By Carol Coultas
Portland Press Herald, Maine.
There was a lot of good back-and-forth at a roundtable of women business owners convened Monday by the Small Business Administration.
The session, intended to solicit feedback for the federal business assistance agency, covered a lot of ground, but attendees agreed that one of the greatest challenges is awareness of what assistance exists for entrepreneurs — regardless of whether it’s SBA-sponsored.
Claudia Raessler, who operates Saco River Dyehouse, launched her manufacturing operation two years ago. A lawyer, she’s not cowed by complicated documents, but the lack of coordination among agencies and programs designed to help startups in Maine was staggering, she said.
Her idea — which had a lot of heads nodding in agreement — is to tie SBA loan approval to certain conditions that would connect resources to entrepreneurs.
“Like everyone else here, my biggest challenge is time,” she said.
She suggested that the SBA tie loan approval to three conditions: that an applicant join a relevant trade association or industry group; that she receive information about other available resources; and that she present a marketing plan at the time of the loan application.
SBA officials were scribbling like mad.
Verso is still wending its way through a $1.4 billion merger with NewPage. The two paper companies announced plans to merge in January and have been working on the details ever since. Combined, their mills in Jay, Rumford and Bucksport employ about 2,000 Mainers.
According to Verso’s most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, it’s been a costly process.
Costs incurred through the merger process so far total $18 million. The filing says the merger is still on track to close this year.
I sat with some great dinner companions at the HM Payson 160th birthday bash last week. Prime among them was John Doyle, an attorney at Preti Flaherty. John confided that he was dabbling in some photojournalism, inspired by the success of his son, Patrick, who is an associate editor at Rolling Stone.
Patrick Doyle wrote the Aug. 28 cover story on Willie Nelson, a 12-page hard copy of which John retrieved from his suit jacket to show me.
When I offered to return it so another dinner guest could read it, John assured me it was mine to keep. He reached into his suit jacket and retrieved another copy for the other guest. That’s a proud papa.
Say “dairy cows” and people think Wisconsin. Say “beef cattle” and people think Texas.
But say “healthy bovines” and people ought to think ImmuCell, the Portland-based company that develops and sells products to help newborn dairy and beef livestock. Prime calving season is in the spring, which means ImmuCell is making the rounds at four bovine trade shows throughout the month of September.
The company, which trades on NASDAQ (ICCC), is teeing up more products for FDA testing in early 2015. It has a great trade show cutout to draw attention to one of its products, First Defense, which protects calves from scours, a common digestive problem.
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The cutout shows a middle-aged man in a barn jacket, hat, gloves, socks and boxers. No pants. He’s standing next to a sign: “When your calves are exposed and unprotected, so is your bottom line.”
You don’t have to be a farmer to appreciate that.