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Aroostook Partnership seeks entrepreneurs for annual competition

AROOSTOOK COUNTY, Maine — The Aroostook Entrepreneur of the Year competition is back for 2019 and the nominations are now open.

The Aroostook’s Entrepreneur – 2019 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.

Aroostook Partnership President Paul Towle said the competition is a way to promote business startups and expansions, as well as highlight successful business people in the region.

“We need to expand the number of businesses we have in the region to help the existing businesses and one way of doing that is to promote entrepreneurship,” said Towle. “We want to take time to recognize the people that took the risk to create the businesses which contribute to our economy.”

A panel of eight judges, one from each of 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 four business representatives will select the finalists and ultimate winner.

Nominations must be received by April 19, 2019 at 2 p.m. There is no fee for nominations and self-nominations are encouraged. Previous nominees are eligible to be nominated again. Program details and a nomination form are available for download at www.aroostookpartnership.org.

To be eligible for consideration, nominees must be the founder, owner, or manager of a private or non-profit company; be primarily responsible for the recent performance of the company or organization; and be an active member of top management.

The nominees will be recognized, and the winner will receive a plaque and a check for $1,000 at a special recognition dinner tentatively set for the end of May at Northern Maine Community College. Second and third runners up will receive $500 and $250, respectively.

Entrepreneurship plays a vital role in the growth of the U.S. economy. Per the Small Business Administration, small businesses provide 47.5 percent of all private-sector jobs in the United States.

This is the 10th time the Entrepreneur of the Year competition has been held in Aroostook. Last year’s winner was Michelle Hanson of Fredericks Southside and Mascoto’s Restaurants in Caribou. Other previous winners include Josh Rich of JL Rich Logging in Fort Kent, the Buck family and Maine Malt House in Mapleton, David Harbison of Bison Pumps in Houlton, Matt Bell of Northeast Pellets in Ashland, Northern Maine Distilling’s Jessica Jewell and Scott Galbiati (formerly of Houlton), Troy Haney of Haney Building Specialties in Caribou, Corey LaPlante of Northern Prosthetics in Presque Isle and Josh McLaughlin of J. McLaughlin Construction in Houlton.

The Partnership also gives out a Vanguard Award to a successful entrepreneur who has a long-term track record of business excellence. In the past two years, Lois Dickson of Tempo Employment and David Gordon of Katahdin Cedar Log Homes were honored.

For more information about the initiative, contact Towle at 551-6601 or ptowle@aroostookpartnership.org.

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