“This is a Yup’ik and Indigenous people’s win” – This year’s High North Young Entrepreneur winner attracts media attention in the US.

By griffith - May 21, 2021
Biological siences student Michael Martinez studies ways to isolate rare earth metals from samples of Alaska coal in Professor Brandon Briggs’ lab in UAA’s ConocoPhillips Integrated Science Building. Photo:James Evans/University of Alaska Anchorage

Michael Martinez and his company Arctic Biotech Oath won the High North Young Entrepreneur award at High North Dialogue 2021 in Bodø in April. Martinez discovered a way to use microbes to extract rare earth metals without creating toxic byproducts.

High North Young Entrepreneur contest is an international pitch competition of Arctic-related business ideas of young entrepreneurs and start-ups. The overall goal for the contest is to bring attention to the economic potential and special needs of the High North areas and to encourage young people to develop their business ideas.
The contest final is a part of the program of the annual High North Dialogue conference in Bodø. At the final session, three start-ups have an opportunity to pitch their business ideas to 350 conference participants – Arctic experts, and to win financial funding for their business: A check for 50 000 NOK.​

Michael Martinez is a University of Alaska Anchorage science student whose mother’s family hails from Kotlik.

“This is a Yup’ik and Indigenous people’s win up here in Alaska,” said Martinez to Alaska Public media. “This not only shows we’re capable of doing the basic research, but this shows that we can impact a great sector. Not only of upcoming technology, but something people are looking forward to in the future.”

Martinez attended the Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program in Anchorage.​

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