Gauvin Scholar talks on importance of small business
The following is an excerpt from a speech Andrew White gave at the Aroostook Aspirations Initiative (AAI) Gala at UMPI earlier this month. White is one of this year's scholarship recipients. AAI is an investor in the Aroostook Partnership for Progress.
"What should small business mean to others?"
To me, small business is what my family has built its foundation on. For 13 of the 17 years that I've been around, my family has owned a small gas station in Washburn.
We're not Irving, Gulf or Shell. We can't offer the deals that you could receive from Sam's Club or Wal-Mart, but we make a living. And we do that through honesty, integrity, a love for small communities, and a deep connection with our customer base. It's these very values that I was raised on; they will forever be the basis of my morals and my work ethic. But most importantly, our small business has provided me with a bright future in the shadow that has been cast by Great Recession and a failing economy. As large corporations continue to target the "small guy", it is essential that people understand how much support small businesses need, especially in a rural area with a lower population.
So ask yourself, do you ever consider the importance of small businesses in Aroostook County? Have you ever thought about what it is that keeps a business in a small community going? It's the support of the community's people.
So tonight, I challenge you to consider these things next time you're driving out of your small community to buy something that was, though possibly more expensive, available right next to your front door.
Opportunities Aroostook OpportuntiesAroostook.com is a free job/resume
posting website with a unique social media component
to encourage people to explore career opportunities in
Aroostook County. It also allows a business to market
themselves through a number of online tools. Please take
the time to register your business, post all openings
and avail yourself of all the services the website provides.
The site is still in beta, but your participation now will allow us to work out any issues, before a full launch to the public.
$500,000 in USDA
RMAP funds awarded to help businesses in
A half of million dollars in funding is coming to Northern Maine for loans and grants to support rural business activities that will boost economic growth in rural communities.
Northern Maine Development Commission (NMDC) is one of two economic development agencies in Maine to receive U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Microenterprise Assistance Program (RMAP) funding.
Under RMAP, USDA provides loans to Microenterprise Development Organizations (MDOs) that, in turn, make microloans for business startup or development to eligible microentrepreneurs defined as very small businesses with 10 or fewer employees. Grants are available for MDOs to provide technical assistance and training, particularly in rural areas experiencing persistent poverty or significant outmigration. USDA does not directly provide funds to the ultimate recipients.
USDA Rural Development State Director Virginia Manuel said, "These USDA Rural Development funds will have a significant impact on business and economic development in nine Maine counties, as well as a substantial impact on business development and job creation and retention in Maine."
The $500,000 to NMDC, administered by the Business Finance Division, will impact businesses in Aroostook and Washington counties, and the Penobscot County towns of Mount Chase, Patten, Stacyville and three unorganized townships, and 19 unorganized townships in Piscataquis County. The plan is for funds to assist 18 businesses and create 45 jobs.
To learn more about the RMAP funds and other sources of capital, NMDC and the Maine Small Business Development Centers are hosting an accessing capital workshop Thursday, Oct. 16, from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the NMDC boardroom in Caribou.
For more information or to RSVP, contact Mary Dahlgren at 498-8736 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last chance to register for APP/LEAD annual meeting
PRESQUE ISLE - Bangor City Mayor Ben Sprague will deliver the keynote address at the Aroostook Partnership for Progress/LEADers Encouraging Aroostook Development annual meeting at 7:30 a.m. Oct. 1 at the Edmunds Conference Center at Northern Maine Community College.
After breakfast, the agenda will include a recap of APP and LEAD accomplishments from the previous year and a look ahead at opportunities and challenges. The presentations will be followed by the address from Sprague.
"It is important to have an annual meeting to reinforce to all the Partnership investors the focus and priorities we share under the Mobilize Northern Maine economic strategy and to review the progress that has been made from our efforts over the last year," said APP President Bob Dorsey. "APP will briefly discuss progress in our four economic focus sectors, agriculture, energy, forestry and manufacturing; highlight progress in the Education to Industry initiative and present plaques to our new investors."
"This is an opportunity for the LEAD membership to give direct input into the future of LEAD strategies and initiatives and to hear a recap of projects and programs that LEAD has been engaged in over the past year," added LEAD Executive Director Ryan Pelletier.
The breakfast is free, but pre-registration is required. To register, click here.