Microentrepreneurs Meet With Governor To Discuss Business Challenges In Rural Maine
It’s been said that small business is the driving force in Maine’s economy. So to is the fast growing world of micro businesses, companies with five or fewer employees.Tuesday, a group of microentrepreneurs met with the governor to talk about the challenges they face here in Maine.According to state statistics, there’s more than 130,000 micro-businesses in Maine employing more than 170,000 people. In Piscataquis County, 25 percent of the workforce works for a microbusiness. That includes folks like Nicole Snow, owner of Darn Good Yarn, who runs her business from her home in Sebec.”I’m in the middle of nowhere. So I thought there’s really an opportunity of keeping my business in my house. And just loving the way Maine life is. I mean on my lunch breaks I go out paddle boarding. I live right on Sebec Lake,” Snow said after her meeting with Governor LePage.Snow sells yarn all over the world made from products that were thrown away in countries like India.”Last year my business saved over 10,000 pounds of waste from going into landfills and we turned it into yarn.”She was just one of the micro-entrepreneurs who met with the governor and members of his team to discuss the challenges of owning a business in rural Maine.”I was telling some of these folks, their websites looked very professional. One of them has an international business and she’s in Dover-Foxcroft. And she ran it out of her house until 3 months ago,” said Mark Delisle, State Director for the Maine Small Business Development Center.Because of their location, these business owners are sometimes left in the dark when it comes to government programs designed to help them. Tuesday was about finding solutions, like bringing state run motor homes to these small towns to keep these folks informed.”I don’t even have an internet café. We don’t even have a place to go for coffee where I live,” Snow said. “To have that in these communities would pretty much be a one-stop shop. If I want to start a business and there’s grants available I’ll know about this from this state run motor home.” Improving and expanding internet services to rural areas who still don’t have it is another priority.After the meeting state officials say they’re going to make a concerted effort to keep these businesses in the loop and hopefully help them grow and stay right where they are.”If every microbusiness in Maine employed one or two more people that would add well over 300,000 people and new jobs in Maine. There’s nothing wrong with that,” said George Gervais, head of the Department of Economic and Community Development.