December 15, 2018
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‘Top Gun’ program comes to Central Maine at Thomas College

Community Author: MacKenzie Riley Young
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MacKenzie Riley | BDN
MacKenzie Riley | BDN

WATERVILLE — The Harold Alfond Institute for Business Innovation at Thomas College, in partnership with the Central Maine Growth Council, is pleased to announce that it will host a “Top Gun” program starting in early 2019 for entrepreneurs in Kennebec and Somerset Counties, as well as in the communities of Burnham, Unity, Thorndike, Freedom and Troy, who are involved in agriculture and specialty food and beverage businesses.

The Top Gun program is overseen by the Maine Center for Entrepreneurs and is designed to provide a cohort of between eight to 10 businesses with top-level instruction and mentorship over a 15-week duration.  Entrepreneurs enrolled in the program will move through a designed curriculum that will bring industry and topic experts into the classroom weekly in order to assist participating individuals to take their businesses to the next level.

In addition to the weekly programming and mentoring that the program provides, participating entrepreneurs will also work toward developing a business pitch that they will first deliver in a competition within their cohort.  Two of the entrepreneur’s business pitches will be selected from each regional program to compete in the state Top Gun Showcase business pitch competition at the end of the program.

“We’re delighted to be a Top Gun partner and be able to deliver such a comprehensive program to those early startup businesses that not only have the ability to grow but to also create employment and wealth in our communities,” Mike Duguay, executive director of the Harold Alfond Institute for Business Innovation at Thomas College. “These are the businesses that will help create our new regional economy and I can’t think of a better way to help them get to that next level then by offering this program.”

Through grant assistance that the Maine Center for Entrepreneurs received from the Small Business Administration, along with sponsorship provided by the Harold Alfond Institute for Business Innovation, the program is provided to participating businesses for a low fee of $500.

Entrepreneurs that are within the geographic area, that are pursuing businesses in the agriculture and specialty food and beverage sectors, and that would like to take their business to the next level, should go to www.mced.biz to submit an application for selection into the program or www.thomas.edu/institute for more information.  Applications are being accepted until November 15, 2018.

For more information or for assistance in applying, interested entrepreneurs can contact Mike Duguay at the Harold Alfond Institute for Business Innovation at 207-859-1151 or at duguaym@thomas.edu.

About Thomas College: Celebrating its 125th anniversary, Thomas College offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in programs ranging from business, entrepreneurship, and technology, to education, criminal justice, and psychology. Its Guaranteed Job Program, the first of its kind in the nation, is built on students’ academic, career, and leadership preparation. Thomas is also home to the Harold Alfond Institute for Business Innovation and the Center for Innovation in Education. Money Magazine recently ranked Thomas 23rd  in the country for adding the most value to their degrees, and data reported by the New York Times ranks Thomas in the top 15 percent of all college and universities in the U.S. for upward mobility of its graduates. For more information, visit www.thomas.edu or contact MacKenzie Riley Young at rileym@thomas.edu or 207-859-1313.