Laura Catevenis – Lewiston

Laura Catevenis NVME graduateA Promise

It all started with a promise whispered into my newborn daughter’s ear, that one day we would make it. The way I see it, you can choose to let single motherhood crush you, or light a fire within you. I chose fire!  I faced challenges every day as I balanced providing for my daughter while trying to build our future. Though I had worked in social services for a number of years, I could not earn a living wage. Then in 2014, after my daughter was born, I relied on a variety of state aid for a time. I moved from dependence on aid to being self-supporting in 2017. Here’s how I did it.

Working with NVME

During this journey I was referred to New Ventures Maine by the TANF-ASPIRE program for self-employment assistance. Karleen Andrews was my trainer. She provided everything I needed to help keep my fire lit and to stay focused. Without New Ventures Maine, the process of becoming a business owner would have been challenging and draining. But Karleen offered templates and guides to assist me in creating the world I imagined for my family. She spent hours helping me to edit my business plan. I don’t consider myself a strong writer, but she helped grow my confidence and skills. Karleen believed in me.

Black Bear Support Services Startup

Black Bear Support Services started operation in February 2016. From startup, Karleen ensured that I had the tools and resources needed to stay on track, overcome obstacles, and move forward. The business goals and cash flow projections I developed with Karleen seemed so farfetched while writing them! But here I am after only one year in business and I have surpassed every financial and business goal I set. It’s hard to believe that my small dream has become a business that serves 25 children with developmental disabilities and employs 30 people. My biggest joy is knowing that the services that Black Bear Support Services provides help children and their families. An important additional reward comes from being able to provide employment to others!
The only thing I would have done differently would have been to open my business sooner!

We are here to do great things

I encourage everyone to find their calling and never underestimate themselves. We are here to do great things. Believing in yourself is the first step in building your future. Begin with reaching out to New Ventures Maine.