The Star-Herald

Central Aroostook Chamber plans forum on business after COVID

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Local business people can take advantage of a Zoom meeting with several local and statewide officials from 9 to 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 14, to help navigate what comes after COVID-19.

The Central Aroostook Chamber of Commerce (CACC) will host the session, which is free to all businesses large or small, established or startup, whether a chamber member or non-member.  

“2020 has been an unprecedented year. We’ve navigated the PPP, the EIDL and other programs, so now, what’s next?” LaNiece Sirois, chamber executive director, said. 

“We are happy to convene people from entities that have resources to tap into at any time and under any circumstance outside the definition of COVID-19. It’s time to come together to start looking ahead.” 

“This was initially scheduled to be presented as a luncheon,” Margo Dyer, chamber president, said. “However, we are happy to have the ability to continue to present this information through modern means.”

The call will include representatives of the Small Business Administration, Maine Procurement Technical Assistance Centers, Small Business Development Center, New Ventures Maine, Center for Business Growth, and the Maine International Trade Center. Each speaker will present the program(s) they offer. 

Speakers will include the following.

James Pineau, senior area manager, U.S. Small Business Administration. Created in 1953, the administration helps small business owners and entrepreneurs pursue the American dream and is the nation’s only go-to resource and voice for small businesses.

Dana Delano, procurement counselor, Maine Procurement Technical Assistance Center at Northern Maine Development Commission in Caribou. The center provides training and technical assistance to local businesses statewide so they can find, win, and perform on government contracts.  

Brandon McDonald, business adviser, Maine Small Business Development Center at NMDC. The center provides free training, modernization and loan proposal preparation, working with mentors and professionals to help clients at any stage of their business or idea.

Karin Petrin, business adviser and microenterprise specialist, New Ventures Maine, Presque Isle. New Ventures Maine helps people find good jobs, start or return to college, launch small businesses, manage their money and build their assets.

Jon Gulliver, director of community relations, Center for Business Growth, NMDC. The center encourages economy and job growth through the support of small business success. Would be entrepreneurs and current business owners may receive services including entrepreneurial training classes, customized one-on-one counseling, and access to financial capital. The center creates social media networks, develops youth programs and a regional network of sponsors and supporters who will share their information and advice with existing and aspiring entrepreneurs.

George Lindbom, international trade specialist, Maine International Trade Center. Whether a company is new to global markets or has sold overseas for decades, the trade center helps them navigate the changing international landscape, working with exporters and importers in all 16 Maine counties.

Sirois of the chamber of commerce. The chamber offers benefits that help business owners offer a robust package to their employees, as well as business promotion opportunities.

“We have had the opportunity to share these resources in this manner in other regions,” Delano said. “They are always successful and business owners will have the resources they need right at their fingertips.”

To register to receive the link for this call or for more information, email or call (207) 764-6561.

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