Photos courtesy Kitsap Bank

Kitsap Bank recently announced the winner of its sixth-annual edg3 FUND small business competition: Bothell-based Fuchsia Shoes Inc. won the $25,000 grand prize.

The small business competition, introduced in 2014, aims to acknowledge small business in Western Washington that make a strong community impact. Participants are judged on their local economic, social, and environmental contributions.

This year, Kitsap Bank received numerous applications, went through finalist and semi-finalist elimination rounds, and hosted a pitch night for the remaining candidates with more than 300 people in attendance at the Kitsap Conference Center in Bremerton. The winner was chosen by an independent panel of judges consisting of entrepreneurs, fellow small business owners, and venture capital investors.

“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, owned by Afshan Abbas, is a direct-to-consumer brand of handcrafted ballet flats, cashmere scarves, and other accessories made by small scale industry artisans from developing countries. At Fuchsia, these artisans gain access to global markets and are paid about three times more than what they would normally, providing a livable wage to sustain themselves.

Kitsap Bank awarded an additional $5,000 to Village Greens Golf Course in Port Orchard for its Community edg3 Award. This secondary cash prize was introduced in 2016 to further acknowledge a business with a community focus. Village Greens, which has been located in Port Orchard for more than 50 years, was deemed by the judges to best exemplify the spirit of community.

Since its inception, the competition has awarded more than $145,000 to small businesses throughout Western Washington.