Signature Programs

Courses and Cohorts

The CEI Women’s Business Center offers a variety of courses, cohorts, workshops and events: all geared towards aspiring entrepreneurs and business owners.  Learn more about signature programs and how they can help you and your business thrive!

For a full list of our event offerings and to register for upcoming events, click here.

Propeller I

This 6-week program guides a group of 8-10 women in researching, testing, and developing their tech-based  start-up idea. In 2-hour sessions facilitated by software designer Nick Rimsa and WBC program developer, participants determine a problem that needs to be solved, develop interview questions for potential customers, and begin to develop a minimum viable product. In addition to group meetings, participants have weekly 1:1 check-ins with the program facilitator to receive guidance and set goals. 

Who can participate? Maine women of all ages and abilities. In guiding the development of their own start-up projects, we seek to provide aspiring female entrepreneurs with an introduction to customer research and product development. 

In Propeller I, I found my distinct problem, the solution, and firmed up how to implement the solution. I also learned how to communicate with my customer, learn from my customer, and found a wonderful support group of crazy strong amazing women.

Caitlin House, Milk Bottle Cocktails

Click here to see when the next Propeller I Cohort starts

Propeller II

This 8-week program is designed for women who have participated in Propeller I and wish to take their tech start-up idea to the next level. Participants meet weekly for 1-hour group workshops, as well as optional weekly 1:1 time with program facilitator Nick Rimsa to assist them in moving forward with their start-up goals. The primary objectives of Propeller II include: 

  • Find 5 paying customers
  • Write an abbreviated business plan
  • Legally formalize your business 
  • Develop an online presence

This program is limited to 6 participants to ensure more personalized learning. 

Who can participate? Alumnae of Propeller I

Propeller II kept me focused on moving ahead on my project. Some weeks I didn’t have as much time to work on the business, but knowing I had a meeting every week kept me thinking about next steps and actually taking them. I also liked meeting new people and the classmates felt like friends and co-founders after only one session.

Heather Kenvin, Cardigan Associates

Click here to see when the next Propeller II Cohort starts


This program guides a group of 8-10 female business owners through ten facilitated sessions focusing on business and personal growth. Each session offers entrepreneurs the opportunity to share a current business challenge and brainstorm solutions with their peers. Participants also engage in facilitated discussions on personal development topics, including goal setting, time management, prioritizing, and more. In addition to group meetings, participants are paired with an accountability partner to connect with between sessions. 

FocusME is led by entrepreneur and professional facilitator Leigh Tillman. Each cohort meets for six consecutive weeks, and continues with four bi-weekly meetings. FocusME is intended for entrepreneurs currently in business. 

Who can participate? Maine women who are currently in business

I am so grateful to have had you as our guide once again.  Our group’s weekly refuge reassured and served and as a safe, forgiving place to dream and both give and receive friendship in a tangible way. This would be a gift at any moment but felt like a lifeline especially during this especially challenging time. My business would not be where it is today had I not signed up for our course. I knew it would force me to create necessary change and provide the gentle accountability to push myself.

Suzi Pond, Red Bird Media Group 

Click here to see when the next FocusME Cohort starts


This 8-week cohort-based program supports female entrepreneurs in becoming more persuasive and effective communicators. In 2-hour sessions facilitated by female entrepreneur and public speaker Hazel Stark, participants practice delivering planned speeches, providing and giving feedback, initiating difficult conversations, and improvising.

Participants develop their own personal style by deepening their understanding of persuasive tools, and practicing storytelling through a range of speaking scenarios. Spokeswomen cohorts are capped at 8 participants in order to allow for ample speaking opportunities in the allotted two-hour meeting window. The course culminates with a virtual speaking event, at which each participant will presents a final pitch or speech to a small audience of peers and WBC business advisors.

Who can participate? Maine female entrepreneurs who are currently in business

“Hazel was absolutely amazing! She provided a clear structure for assignments and flow during meetings, as well as being key with detailed feedback for each of us. This was a wonderful experience, and I hope to work with Hazel again.”

Spokeswomen participant, Summer ‘21

Click here to see when the next Spokeswomen Cohort starts

Self-Worth Club

In this 8-week program with Hannah Curtis, LCSW and founder of New Approaches, a group of 8-12 participants build a stronger foundation of self-worth through 1-hour facilitated discussions. In a supportive group setting, participants learn strategies to feel more confident in themselves and their decisions. This group aims to help women understand they’re not alone, and give them actionable, concrete ways to reclaim their own self-worth as an individual and as a business owner. 

Who can participate? Maine female entrepreneurs who are currently in business

Click here to see when the next Self-Worth Club Cohort starts

Boundaries for a Thriving Business

In this 6-week cohort lead by Hannah Curtis, LCSW and founder of New Approaches, a group of 8-12 participants learn to say no, set limits, prioritize work, and build and grow a business that works for them through structured discussions and skills-building instruction. 

Many female business owners find that they are repeatedly asked to do unpaid work, work that is not within their skill set, or work that leaves them tired and at risk of burnout. However, running a business is not inherently draining — especially when you have the tools to set healthy boundaries. This group aims to help women business owners across Maine help each other work on building boundaries to sustain their businesses together. 

Who can participate? Maine female entrepreneurs who are currently in business. 

Click here to see when the next Boundaries Cohort starts

|| CEI Women’s Business Center – Southwest || CEI Women’s Business Center – South || CEI Women’s Business Center – Northeast ||

Funded in part through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. Reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities will be made if requested at least two weeks in advance. Interpretation is available upon request.