AROOSTOOK COUNTY — The University of Maine at Presque Isle is sweetening the pot for the eventual 2017 Aroostook Entrepreneur of the Year winner. In addition to the $1,000 award to the first-place recipient in the annual competition organized by the Aroostook Partnership, UMPI will provide free customized professional development training through its Employer U program.
“Many times, these entrepreneurial nominees' organizations are growing at an accelerated pace and employee roles change rapidly, while perhaps taking on responsibilities not originally expected,” said Carolyn Dorsey-Durepo, Associate Professor of Business Management. “Part of UMPI's mission is to support economic development, so I thought it would be fitting to offer the award winner a free Employer U training. President Rice was fully supportive of the idea.”
UMPI’s Employer U program, established in 2015, is designed to provide ongoing professional development opportunities for employees of area businesses.
“We really appreciate this professional development gift from UMPI,” Bob Dorsey, AP President explained. “There are a lot of entrepreneurs in the County that can benefit from additional training, especially as their owners have numerous roles all requiring unique skill sets – so this is a very appropriate gift for them to add.”
Dorsey said in addition to the enhanced prize package, the competition has undergone a few changes this year.
“The competition this year will have a weighting system to add a bit more structure to it,” said Dorsey. “Also, we’ll have more business representation on the selection board who have firsthand knowledge of the challenges of growing a business. And with the Partnership’s emphasis on growing existing small and medium sized businesses that are already established, I believe more consideration will be given to mature business entrepreneurs versus in the past, which tended to favor new businesses or young entrepreneurs.”
A panel of eight judges, one from each of the supporting organizations, Husson University, Northern Maine Community College, University of Maine at Fort Kent, University of Maine at Presque Isle and four business representatives will select the finalists and ultimate winner.
Nominations must be received by April 21, 2017 at 2 p.m. There is no fee for nominations and self-nominations are encouraged. Previous nominees are eligible to be nominated again. Program details and a nomination form are available for download at www.aroostookpartnership.org. To be eligible for consideration, nominees must be the founder, owner, or manager of a private or public company; be primarily responsible for the recent performance of the company or organization; and be an active member of top management.
The nominees will be recognized at an awards banquet set for Thursday, May 18 at Northern Maine Community College. Second and third runners up will receive $500 and $250 respectively.