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Maine SBDC Newsletter – February 2016

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Click here to view our February 2016 Newsletter

In this issue:

Maine SBDC Announces New Website
Redesigned site provides instant access to small business resources and Maine SBDC program information

2015 Annual Program Results
Another strong year – Program continues to demonstrate value to taxpayers by generating incremental tax revenue.

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Hawkeye Fiber Optics – Poland

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Ryan Hawkes had 13 years of experience on every level as a telecommunications contractor before deciding to strike out on his own doing fiber-optic cable splicing and installations in business and campus environments.  He met with Business Advisor Larry Giroux to find out if he needed a license or certification to start this kind of business and to find out about financing his startup. 

Read More

Maine SBDC Announces 2015 Annual Results

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The Maine Small Business Development Centers (Maine SBDC), a state-wide program that helps entrepreneurs to start and expand their businesses, is pleased to announce its annual results.

2015 Results Summary

In 2015, fourteen certified business advisors across Maine helped 1,633 clients to:

  • Save and create 619 jobs
  • Launch 102 new businesses
  • Access $37.6 million in capital to start or grow their businesses.

Return on investment for the Maine SBDC is evaluated annually through an independent study of the program conducted by Dr. James J. Chrisman at Mississippi State University. His findings are based on information provided by a sampling of clients meeting with a Maine SBDC business advisor for at least five hours.

Dr. Chrisman’s most recent report indicated that for every dollar invested in the Maine SBDC, $2.87 was returned in incremental tax revenue.

“We’ve had another strong year working to help entrepreneurs and small businesses succeed. As Dr. Chrisman’s report confirms, the program continues to demonstrate its value to taxpayers by generating incremental tax revenue,” said Maine SBDC State Director, Mark Delisle.

View our entire 2015 Annual Report: 

2015 Annual Report

Maine SBDC Secures Grant to Help Transition Unemployed to Entrepreneurship in the Bucksport Region

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The Maine Small Business Development Centers (Maine SBDC) has received funds from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)’s Portable Assistance Grant Program to develop a program that will provide entrepreneurial advising and training for potential and existing business owners in the Bucksport Bay Area who have been adversely affected by the closure of the Verso Paper Mill.

The program will be a collaborative effort of the Maine SBDC in association with CEI, New Ventures Maine and other local economic development organizations. This program will be designed to equip entrepreneurs and anyone interested in starting a business with a broad range of knowledge necessary for successfully developing and growing a small business.

The grant will provide essential entrepreneurial training to help current businesses and those who may be interested in starting a business explore the opportunities in the area. Maine SBDC will staff a business advising outreach office, located at Bangor Savings Bank in Bucksport, where a certified business advisor will be available to meet with new and existing businesses to discuss challenges and opportunities confidentially and at no cost.

“This grant will provide targeted critical resources to enable us to enhance services to this struggling area,” explains Mark Delisle, Maine SBDC State Director.

Beyond business advising, Maine SBDC plans to organize an entrepreneurial tourism-focused workshop series, provide ‘mini-grants’ to select small business clients for professional services, host a small business resource breakfast and put together a business plan competition. These activities will be paired with online content that will be available to business owners.

The SBA awards SBDC Portable Assistance Program grants to provide services and/or assistance to increase small business success and viability in communities suffering economic hardship attributable to the impact of a major disaster or economic downturn in their area.

Individuals interested in working with the Maine SBDC can visit www.mainesbdc.org or call 207-780-4420.

Open Bench Project – Portland

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Jake Ryan initially contacted the Maine SBDC for assistance in writing a business plan, determining the appropriate form of business ownership and management issues. His concept was to create a shared learn/work facility that would, for a membership fee, provide access to work space, tools, resources, instruction and guidance to members for use with their projects. Read More

Meet the team at the University of Southern Maine Portland, Saco locations.

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USM Portland, Saco Center

Pictured (left to right): Steve Lovejoy, Center Director and Business Advisor (Portland)* Pete Harriman, Business Advisor (Portland) * Roy Hebert, Business Advisor (Saco) *Tom Leach, Business Advisor (Portland)Chris Long, Administrative Manager (Portland) John Sanders, Business Advisor (Portland) 

Steve Lovejoy Named Center Director

steve lovejoyBusiness Advisor Steve Lovejoy was recently named to Center Director at the Portland office located at the University of Southern Maine. Within this new role, Lovejoy will oversee operations at both the Portland and Saco offices, including the management of 4 business advisors. He will also continue to advise entrepreneurs and small businesses in the greater Portland area.

You may recognize Steve, as he’s has been a business advisor with the Maine SBDC for over four years, most recently serving the York County area. He specializes in small business banking, finance and marketing. Lovejoy, who comes from a family of entrepreneurs, holds advance degrees in International Business and Marketing and has over 20 years of experience in banking and finance. He can be reached by calling 207-780-4949 or emailing stephen.lovejoy@maine.edu.

 

New Advisors in Portland, Saco

Last week we welcomed two new advisors to the University of Southern Maine offices (Portland and Saco). We are happy to introduce Peter Harriman and Roy Hebert…

 
Peter Harriman, Business AdvisorPeter Harriman
has joined the team in Portland at our offices located at the University of Southern Maine. Harriman will provide business advising to new and existing entrepreneurs and small businesses in Cumberland County.

Harriman has an MBA with a focus on Finance from the University of Maine and a certificate in Accounting from the University of Southern Maine. His most recent work was as a Loan Specialist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He can be reached by calling 207-780-4949 or emailing peter.harriman@maine.edu

 

Roy Hebert, Business Advisor
Roy Hebert will be in our Saco office located at the Biddeford-Saco Area Economic Development  Corporation. Hebert will provide business advising to new and existing entrepreneurs and small businesses in York County.

 

Hebert has a Bachelors degree from the University of Maine and completed the Executive Management Program at Northeastern University. He founded and ran a consulting business that helped businesses with new product development, strategy, business planning, sales and channel development and mergers and acquisitions. In addition, he is a former New Hampshire SCORE councilor and mentor. He can be reached by calling 207-282-1748 or emailing roy.hebert@maine.edu

 

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month

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SmallBusinesses_5Protect your business and your customers from growing cybersecurity threats. Small businesses are an easy target for cyberattacks as they have weaker security and therefore it is easier to gain access to their information, systems and networks. 

Small Business Cybersecurity Defensive Measures:

Train and educate employees
Establish basic security practices and policies for your employees such as strong passwords, internet use guidelines and established rules detailing the handing and protection of customer data. Train employees to be alert for email and phishing scams. Be clear on the consequences if these policies are not followed.

Protect computers and networks from cyber attacks.
Secure your company computers by ensuring each have malware, spyware and firewall software installed. Prevent access to networks on non-business computers. Also consider encrypting all sensitive data and emails. Keep computers updated.

Back up Data Regularly
Be sure to back up data regularly so that if information is lost or compromised it can easily be recovered. 

Why is this important for your small business?
Most businesses are dependent on the internet for day-to-day operations. Just one breach could potentially put you out of business. 

A small reminder — cyber threats are not always outside your business. Be sure to have appropriate internal controls in place to prevent employee fraud.

Looking for more info on protecting your business from cyber threats?  

The U.S. SBA has compiled a ton of helpful information. The National Cyber Security Alliance also has some helpful information for businesses.