Sunrise County Economic Council, sponsor of the Machias Valley Center for Entrepreneurship, recently exceeded $ 850,000 in committed funding for its $ 1.05 million capital campaign, bringing the project one step closer to reality and the emerging entrepreneurship community of the Counties provides a future home. Three early lead gifts paved the way for success, with the Northern Border Regional Commission pledging $ 345,000, Machias Savings Bank $ 200,000, and the Sunrise County Economic Council supporting the effort with a pledge of $ 200,000.
Other local businesses have raised over $ 100,000 in gifts from Bangor Savings Bank, Pratt Chevrolet, RH Foster Energy, LLC, Whitney Family of Companies, First National Bank, Dunkin, Accompany Co, Narraguagus Bay Company, Maine Community Foundation, and Fisher Charitable Trust donated. Numerous individuals have also donated money to support the effort.
Companies and individuals can make additional gifts at http://www.machiasvalleycenter.org.
The contributions will fund the construction, equipment and launch of the new business center on Main Street in Machias. The center will provide east Maine entrepreneurs and business owners with coworking space, offices, technology resources and professional assistance. A video update on the project can be seen on YouTube: https://youtu.be/ji8kLgH_3bs
Larry Barker, CEO of Machias Savings Bank, serves as campaign chair along with fellow committee members Dan Qualls, UMM interim director; David Whitney, Whitney Corporate Family Owner; and Ian Pratt, owner of Pratt Chevrolet in Calais. Barker says, “The center is a game changer for our community. In addition to providing virtual programming and education, budding business students, new entrepreneurs, and current business owners have physical homes to connect and learn. The building will convey a new message of hope – one that says we are serious about doing business in our community. ”
Machias Valley Center for Entrepreneurship is a program of the SCEC. Founded in 1993 by a group of corporate and community leaders, SCEC actively promotes a grassroots approach to economic and community development. By finding common ground and working across traditional political, communal, and economic boundaries, the council works with Washington Counties to build a brighter future.
The Machias Valley Center for Entrepreneurship will be a hub for vibrant networks, programs, and opportunities that help Washington County and Eastern Maine entrepreneurs and small business owners create jobs and wealth across the region.
Denise Cilley, Director of the Entrepreneurship Program at SCEC, explains: “During our design processes for the center and programs, we have constantly listened to the needs and desires of our business world. This approach was critical in laying the foundation for success. Our goal is to build and serve through communication and cooperation with all parties involved – with, not for. “
Coaching, collaboration and programming took place successfully in virtual space during the pandemic. Working with Washington County Community College and Four Directions Development Corporation, and working with over 40 network partners across the state, several programs focused on entrepreneurship and people development have been created and are currently ongoing. As of January 2020, SCEC’s virtual accredited programs, online community, and coaching have served over 275 people in more than 130 companies across the state, 40 percent of whom are Washington County-based. These programs and technical support services have served over 30 minority and underserved people who remain at the center of all efforts.
Denise Cilley addressed the success of the centre’s virtual program with the following comment: “Earlier this year, I was asked to describe the current success of the Machias Valley Center for Entrepreneurship in six words or less. Words that came to mind immediately were responsive, integrative, flexible, adaptable, welcoming and connecting. These six words have carried us through several successful program developments, and I believe that putting these words at the heart of everything we do will help us continue to serve our region and beyond. “
SCEC continues to accept both multi-year pledges and donations to help move the center forward. Please visit http://www.machiasvalleycenter.org for the floor plan and room concepts, a regularly updated list of donors, and a full list of programs, partners and donors.