New Ventures Maine (NVME) has been helping small enterprises boost their marketing and grow their businesses for over 7 years through small grant awards. Mini-grants of not more than $400 are awarded several times a year through a competitive application to businesses that have 5 or fewer full-time employees and annual sales of $250,000 or less.
Now, the Marketing Mini-grant program itself has gotten a boost through investments by Norway Savings Bank and the Maine Women’s Fund. Norway Savings has provided funding to enable six awards this fall and spring to businesses located in Western and Southern areas of the state. “We are excited to meet participants in this program and learn about their plans for growth”, said Janice de Lima, CRA Officer at Norway Savings Bank.
Funding from the Maine Women’s Fund will allow NVME to measure the program’s success in stimulating growth among some of Maine’s smallest enterprises and will help NVME develop a plan to sustain the grant program with a combination of cash awards and in-kind marketing assistance.
“In the short term, we know our grant winners benefit from the award,” said Eloise Vitelli, Program Director at NVME. “We are interested in making the program even better.”
As one of the recent grant winners put it: “This grant, though small, was truly awesome for us to receive. It forced us to think about how and what we are doing for marketing. It helped us make some connections with promotions experts to gain their advice. And, it has helped us to get our name out there.” Todd & Jaime Rogers, In the Village Farm and Garden, Passadumkeag, ME.
A total of nine awards were made during the last round of grants in June, 2016 and included businesses from Fort Kent to Biddeford. Among the winners: Kelly LeCasse, of The Maine Meal, Skowhegan; Sandra and Glenn Gordon, Good Karma Café and Health Foods, Rumford; Dave Kelso and Linda Engelhardt, Wicked Water Graphics, Fort Kent; and Stacy Cooper, Biscuits and Company, Biddeford. Marketing projects that were funded include developing targeted print and on-line menus, color brochures and exterior signage; Facebook ads as well as direct mail programs to reach new customers.
The deadline for the next round of mini-grant awards is November 4th. More information and application forms can be found at newventuresmaine.org or by calling 1-800-442-2092.
New Ventures Maine, a program of UMA and the UMS, helps people all over the state venture in new directions by offering tuition free programs for career, business, and financial education. Training is offered in person and online.