’s annual Innovation Summit showcases ideas in four clusters: Ocean, Visitors, Forests and Renewable Energy.

In an advance economy like the US and Europe most of the growth comes from new ideas. We’ve tapped out most of our opportunities to just pull resources out of the ground or water, so real growth happens when we innovate. 3

 Brian Holst is executive director of the Juneau Economic Development Council, host of the Summit. It also promotes the cluster-based model of growing an economy.

Clusters are concentrations of businesses in a particular region. So think of the seafood industry, tourism, visitor products. And those businesses that bring in money from Outside are especially important for our economy. 

Rather than try to attract new businesses or industries, Holst says the best return is to focus and grow what you have.

That’ s what the cluster based approach to economic development is –  it recognizes what the strengths are in your region and it encourages you to build on those strengths. We have expertise throughout coastal Alaska in the seafood industry and so we will find the greatest return on our investment by supporting those businesses that already have that expertise. 

The Ocean Products Cluster for the region is focusing on growing the mariculture industry, a sea otter garment business and full utilization of fish parts. Holst says Juneau has become a busy fishing town and all combined, is the largest employer. And he believes there is heightened awareness of the industry’s importance in the Capitol city.

I believe our community really has for long term economic development recognizes that the ocean and ocean harvests are going to be part of who we were, who we are and who we will be in the future  – and we want to invest and support the industry.

The Juneau Innovation Summit runs this Wednesday and Thursday Jan. 28-29). Find links at

Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods – serving Alaska’s fishing communities since 1910. . In Kodiak, I’m Laine Welch.