Good Morning. This is State Senator Linda Valentino from Saco. I am also the co-chair of the Legislature’s special workforce committee.
Earlier this week, the workforce committee, whose mission is to help develop and grow Maine’s workforce and small businesses, heard from a panel of local and national entrepreneurship experts.
We heard from Josh Davis, the founder of Gelato Fiasco.
Inspired by the best gelato in Italy, Josh and his business partner decided to open their own gelato shop where they would follow the Italian practice of making gelato from scratch every day. Thanks in part to a loan from the Small Business Administration, they opened their first store six years ago in Brunswick. Today, they have a second store in Maine, and more than 100 locations across New England sell their gelato.
Josh told us that he couldn’t be happier that he is doing what he loves, where he loves it—in his home state of Maine!
We also heard from Heather Sanborn, a co-owner of Rising Tide Brewing Company. She had a thriving law practice in Boston, but returned home to Maine to follow her and her husband’s dream. Now, three years later, the company is rapidly expanding, and distributes beer in four states in New England.
We heard similar success stories from Josh Broder of Tilson Technology and Kirby Pilcher of Artel.
A common thread for their success, was due in part, to a public-private partnership where they got help accessing capital and business counseling.
It’s exciting to hear from entrepreneurs in Maine—both the people who are just beginning to make their dreams become a reality, and the people who have been building their businesses for many years, and are now ready to take their ideas to the next level.
Mainers, by our very nature, are creative, self-sufficient, and hard working. These are precisely the foundational characteristics for a successful business. We need to figure out how to better support industrious Mainers so they can be successful.
We know that growing a business creates jobs and strengthens our economy.
The State of Maine has a role to play in fostering the development of small businesses and entrepreneurs.
And so, the next question is: what can we do to help?
Small businesses are telling us that access to capital and strong mentoring can help them leap forward.
Maine has the opportunity to jumpstart business growth through a small business development bond to support entrepreneurship.
Smart investments in our innovation economy are crucial for our state’s prosperity.
Earlier this week, the voters of Maine agreed. They supported $35 million to help our universities and community colleges expand and upgrade their facilities—to equip our next generation of workers with the knowledge of today, and for tomorrow, so we can keep them here in Maine.
Like the Gelato Fiasco’s motto of “Inspired by Italy. Perfected in Maine,” let’s give opportunity for the next big idea to be perfected in Maine.
Thank you for listening. This is State Senator Linda Valentino of Saco. Have a great weekend—and please take a moment to remember the work and sacrifice of our service men and women on Monday, Veteran’s Day.
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