Maine’s Small Business Advocate to Speak at Winthrop Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce

Posted April 23, 2013, at 8:10 a.m.
Last modified April 23, 2013, at 10:24 a.m.

Thursday, May 2, 2013 7:15 a.m. to 7:15 a.m.

Location: Winthrop Area Federal Credit Union, 94 Highland Avenue (Intersection of Route 202 and Highland Avenue), Winthrop, Maine

For more information: Winthrop Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce; 207-377-8020;

The Winthrop Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce breakfast meeting on Thursday, May 2, will feature Peggy Schaffer, Maine’s Small Business Advocate. Schaffer became Maine’s second Small Business Advocate in January 2013.

A newly created position that is unique in the state, the Maine Small Business Advocate was established in 2011 and modeled on the Small Business Advocate’s position within the US Small Business Administration. As an appointee of Maine’s Secretary of State, the Small Business Advocate serves as an independent, accountable, and appropriate check on the state’s efforts to regulate Maine businesses. The Small Business Advocate staffs the Regulatory Fairness Board, which is chaired the Secretary of State, hears testimony, and reports to the Legislature and the Governor on regulatory and statutory changes necessary to enhance the state’s business climate. The Advocate also comments on rules and testifies on legislation affecting the interests of Maine’s small businesses.

Since the beginning of the year when she assumed the role of Small Business Advocate, Schaffer has been an independent resource, helping members of the small business community successfully navigate the state’s regulatory structure for businesses.

“Maine has a comprehensive small business support system to help companies start up and grow,” says Schaffer. “This position gives small businesses additional support to help them navigate what can sometimes be a confusing morass of regulations that impact their businesses.”

Schaffer brings a strong understanding of business development, advocacy, and the regulatory and legislative process to the position of Small Business Advocate. She previously served as chief of staff for former Senate President Libby Mitchell, and handled the Senate end of the Legislature, as well as state budget and public policy development, constituent work, press relations, and legislative research. Prior to that, she functioned as legislative liaison/policy coordinator at the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD), where she helped to develop and implemented many of DECD’s key economic initiatives under both the King and Baldacci administrations. She was part of the team that created Maine’s research and development infrastructure, including Maine Technology Institute, the small business technology incubators, and the Maine Technology Asset Fund.

Schaffer lives in Vassalboro with her husband, Clough Toppan, who runs a small consulting company specializing in energy efficiency, and her dog, Diamond, who is a champion squirrel hunter. Skiing, biking, kayaking, gardening and generally enjoying the great state of Maine occupies most of their spare time.

The cost of the breakfast meeting is $5 per person, to be paid at the door. A light breakfast will be provided beginning at 7:15 am and the meeting will start at 7:30 am and end promptly at 8:30 am. The breakfast meeting is open to the public. No reservations are required.