AROOSTOOK COUNTY — The Aroostook Partnership is once again looking for exceptional entrepreneurs in Aroostook County and is soliciting nominations for the 2017 Aroostook Entrepreneur of the Year.
The Aroostook’s Entrepreneur – 2017 Award will be given to a business leader who demonstrates excellence and extraordinary success in such areas as innovation and personal commitment to their business and community.
Partnership Chairman Chris Anderson said Entrepreneur of the Year is very important for the organization and Aroostook.
“One of the biggest challenges Aroostook faces is finding qualified entrepreneurs,” he added. “Entrepreneurs create prosperity and build wealth for the community. Entrepreneurs attract younger energetic workers. Whether they own or run existing businesses or decide to start a new business, the entrepreneur is a catalyst for new business development of all kinds.”
Aroostook Partnership President Bob Dorsey said 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 and the winner will receive a plaque and a check for $1,000 at a special recognition dinner tentatively set for May 18 at Northern Maine Community College. Second and third runners up will receive $500 and $250 respectively.
“Northern Maine Community College is very pleased to be hosting this event which highlights the business people who believe in Aroostook County and want to grow the economy here,” said NMCC President Tim Crowley. “This is also sets a great example for our own Entrepreneurship and Business students considering starting their own business.”
Entrepreneurship plays a vital role in the growth of the U.S. economy. Per the Small Business Administration, small businesses provide 55 percent of all jobs and 66 percent of all net new jobs since the 1970s.
This is the eighth time the Entrepreneur of the Year competition has been held in Aroostook.
“It is important to stress and encourage entrepreneurial efforts; they play a key role in economic development, and we have some excellent examples that we need to reward and celebrate,” said Dorsey.
Last year’s winner was the Buck family in Mapleton for establishing the Maine Malt House. Other previous winners include David Harbison of Bison Pumps in Houlton, Matt Bell of Northeast Pellets in Ashland, Northern Maine Distilling’s Jessica Jewell and Scott Galbiati (formerly of Houlton), Troy Haney of Haney Building Specialties in Caribou, Corey LaPlante of Northern Prosthetics in Presque Isle and Josh McLaughlin of J. McLaughlin Construction in Houlton.
For more information about the initiative, contact Dorsey at 498-9103 or firstname.lastname@example.org.