Inside CEI: Ruth Cash-Smith, Certified Business Advisor

Ruth Cash-Smith, Certified Business Advisor, CEI Women's Business Center

Ruth Cash-Smith, Certified Business Advisor, CEI Women’s Business Center

For over 20 years Ruth has designed and delivered training and workshops, focusing on business communications, marketing, planning, administration, and counseling. At CEI she provides free and confidential individual business counseling and training on a full range of business issues, facilitates access to capital, establishes networking opportunities, and coordinates with other area service providers. In 2010 the U. S. Small Business Administration named Ruth the Women in Business Champion in both Maine and in New England. Other awards include the 2012 Champion for Women Award in Washington County from The Commons Eastport, LLC, and the Sunrise County Economic Council Partner of the Year Award in 2009. She received a B.S. from Western Connecticut State College, and a Master of Intercultural/Interpersonal Communication from Fairfield University.

You’re working in one of CEI’s most rural locations. What are some of the economic development challenges and opportunities you see that are distinct to the Downeast region of Maine?
Access to high-speed internet is crucial, especially given how much businesses depend on technology to bridge geographical barriers. Access to necessary capital is also a key factor. Downeast opportunities include a long-standing culture of small business owners who are independent, hard-working and resilient, and possess a deep pride in delivering quality products or services.

As a business counselor in rural Maine, what are some of the most common questions you get from perspective business owners?
I get a wide variety of questions covering many subjects, but the most common, asked by virtually every business owner are:

-Is my idea going to work?
-Where can I get the money I need to start or grow my business?
-Why aren’t there more grants?
-What rules and regulations do I have to follow?

What’s a typical day like for you at CEI?
One of the things I like best about my job is there is no typical day. I may be tromping around a field at a goat farm or down at the breakwater discussing costs for a new wheelhouse for a lobster boat. Then again, I may be in the office showing clients where to find the answers and resources they need to start an organic skin care company, buy a seafood processing plant, or increase market share for an award-winning gourmet chocolate line. It’s so easy to be a champion for small businesses Downeast because they are run by some of the coolest and most creative people I have ever met.