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.