Sunrise County Economic Council announces the conclusion of its Capital Campaign and expresses much gratitude for the strong community support. The campaign exceeded its goal with $1.28 million in received and pledged contributions. Additional pledges from individuals and a $243,000 contribution from Libra Foundation helped SCEC surpass its $1.055 million goal, set to cover the cost to construct and launch the new center.
“Washington County is known for its hardworking and entrepreneurial spirit, and this new building will now provide a vital and very visible gathering space for business owners, students, entrepreneurs and others who are focused on building business in our region and beyond,” said Larry Barker, CEO of Machias Savings Bank, who serves as campaign chair for the new facility.
“We are proud to support what will undoubtedly be an invaluable resource to members of the region and the entire State. This type of endeavor aligns with our mission to strive for innovative ways to enrich Maine, empower communities, and enhance the quality of life of all Maine citizens,” said Craig Denekas, chairman and chief executive officer of the Libra Foundation.
Since 2020, SCEC’s Entrepreneurship Program has reached and connected over 300 individuals, 125 businesses, and 45 partner organizations across Washington County and beyond. “Working with community members to build collaborative learning experiences and meaningful connections in a virtual world has broken down regional and interstate relational barriers. This has been a major highlight and timely lifeline during an otherwise challenging time for many of our small businesses,” states Denise Cilley, SCEC’s entrepreneurship program director.
Throughout continued conversations with community members, coaching, and program cohort interactions, it became clear that the name of the eventual business development and coworking space, previously Machias Valley Center for Entrepreneurship, should be revisited. A group of project leaders and community members brainstormed and consulted for several weeks, and a new name emerged: MaineStreet Business Building — a name that is more inclusive of existing businesses that want to grow, start-up entrepreneurs, business students, and other community members across Washington County that will have the opportunity to benefit from and support this space. This new name also acknowledges the statewide reach SCEC’s collaborative business programs have achieved in an effort to connect Washington County entrepreneurs, innovators, and small business owners with the resources and learning opportunities they need, when they need them.
Building a brighter future through helping businesses start up, grow, and thrive is at the core of SCEC’s Entrepreneurship Program and MaineStreet Business Building explains what the new small business hub will be, why it exists, and what it will do.
“Thousands of Washington County residents provide for themselves and their families through their small businesses. It is the most dynamic part of our economy, and the area where there is greatest potential for growth. The MaineStreet Business Building will be an important asset for our small business owners, and we are thankful to the community and donors like the Libra Foundation for making it possible,” said Charles Rudelitch, SCEC’s executive director.
According to Bill Kitchen, Machias town manager, “There is an explosion of business opportunity unprecedented in generations, here in Machias and across the Bold Coast, for both existing products and services, and for new products and services. From start-ups to already-in-business businesses looking to scale, and from trades to hospitality to tech, this real-world resource will support that growth, and in turn build a more vibrant and growing community, which in turn creates more opportunity. It’s a market-driven circle of success.”
Construction of MaineStreet Business Building is slated to begin Spring of 2022 and will continue until the Building is ready to open. Upon opening, members will have access to open co-working and designated desk workspaces, furnished private office and meeting options, a large conference room, relaxation zones and river view patios, shared office equipment and kitchen amenities, as well as on-site technical assistance and networking and professional development events.
To stay up to date on progress, get involved, or learn more about leasing office or desk space, visit MaineStreetBusiness.org or follow MaineStreet Business Building on Facebook and LinkedIn.