Machias Valley Center for Entrepreneurship, a program of Sunrise County Economic Council, was recently awarded a Rural Business Development Grant from USDA in the amount of $99,900 as part of a $539,053 investment in seven Maine organizations aimed at helping create and retain jobs and benefitting rural businesses.

This significant investment in Washington County will provide members of Machias Valley Center for Entrepreneurship with the professional furniture and shared office equipment needed to conduct their business operations conveniently and comfortably in the new coworking space.

The purpose of the Entrepreneurship Program at SCEC and the Machias Valley Center for Entrepreneurship is to build, support, and connect the small business community of Washington County.

SCEC’s Entrepreneurship Program Director, Denise Cilley, states, “This level of support from USDA allows us to outfit the Center post-construction and provide members with premier workspaces and shared office equipment, offering them multi-use areas to do their best work.”

In addition to regular business training, virtual and in-person educational programs, coaching sessions, and events, the Entrepreneurial Center will offer a vibrant physical space in downtown Machias with a variety of private and shared work and meeting spaces, open coworking areas, shared office equipment, and a kitchen area.

“Small businesses and entrepreneurs are the heart of the Washington County economy and where there is the most untapped potential,” states Charles Rudelitch, SCEC’s executive director. “This investment from USDA will support our neighbors as they grow their businesses and create more opportunities for everyone who lives and works in our communities.”

With the Rural Business Development Grant from USDA, SCEC is one step closer towards the realization of the Machias Valley Center for Entrepreneurship.

The current structure at 19 Main Street, Machias, known as the Nash Building, is undergoing a hazardous substance assessment, funded through the Washington County Brownfields Program. The demolition phase of the project is slated to occur this winter with construction beginning in spring 2022.

Businesses and individuals can make capital campaign gifts by pledging at http://www.machiasvalleycenter.org.