Forum aims to aid potential entrepreneurs

Posted April 09, 2010, at 8:06 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 30, 2011, at 11:31 a.m.

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — The Presque Isle Downtown Revitalization Committee is planning an event to help prospective business owners navigate the difficulties of finding a location, negotiating a lease and securing the necessary permits to start an enterprise.

On Monday, April 19, the committee will host a “Get Down to Business in Presque Isle” evening at Cafe Sorpreso, 415 Main St.

Targeted toward prospective business owners, it will provide a chance to mingle with city representatives, downtown business owners, commercial lenders and business counselors. Potential entrepreneurs will have a chance to ask questions, gather information and access assistance to help them smoothly set up their own busi-ness and make it a success.

Starting a business is a complex process that not everyone understands, City Planner Jamie Francomano said Friday.

“This [forum] is a result of a survey we did of downtown business owners,” Francomano said Friday. “We asked them about doing business and about the constraints to doing business and what would be useful to them. We took that information and decided to have this gathering.”

He said the event would serve as a chance for potential business owners to make their needs known and ask questions about doing business in the city.

During the gathering, according to Francomano, city staffers will discuss opportunities and provide applications for the Presque Isle Development Fund loan program. Representatives from the planning and development department also will be on hand to answer questions about zoning, code enforcement and permitting.

New business owners will be able to share success stories, talk about mistakes they’ve made and offer tips. Commercial lenders will discuss opportunities to finance business startup or expansion. Business counselors also will be available to offer guidance, assistance and information on training and to help individuals assess the feasibility of their business idea and develop their business plan.

“We know that the process of opening a business can be confusing,” Francomano said. “And we’d like to make the process as easy and as clear as possible. One of the things that we would like to do after this session is to make a brochure to hand out to people that contains all of the information you need in order to start a busi-ness.”

The city planner stressed that this session is not just for potential and current business owners. Officials also are inviting landlords, lenders, lawyers, accountants and other providers of business services to give them a chance to meet new and existing business owners who may need their space or services.

The free session will run from 5:30 to 7 p.m.

For information or to RSVP, contact Francomano at 764-2504 or jfrancomano@presqueisleme.us.

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