I came across New Ventures Maine through a web search. I saw the Venturing Forth course and wanted to learn more because I was looking for a way to finance a business in Bangor.
I’ve been in the outdoor industry since I was 18. First, I worked with a college outdoor club and then moved to Alaska and worked for REI, the L.L. Bean of the West Coast, for 11 years. I imagined that I would work with them for my whole career.
In 2016, my husband got a job offer from UMaine and, as it happens, Acadia Mountain Guides was hiring a manager within a month of my moving to Orono. There, I was able to continue working in the outdoor industry, this time at a small business in Maine.
I took the Venturing Forth course in early 2019 and I learned more about being an entrepreneur and all of the logistics of starting a business than I did in four years of business school. It was all the practical knowledge and hyper-local information I needed to start my company, She Summits Co, an adventure travel business that focuses on fostering self-confidence through brave outdoor experiences for women of all ages.
I met my accountant and lawyer through NVME and those connections created a base for me to build on. I also had a mentor to come back to when I needed one. I don’t think I would be where I am now if I had not taken Venturing Forth.
I’m coming up on year four of She Summits Co. I was able to re-focus through the pandemic because of the plan we made during Venturing Forth. I have also continued working with Acadia Mountain Guides, which is part of my newest project. The employees there are working on buying from the retiring owner and transitioning to a worker-owned co-op.
The biggest challenge I’ve faced has been creating a business right before a pandemic. Even though we operated solidly for over three years it feels like we’re just learning a lot of new things because the rules are changing again.
My greatest joy so far has been the reason I created my business—seeing women be brave when they were unsure of getting out there in the first place, and seeing them thrive outdoors and enjoy all of the peace and energy it can give them.
My advice to others would be: take the class. Spend the time. Learn. Ask Questions. It’s really exciting to have an idea and take it all the way to starting an actual business. Use the resources available to you, and you will get there with all your i’s dotted and your t’s crossed.