CEI and Giraffe Events promote Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access at the I.D.E.A. Pavilion, March 11-13th at the Portland Sports Complex
Media contact: Leah Thibault, Director of Marketing and Communications at CEI firstname.lastname@example.org.
(PORTLAND, ME – MARCH 6, 2023) The I.D.E.A. Pavilion Initiative – where I.D.E.A. stands for Inclusive, Diverse, Equitable, Accessible – will provide new and existing female entrepreneurs of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds a platform to connect with retailers by showcasing and marketing their products at the New England Made Giftware & Specialty Food Show, which will take place March 11-13 in Portland.
Participants in the initiative receive training and coaching from the CEI Women’s Business Center on how to develop wholesale accounts. Once they demonstrate scalability, they may enroll in the show at no cost at the I.D.E.A. Pavilion.
The featured businesses at the I.D.E.A. Pavilion this year are:
Studio Choo 11. Studio Choo 11 offers conversation-sparking jewelry handcrafted at owner Kira Sangsap’s home studio in Scarborough. Kira honed her design skills in fashion design in her home country of Thailand, before discovering polymer clay and falling in love with its jewelry-making potential. Kira returns for her second stint at the I.D.E.A. Pavilion, after showing in Spring 2022. (www.choo11.com)
Tealight Studios. Tealight studios creates whimsical & timeless accessories for the modern pet, including bowties and bandanas with distinctly Maine vibe. Born to immigrant parents, owner Selina Chan grew up in Greater Portland where she discovered her creative talents. She turned her hobby to a side gig, and it grew to become a full-time business selling pet accessories. Selina is also an I.D.E.A. Pavilion returnee, having previously participated in Spring 2022. (https://www.etsy.com/shop/tealightstudios/)
Mumbai to MAINE. Mumbai to MAINE is Maine’s first Indian-inspired culinary brand. Born in Mumbai, founder Cherie Scott has called Maine home for over a decade but struggled to find comforting home-style Indian food at the grocery stores that matched her expectations. Based on her family’s recipes, she launched the line of Mumbai to MAINE simmer sauces in Boothbay. This is her first I.D.E.A. Pavilion showcase. (https://mumbaitomaine.com/)
She Anoints with Love. Founded in 2021, owner Jessica Gil creates handcrafted aromatherapy jewelry and anointing oils in Gray, Maine. Jessica’s products promote meaningful self-care with clean and natural ingredients. This is her first I.D.E.A. Pavilion showcase. (https://sheanointswithlove.com/ )
“It’s been a privilege to work with these talented women who create beautifully crafted products right here in Maine. They are at the growth stage of their businesses and are poised to scale,” said Grace Mo-Phillips, Program Director, CEI Women’s Business Center South. “The New England Made Show provides an ideal platform for these artisans to develop business opportunities through the wholesale channel. With the support from the producer of the Show, the I.D.E.A. Pavilion will have an impactful presence at the Portland event. We are excited to celebrate women, who are from racially and ethnically diverse backgrounds, for their contributions to the Maine economy.”
The I.D.E.A. Pavilion Initiative was launched by the CEI Women’s Business Center in 2022 in collaboration with Giraffe Events, the producer of the New England Made Giftware & Specialty Food Shows, to support up-and-coming businesses owned by women of color to explore opportunities in wholesaling.
People of color make up eight percent of Maine population. According to SBA Office of Advocacy, 2022 Small Business Profile, 40% of Maine Businesses are owned by women. Meanwhile, business ownership by people of color, regardless of gender, is merely 3%. It is estimated that businesses owned by women of color is 1% of all Maine businesses. The goal of the I.D.E.A. Pavilion initiative is to provide equitable and inclusive entrepreneurial development opportunities by connecting female artisans of diverse backgrounds with regional retailers to boost wholesale distribution of their products.
About the CEI Women’s Business Centers
Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI) hosts three Women’s Business Centers in Portland, Machias and Farmington that provide cohort-based courses, group trainings and one-on-one advising to female entrepreneurs across the state. The CEI Women’s Business Centers work to understand the challenges that disproportionately effect female entrepreneurs and provide resources to help address those challenges in alignment with CEI’s mission to build a just, vibrant and climate-resilient future for people and communities in Maine and rural regions by integrating finance, business expertise and policy solutions in ways that make the economy work more equitably.
The CEI Women’s Business Centers are 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 and interpretation is available upon request.
CEI aligns with the definition of women and female that explicitly includes not only cis women, but also trans women and femme/feminine-identifying genderqueer and non-binary individuals.
More at www.ceimaine.org/women.