Our Katahdin Partners with CEI to Launch Baxter Business Works

10 Business Owners Make up Entrepreneurship Class in Katahdin Region

Millinocket, Maine – In an effort to encourage and equip small business owners in the Katahdin region for success, Our Katahdin and CEI have partnered to launch Baxter Business Works, a six-week entrepreneurship class.

The first ten participants represent eight small businesses in the area:

  • Randy Jackson, manager of Hill Crest Golf Club, a nine-hole course in Millinocket
  • Roger and Sarah Buzby, owners of Mainely Coffee, a small-batch coffee roaster in Millinocket
  • Joy McEwen, owner of Spirit of Katahdin Artistry, and Great Northern Greenhouse in Millinocket
  • Lindsey Downing, owner of Mt. Chase Lodge, a year-round, lodging and food experience in Upper Shin Pond
  • Rick “Smiley” Allen, owner of The Sugar Shack, a maple syrup producer and retailer in Millinocket
  • Canaan York, owner of Katahdin Collectibles, a gift shop in East Millinocket
  • Jeff Brooks, owner of Brooks Equipment Service, an excavator service and repair shop in Island Falls
  • Paul and Rebecca Dorobis, owners of Rebecca Mail, a subscription gift box service.

With a curriculum developed by Maine Center for Entrepreneurs, funding from KeyBank and collaboration with MaineStream Finance and Eastern Maine Development Corporation, participants are learning business skills to fuel growth that span financing, operations, and marketing, with topics including customer discovery, branding, how to tell their stories, legal basics, culture and HR and more.

“There is a lot of optimism across the Katahdin region, driven in large part by all the work these diverse small business owners are doing,” said Jennifer Sporzynski, senior vice president for business and workforce development at CEI. “The excitement is infectious. There is such a strong commitment to place and investing in the growth and success of the people who live here.”

Named after nearby Baxter State Park, Baxter Business Works fits the missions of the organizing partners. Our Katahdin is a volunteer driven nonprofit organization working to promote community and economic development in the Katahdin region and relies on the expertise of experienced, expert partners. CEI provides a mix of technical knowledge, financing and policy to rural communities that combine to build local economies that work for everyone.

Classes through Baxter Business Works run through April. For more information:

About CEI

Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI) helps to grow good jobs, environmentally sustainable enterprises and shared prosperity in Maine and in rural regions across the country by integrating financing, business and industry expertise, and policy solutions. CEI envisions a world in which communities are economically and environmentally healthy, enabling all people, especially those with low incomes, to reach their full potential. More at www.ceimaine.org

About Our Katahdin

Our Katahdin uses a combination of community ownership, natural resources and emerging digital technologies to create platforms, infrastructure and connections that build on local competitive advantages to spur economic and community development. In the wake of regional paper industry collapse, we started with “small wins” and have scaled to community-driven downtown revitalization and mill site redevelopment.