West Maquoit Vinegar Works – Brunswick

Logo - West Maquoit Vinegar Works - Brunswick - Maine SBDCMaking our resources known and accessible to the small business owners of Maine is a goal of the Maine SBDC, so we love seeing our business advisors customize the help their clients need! We work with all stages of business to help them understand and apply our help. Like Brad Messier and Elizabeth Guilbault, of West Maquoit Vinegar Works, who have been making small-batch craft vinegar in Brunswick Maine, since 2018. Their vinegars are unique in flavors and focused on quality ingredients, many of which they source locally.  Their business has now become a full-time job for Brad who sought out help in strategically scaling up while still working full time. He connected with Maine SBDC at CEI Business Advisors Brad Swanson who helped him identify marketing gaps, specifically with digital marketing, eCommerce, and packaging.  Swanson then introduced Messier to fellow Maine SBDC at CEI Business Advisor Jenn Stein, who specializes in hospitality and food businesses, so they could dive even deeper. Read More

Ignite PI – Presque Isle

Northeast Hotel Ignite PI - Presque Isle - Maine SBDC Clint Deschene began 2020 at MSAD #1 as their Business Manager. As a Rotarian and a staple Presque Isle community member, Clint was no stranger to Central Aroostook and the challenges and opportunities in the region. After a visit with the philanthropic Rodney & Mary Smith Family Foundation, it was clear that Clint would make a transition to formally serve the entrepreneurial community in Presque Isle. After several calls with community stakeholders, Clint got to work with Northern Maine Development Commission, a Certified Community Development Financial Institution and the host of Maine SBDC @ NMDC to create a new foundation and acquire the Northeastland Hotel to convert into a business co-working space and upscale lodging facility for business travelers. Read More

Reflections on 2021: It’s Okay To Just “Be”

Person in Field - Reflections on 2021 - Maine SBDCBy: Alison Lane, Business Advisor & 2021 State Star

I used to own a restaurant, and January meant a lot of slow days.  When there weren’t any coffees to pour, dishes to wash, or Quickbooks to update, I would ask myself:

“How can I not waste this time?” 

“What else can I try to generate more business?”

I’d be spinning my wheels and stressed.  Then, before fully forming any one idea, I’d get interrupted or distracted and not have accomplished a darn thing.

I often felt like if I wasn’t DOING SOMETHING, I was failing my business.Read More

Minimum Wage Increase in 2022

Dollar Increase Graphic - Minimum Wage Increase in 2022 - Maine SBDCGet Ready for the Minimum Wage Increase: 3 Practical Tips

Minimum wage is increasing to $12.75 on January 1, 2022. (Maine law requires minimum wage adjustments annually based on the cost-of-living index.)  Here are some practical tips to help you get ready: Read More

West Bay Lawn Care – Gouldsboro

Mowing Lawn - West Bay Lawn Care - Gouldsboro - Maine SBDC John Davis was thinking about starting a business and reached out to the Maine Small Business Development Center for some guidance.  He began the business as a side hustle doing jobs with his tractor and partnering with another person doing lawn care.  Fast forward two years and John is the owner of West Bay Lawn Care and is running a successful business serving Hancock and Washington Counties.  Read More

Mackenzie’s Mannered Mutts – Kenduskeag

Mackenzie Macdougal - Mackenzie's Mannered Mutts - Kenduskeag - Maine SBDC When Mackenzie MacDougal came to Maine SBDC at CEI Business Advisor Alison Lane, she had a big dream! She knew she loved working with dogs from her experience at a local kennel and felt like she was ready to branch out on her own to offer in-home dog training. She was inspired by a mentor who started their own animal-based business with little to no actual business knowledge and felt like she was ready to take the same plunge. The fact that she had no idea how to start but was ready to hit the ground running only highlighted her true entrepreneurial spirit! Read More

Taco Trio – South Portland

Tacos with Meat FillingKaren Rasmussen and her husband, Manny Peña, have been long-term owners of Taco Trio, a Mexican Restaurant in South Portland. The quality of their food and service have become a benchmark in the community and an ongoing reason for their continued growth. When they outgrew their first location, a perfect opportunity presented itself – as a much larger space just down the street, that would fit both their needs and the needs of their customers, plus some. Read More

Gathered Minds Media – Rockland

Branden Densmore - Gathered Minds Media - Rockland - Maine SBDCThe most successful businesses are based on a problem that needs solving, oftentimes coming directly from the lived experience of the owner. For Branden Densmore, his journey through recovery and a near-death experience gave him the push to fully develop Gathering Minds Media, a coaching and consulting business for others in recovery who want to start and grow businesses. He also provides spiritual counseling to help people in recovery find and better follow their purpose in life. Read More

Rising Sun Adventure Tours – Bass Harbor

Kareem Dieng - Rising Sun Adventure Tours - Bass Harbor - Maine SBDCWhen we think about what it takes to run a small business, things like bravery, strategy and forward-thinking come to mind; many qualities found in our veterans and active military members. Kareem Dieng, an active Soldier in the United States Army Reserve, is an inspirational example of all three. Kareem wanted to combine his love for adventure, nature, and connection with his nearly decade of experience leading groups in the outdoors – from there came Rising Sun Adventure Tours. Read More

Maine Jobs and Recovery Small Business Grant

Maine Jobs and Recovery Plan - Maine SBDCThe Maine Department of Economic & Community Development (DECD) has launched the Maine Jobs and Recovery Small Business Grant. This funding is available to businesses who were open before the COVID-19 pandemic began AND to new businesses who were in business as of January 1st, 2021. 

The full grant description is available on the DECD Maine Economic Recovery Grants page and the grant application is here.

The application opened Wednesday, November 3rd. The application deadline is 11:59 PM November 26, which is the Friday after Thanksgiving. Read More