Beal College to launch entrepreneurship program in hopes of sparking more Maine startups

Gov. Paul LePage speaks to a packed room at Beal College about the college's new business concentrations and local entrepreneur initiative on Friday.
Kevin Bennett | BDN
Gov. Paul LePage speaks to a packed room at Beal College about the college's new business concentrations and local entrepreneur initiative on Friday. Buy Photo
By Nick McCrea, BDN Staff
Posted Dec. 06, 2013, at 4:35 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — Beal College unveiled on Friday a series of programs that college officials believe could spark new businesses in Bangor and beyond.

The school is preparing to launch three new concentrations for its business management associate degree program: business administration, marketing and sales and entrepreneurship.

Maine Gov. Paul LePage and Seth Goodall, regional administrator for the Small Business Administration, joined college officials during a Friday news conference announcing the new programs.

“In our information-rich society, we’ve all become accustomed to teaching ourselves,” Goodall said. “However, nothing beats the hands-on, targeted education that Beal offers. And its new concentration in business management will open many doors to the exciting world of entrepreneurship.”

LePage said the reformed Beal offerings would allow aspiring business leaders to get the background in business basics, such as building a business plan and marketing your products, that become more and more important as a business grows.

The school says it won’t need to bring in additional faculty to start, but if the program proves popular, there could be need for growth. Beal is a small school of about 500 students, and only 50 are enrolled in the business management program, according to Erin Leighton, director of admissions. Other programs, such as those in the medical field, tend to draw larger share of the school’s students.

As part of the entrepreneurship concentration, Beal College will start an Entrepreneur of the Month program in which local business owners will come in and tell students about their experiences in starting up a business. Those entrepreneurs will assign a project to the class and follow up with input at the end of the month. Topics will range from social media marketing to market research and logo design, according to the school.

Area businesses signed up to participate in the entrepreneur of the month initiative include Sutherland Weston Marketing Communications, Valentine Footwear, Central Street Farmhouse, KahBang, Penobscot Bay Brewery and Ski Rack Sports, among others.

The college, with a mean attendance age of 27, draws a large population of nontraditional students looking to make a career switch, according to Allen Stehle, college president. Sometimes that new career is one they want to make for themselves by starting their own business.

Stehle said he believes many of the students who complete the program will aim to set up shop in Bangor’s surrounding communities. Entrepreneurs stepping in to start companies is “how the recession ends and prosperity begins,” he added.

CORRECTION:

A previous version of this story erroneously referred to the Small Business Alliance. The agency is the Small Business Administration.

http://bangordailynews.com/2013/12/06/business/beal-college-to-launch-entrepreneurship-program-in-hopes-of-sparking-more-maine-upstarts/ printed on September 16, 2014