HOULTON – The Kick Off for the Houlton Entrepreneur Challenge is Thursday, September 1st when the first of two required seminars are presented. The first seminar, which will cover starting and running a business in Maine, is scheduled for 6:00-8:00pm at the Houlton Higher Education Center. The seminar will be presented by Josh Nadeau, Small Business Development Center Director at Northern Maine Development Commission. The program will include information on “where to begin”, resources, developing a business idea, financing, selecting a legal structure and much more. There is no charge to attend the seminar, but registration is requested to assure enough materials are available for all attendees. Registrations can be made by contacting Houlton Community Development Director, Nancy Ketch at (207)521-5938 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Attendance at the “Starting Your Maine Business” seminar is a requirement of participation in the Houlton Entrepreneur Challenge. Others not participating in the Challenge that are interested in the subject are also welcome to attend.
The Houlton Entrepreneur Challenge is a contest featuring a $35,000 Incentive Package, including a $25,000 forgivable loan and donated services by several area businesses. The Challenge is presented by the Town of Houlton, Southern Aroostook Development Corporation (SADC) and major financial partner Machias Savings Bank. It is open for new business ideas, existing businesses with a new idea or expansion plan, as well as businesses outside the area who are interested in opening an operation in Houlton.
Initial Business Concepts must be submitted by September 16th. Participants will then present a 5-minute oral “pitch” before the selection committee to determine who will continue to Phase II of the program. Phase II begins with a seminar about creating a business plan on October 5th and a completed Business Plan must to be submitted by November 23rd.
In addition to Machias Savings Bank, the other financial partners are Houlton Water Company, Buildings Etcetera, F.A. Peabody Company, J. McLaughlin Construction, MMG Insurance, S.W. Collins Company and York’s of Houlton. Business Partners already committed to the program are Severson, Hand & Nelson, Northern Maine Media/WHOU 100.1FM, F. A. Peabody Company and OTT Communications, Houlton Rotary Club, Paychex and Davis Gates & Alward. Time Warner Business Class is a Promotional Partner. Educational Partners include Houlton Higher Education Center, Northern Maine Development Commission and Small Business Development Centers of Maine.
Further information on the Houlton Entrepreneur Challenge is available on the Town’s web site at www.houlton-maine.com or SADC’s web site at www.sadcaroostook.org. Program manuals with all pertinent information can be downloaded from these web sites. Copies are also available at the Houlton Town Office, Machias Savings Bank Houlton Branch and other locations around town. Information is also available by calling Nancy Ketch, Houlton Community Development Director at 207-521-5938 or Jon McLaughlin, SADC Executive Director at 207-521-0157.
About Houlton Entrepreneur Challenge:
The Houlton Entrepreneur Challenge is open to all legal U.S. residents and all individuals eligible to conduct business in the U.S. who are 18 years of age or older at the time of entry. The proposed businesses can be independent operations or franchised and they can be a one-person concept or a team concept. A current Houlton business can apply as an expansion, so long as it introduces a new element in the current business.
The program will include three phases and features a mandatory educational component so participants are well prepared for their new venture. Phase I begins with the “Starting Your Maine Business” seminar on September 1st.
The winner will be announced the week of January 23rd-27th. The selected business will receive the $25,000 forgivable loan as well as multiple benefits to aid in the start or expansion of their business.