Failure Resilience Project delivers timely message amid COVID-19 business closures

by Matt Jardin  |   

When the University of Alaska Center for Economic Development (CED) released the findings from its Failure Resilience Project in late 2019, it was to provide support to business owners and entrepreneurs. Typically, about 50% of small businesses and startups fail within the first years, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy.

That number sharply increased in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In September, CNBC referenced a Yelp economic report citing that of the nearly 170,000 businesses in the U.S. that reported temporary closure since March, 60% have permanently closed. 

Given the renewed timeliness of the subject matter, CED is hosting a digital premiere of The Failure Resilience Project short film on Wednesday, Nov. 18 at 4 p.m. AKST. The film features candid stories about the highs and lows of chasing a dream and starting a business. 

“The stories shared in this film are more timely than ever,” said CED Associate Director Gretchen Fauske. “Not only do the featured entrepreneurs speak about business challenges, they dig into personal experiences as well, from parenting and health to failed auditions and goals not met. I think that all of us can relate to their stories, especially now.”

Among the 10 Alaska entrepreneurs featured in the film are alumni Chidiebere Iwuoha, B.B.A. Management ’19, and Andre Horton, B.B.A. Management and Marketing ’09, M.B.A. General Management ’11, as well as associate professor of public health Liz Snyder. The film will also feature an introduction from Fauske and be followed by an Ask Me Anything session with some of the entrepreneurs.

Part of the annual Alaska Startup Week, attendees are encouraged to register for the screening and other events via the Startup Week website.

The 10 Alaska entrepreneurs sharing their stories in the Failure // Resilience Project short film
Ten Alaska entrepreneurs share their stories in the Failure Resilience Project short film. From top left: Jasmin Smith, Ben Kellie, Laile Fairbairn, Kevin Worrell, Liz Snyder, Andre Horton, Alyssa London, Bill Popp, Chidi Iwuoha and Rachael Miller. (Photos by Chidi Iwuoha)
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