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National Entrepreneurship Month

A Quad City restaurant is facing tens of thousands of dollars in fines. After an investigation...
A Quad City restaurant is facing tens of thousands of dollars in fines. After an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor, the Osaka Buffet in Moline has to pay nearly $79,000 in back wages to 33 current and former employees. (MGN Image)(KWQC)
Published: Oct. 21, 2019 at 4:36 PM EDT
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November is National Entrepreneurship Month – did you know Greater Bangor and Eastern Maine is a hotbed of entrepreneurial activity?

Bangor has a thriving downtown, burgeoning arts scene, and several universities, colleges, and secondary schools that help create an attractive environment for entrepreneurship.

There are a number of organizations (for profit, nonprofit & university) that offer assistance to entrepreneurs alongside critical professional organizations, like legal, accounting and banking services, and government agencies that work closely together to help small businesses and high-growth businesses thrive in our region.

Who is an entrepreneur in our region? The myth is that only the young and college-educated are entrepreneurs. There are many entrepreneurs in the Bangor region that fit that profile, but entrepreneurship is so much more broad than that. We have:

• "encore-entrepreneurs" over 40 years old – often retired or starting a 2nd career.

• "trailing spouse" entrepreneurs

• New Mainer or Immigrant and "From Away" entrepreneurs

• "Coming Home" entrepreneurs.

• Farmers are entrepreneurs if you think about it.

Part-time – full-time – 1 person or 50-person businesses – they all count and they all matter – we want to support all who want to start and grow in Greater Bangor. If you are on your own and selling something – you are an entrepreneur.

If I have a new business idea, what are the critical questions I need to answer?

• Is there a demand for my product? Who are my customers?

• Do I want this to be a part-time/hobby business or make it full-time?

• How much in funding do I need to get started?

• Where can I learn more about all of these topics?

Join us at Blitz Bangor, Thursday, Nov. 14 – Downtown Bangor, www.blitzbangor.com – Bangor's premier conference for entrepreneurs to answer these questions and many more. We'd like to invite the entire Greater Bangor community to join us for a full-day entrepreneurship conference - Blitz Bangor on Thursday, November 14th. If you just have an idea on a napkin or been in business for over 20 years-everyone is invited to join us in downtown Bangor for sessions on finding customers, financing, business planning, and selling your business, among many others. Join us for one session or the whole day – the fee is minimal and scholarships are available for those in need. Find out more and register here: www.blitzbangor.com.

Blitz is partnering with the Maine Community Foundation for a pitch event on Nov. 13 at The Cross Insurance Center. All registered Blitz attendees are invited to join and see entrepreneurs talk about their businesses. This event features three very interesting businesses (KinoTek, True North Beauty, and Gert & Lil's) being built in Maine!

Also join Big Gig at Tea & Tarts tomorrow, October 22. There is also an exciting business 3-business pitch contest, called Big Gig, at Tea and Tarts downtown Bangor tomorrow, Tuesday, October 22 at 5:30. www.biggig.com

If I am starting out or wanting to expand my existing business, where can I get advice on next steps? Beyond Blitz Bangor, there are many low-cost or no-cost services out there for entrepreneurs in our region where you can meet advisors in person. We at MaineStream Finance and Scratchpad Accelerator represent just a few of those services. You certainly don't have to go it alone here!

• UpStart Maine, an eight-member association, including incubators/accelerators and business competitions, serving Greater Bangor's high-growth entrepreneurs, www.upstartmaine.org

• Business Resource Partners of Greater Bangor, a membership organization of six nonprofits supporting small businesses/'Main Street' businesses. https://www.facebook.com/pg/BRPforGreaterBangor

• Small Business Administration (SBA), SCORE and Small Business Development Centers: https://www.sba.gov/offices/district/me/augusta

• Greater Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce, www.bangorregion.com

• Local Cities and Towns – Economic Development Departments

o Bangor: www.bangormaine.gov/ced

o Brewer: brewermaine.gov/economic-development

o Orono: www.orono.org/199/Economic-Development

o Old Town: www.developoldtown.com