In November 2016, PROPEL, CEI, Fork Food Lab, Maine Access Immigrant Network, and the Maine Public Health Association collaborated to co-host a promotional Taste the World event to bring together the increasingly diverse Greater Portland community over a shared love of food. The success of that event led to the development of the New Mainer Culinary Entrepreneur Program, which supports immigrant and refugee entrepreneurs in the culinary field in Maine through a multi-pronged approach.
This approach includes promotion at regular Taste the World community building events, and the provision of the New Mainer Culinary Entrepreneur Scholarship that covers the cost of a three month membership at Fork Food Lab, ServeSafe Certification, Department of Agriculture License, and insurance for one year. It also includes business support from CEI’s Start Smart program, a program that offers free, confidential business counseling for New Americans starting or expanding a business in Maine. Last year, CEI client Niyat Catering was the recipient of the scholarship.
This year the ticketed Taste the World event sold out, and Machias Savings Bank made a matching donation of $1,200 to support the next recipient of Propel’s New Mainer Entrepreneur Scholarship.