CARIBOU, Maine — Northern Maine Development Commission (NMDC) is offering just starting out entrepreneurs in Aroostook and Washington counties free tuition in the Top Gun Prep course from the Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development, but the deadline for submitting an application is rapidly approaching.
Top Gun Prep is a series of nine online classes that will cover products, business models and companies, innovation engineering for entrepreneurs, customer development, startup market research, entrepreneurial marketing, revenue streams and business model innovation, financials for entrepreneurs, financing your business and final pitch night to potential investors. There will also be networking opportunities and other assistance available to participants.
“Anyone with a true desire to own and operate their own business should apply,” said Duane Walton, NMDC business finance director. “Money to invest into your own business is not necessarily an issue since we will work hard to find someone to listen to your reasons for wanting to own and operate your own business based on a sound business model that you will be presenting.”
In addition to tuition, all books and materials will also be free.
Funding for the program was secured from USDA Rural Development and the Northern Border Regional Commission. Last year the entrepreneur project was launched in the Caribou area as a pilot and this year has expanded to cover both Aroostook and Washington counties.
“Sound business planning and financing options are extremely important to startup businesses,” said Jennifer Peters, Sunrise County Economic Council (SCEC) assistant director. “SCEC is happy to help make this opportunity available for Washington County entrepreneurs.”
“Entrepreneurs are very important to both counties especially when we consider that it is difficult in the economic climate to keep people of all ages needing to work to stay in our communities,” added Walton. “We need to have those that have been successful to help those that have the spirit to also be an asset to the community and build it back to what it was or could be.”
Walton is hopeful this program may convince some, who long to return home, to do so.
“In addition to being open to anyone, I really hope this will also entice some people to take a second look at their hometown and invest their time and come back and have a good life which we offer here,” he said.
There is a $25 application fee, which will be refunded at the successful completion of the course. Applications can be found on the NMDC website, www.nmdc.org or by contacting Walton at 498-8736 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Applications are also available from Peters at SCEC, 255-0983 or email@example.com. Acceptance into the program will be determined after a review of the applications.
The application deadline is May 24 and the start day for the Top Gun Prep course is June 4.
More information about the course is available at www.mced.biz/programs-services/top-gun-program.