AROOSTOOK COUNTY — LEADers Encouraging Aroostook Development (LEAD) and Momentum Aroostook, in conjunction with the four institutions of higher education in the region, are pleased to announce nominations are being accepted for Aroostook’s Entrepreneur – 2014 Award, giving recognition to progressive business founders/owners/operators in northern Maine. The theme for this year’s contest is “Resources: The Idea Starts Here.”
“Resources speaks to the very fabric of Aroostook County in so many ways and on so many levels,” said LEAD Executive Director Ryan Pelletier. “Whether these are our natural resources, our economic assets, or our human workforce, Aroostook is rich with resources and rich with ideas. These entrepreneurs that we will recognize embody the spirit of these resources and the success of their businesses is a result of the resources and ideas that take root in The County.”
In conjunction with National Entrepreneurship Week, a search is being launched for Aroostook’s outstanding entrepreneur, for individuals who own, operate, or are involved in a partnership within northern Maine and who inspire others with their vision, leadership and achievement.
“Together with the four supporting educational institutions, this nomination process and competition is intended to highlight the ideas and talents of entrepreneurs throughout Aroostook County,” said LEAD President Jim Davis. “These are the folks and their businesses who identify a product or a need and say to themselves ‘I can do that’ or ‘I can do that better.’ This is where our economy, nationally and across the State, achieves growth in employment, wages and spin-off economic benefit to the surrounding communities.”
The Aroostook’s Entrepreneur – 2014 Award will be given to a business leader who demonstrates excellence and extraordinary success in such areas as innovation and personal commitment to their business and community. The nominees will be recognized and the winner will receive a plaque and a check for $500 at a special recognition dinner later this spring co-hosted by LEAD and Momentum Aroostook.
“Momentum Aroostook is pleased to be partnering again with LEAD and collaborating with the area’s higher education institutions on this effort to recognize local businessmen and women and showcase the exciting ventures they have undertaken in our region,” said Momentum Aroostook Chairwoman Amy Bouchard. “The Entrepreneur of the Year Award encourages, recognizes, and celebrates innovative and dedicated individuals and businesses in our community. These amazing entrepreneurs create an environment to retain and attract young professionals to our community and directly and positively impact our economy.”
“This is an opportunity to highlight some our most creative and successful businesses. It also sets a wonderful example for people considering starting their own business,” according to Northern Maine Community College President Timothy Crowley. “It is important for The County to celebrate and recognize good work; this award gives us a chance to showcase some of our best.”
Nominations must be received by April 4, 2014. There is no fee for nominations and self-nominations are encouraged. Previous nominees are eligible to be nominated again. LEAD and Momentum Aroostook members and their relatives are eligible to participate; teachers are urged to nominate students who have developed a successful business. Program details and a nomination form are available for download at www.leadaroostook.com. To be eligible for consideration, nominees must be the founder, owner, or manager of a private or public company; be primarily responsible for the recent performance of the company or organization; and be an active member of top management. The company or organization must have been in operation at least one year.
A panel of seven judges, one representing each of the sponsors, LEAD and Momentum Aroostook, and the supporting organizations, Husson University, Northern Maine Community College, the University of Maine at Fort Kent and the University of Maine at Presque Isle and last year’s winner will select the 2014 honoree.
Entrepreneurship plays a vital role in the growth of the U.S. economy. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, small businesses provide 55 percent of all jobs and 66 percent of all net new jobs since the 1970s.
“Small business is the backbone of our rural economy and this is a small way of our organization paying tribute to the sacrifices and successes that these leaders endure,” added Pelletier.
This is the fifth time LEAD and Momentum Aroostook have sponsored the “Entrepreneur of the Year” competition. Previous winners include David Harbison of Bison Pumps in Houlton, Matt Bell of Northeast Pellets in Ashland, Northern Maine Distilling’s Jessica Jewell and Scott Galbiati and Troy Haney of Haney Building Specialties in Caribou.
For more information about the initiative, contact LEAD Executive Director Ryan Pelletier at 498-8736 or firstname.lastname@example.org.