Top Gun LA Applications Now Open for 2020!

The Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce announces that applications are now being accepted for the 2020 Top Gun LA entrepreneurship acceleration program.

Top Gun LA is designed specifically for the entrepreneur with a desire to grow his/her business and achieve long-term success through the use of the right tools and resources. Top Gun elements include mentorship, lessons from successful entrepreneurs, workshopping, discussions, and pitch development and practice, all of which occurs during high-impact weekly gatherings held in multiple locations across the state. The LA Metro Chamber has offered Top Gun LA to Central Maine entrepreneurs since 2017.

Program information and applications are available at https://www.mced.biz/top-gun/. Applications are due by Friday, November 15th. The program begins on February 5, 2020 and will run through the end of May. In addition to submitting a short online application, prospective companies will be required to submit a pitch deck and present a live pitch to the Top Gun LA interview committee.

The program will conclude with regional pitch off events where the top two semi-finalists will move on to a statwide Top Gun showcase, where they will compete for a $25,000 cash prize sponsored by the Maine Technology Institute.

For more information on the 2020 Top Gun LA entrepreneurship acceleration program, contact Top Gun LA program coordinator Scott Benson at 783-2249.

LA Metro Chamber announces 2019 scholarship recipients

Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce announces 2019 scholarship recipients

For the past 20 years, the LA Metro Chamber has given scholarships to local graduating seniors planning to continue their studies at either an accredited college or university, as well as a certificate program. The Chamber has also given scholarship awards to adults continuing their education while working called the Member Employee Scholarship.

This year’s local high school recipients were announced at the June membership breakfast held at Poland Spring Resort on June 13th.  The recipients are Ryan Theriault from Edward Little High School, Sadie Waterman from Oak Hill High School, Hunter Steele from Lewiston High School, Catarina Bifulco from Leavitt Area High School, Abigail Castonguay from Saint Dominic Academy, Joshua Landry from Poland Regional High School, and Riley Leeman from Lisbon High School.  These students were selected from their respective guidance office for good academic achievement, positive involvement in the local community, a good record of extracurricular school involvement, and time management skills fostered through part time employment, and continuing their education in the state of Maine.

This year’s Member Employee Scholarship recipient is Laura LaBelle, staff accountant at the City of Lewiston. Laura stated in her essay “Not long ago I did not think it would be possible for me to be an employee of the City of Lewiston or have the opportunity to obtain a college degree” Laura has overcome many challenges but is determined to succeed in her role at the City of Lewiston and as a college student.

The Chamber raises the funds for scholarships through the Annual Chip Morrison Scholarship Scramble.  This year’s scholarship scramble will be held on Wednesday August 21stat Fox Ridge Golf Course in Auburn. The funds raised from the scholarship scramble help improve the education of our local workforce. Opportunities to support the scholarship scramble are still available.

The Chamber’s scholarship program aligns with the Maine Spark initiative, a 10-year commitment from Maine’s most influential education and business leaders to work together to ensure that Maine’s workforce is productive and competitive. MaineSpark is powered by a coalition of organizations—schools and universities, nonprofits and foundations, government agencies and businesses—with a common goal: by 2025, 60% of Mainers will hold education and workforce credentials that position Maine and its families for success.  LA Metro Chamber President Rebecca Swanson Conrad said, “We are pleased to align our scholarship program with Maine Spark’s goal to connect people with the education, training, jobs, programs and resources needed to thrive in Maine’s robust and changing economy aspirations.”

Golf Tournament Sponsorship Opportunities

Chip Morrison Scholarship Scramble

Wednesday, August 21, 2019
Fox Ridge Golf Club
Registration: 8am, Shotgun start 9am

Sponsorship Opportunities

Download the golf brochure here

TOURNAMENT – $5,000 • LIMITED TO ONE

  • Logo/name on gift to be provided to golfers
  • Recognition in all publicity
  • Banner or sign at registration & reception
  • Opportunity to present tournament prizes
  • Team entrance included
  • Two preferred parking spaces

CHIP – $5,000 • LIMITED TO ONE

  • Logo/name on gift to be provided to golfers
  • Recognition in all publicity
  • Banner or sign at registration & reception
  • Opportunity to assist with prize presentation
  • Team entrance included
  • Two preferred parking spaces

CO-SPONSOR – $2,500

  • Logo/name on gift to be provided to golfers
  • Recognition in all publicity
  • Banner at post-tournament reception
  • Team entrance included

HAT – $2,500 • LIMITED TO ONE

  • Logo/name on hat to be gifted to golfers
  • Recognition in all publicity

TOURNAMENT RECEPTION – $1,500 • LIMITED TO ONE

  • Signage at the reception

BARBECUE – $1,500 • LIMITED TO ONE

  • Signage at the barbecue

CART – $1,000 • LIMITED TO TWO

  • Signage on each cart

REGISTRATION – $1,000 • LIMITED TO ONE

  • Signage at the registration table area and event

CONTRIBUTING – $1,000

  • Signage at the Tournament

CLOSEST TO THE PIN – $500 • LIMITED TO TWO

  • Signage at the hole site

LONG DRIVE – $500 • LIMITED TO TWO

  • Signage at the hole site

HOLE – $400

  • Signage at one tee

GREEN – $200

  • Signage at one green

You can sign up for a sponsorship or register your team by clicking here

Download the golf brochure here

For more information contact Maureen at the LA Metro Chamber, 783-2249 or maureen@lametrochamber.com.

Beckie’s March 2019 Message

News From 415 Lisbon Street

Spring is coming, we promise!  Don’t forget that our April events are mixed up for April Fools. No joke, we are having Business Before Hours on our usual breakfast date (Thursday, April 11, 7-9AM) at Fishbones and Breakfast for Dinner on our usual Business After Hours night (Thursday, April 18, 4:30-7PM).

And just to get you prepared to be off schedule, the March Business After Hours is one week later than usual on Thursday, March 28 at Side By Each, our newest LA Metro brewery. This event is the night before the Magnetize Maine Summit sponsored by Uplift LA.  Please send young professionals from your business or organization to this important conversation about Maine’s economic future, click here for more information.

And just in case there is more snow in our future, our friends at MDOT show us how to save our mailboxes from destruction click here.

Workforce Development

KUDOS to our local educators!

Jim Horn from Edward Little High School has designed a 2-year aviation program partnering with UMA beginning this September. Nine area high schools are invited to participate. The EL videography class is doing video promotion to send to schools and air on local public access stations.

New Ventures Maine, in collaboration with Lewiston Regional Technical School, Central Maine Community College (CMCC), and other community planning partners, are offering a hands-on, half-day conference designed to encourage girls to consider careers in fields traditionally populated by men. The Totally Trades Conference will bring together over one-hundred ninth-graders from particular schools in Androscoggin County on Friday, May 17.

Economic Development

Maine International Trade Center is hosting the New Product GlobalShowcase at Maine International Trade Day. This annual event – with over 300 attendees including Maine business professionals, investors, government officials, R&D groups, representatives from foreign trade and consular offices, and media – provides excellent exposure for entrepreneurial, innovative companies.

Does your company have a new product or service? If so, enter today! The New Product Global Showcase is open to all Maine companies and industries. To be eligible, the product or service:

  • was launched within the past two years (May 2017 – May 2019)
  • must have commercial viability and currently be in the market
  • will be evaluated on international market appeal as well as innovation

This is a juried process, and participation is limited. Questions? Contact Tom Conley at 207-553-7708. LEARN MORE

You are invited to a Climate Round Table at the Chamber on Thursday, March 21.  Small businesses have a big part to play, and a lot to gain, in efforts to improve Energy Efficiency throughout Maine. Join the Maine Climate Table, business leaders, service providers, and others committed to promoting energy efficiency in our state for a convening that will explore opportunities, challenges, and resources for small businesses seeking to improve energy efficiency in their operations. The day will include facilitated discussion sessions, a resource panel, and a networking lunch. Registration required click here.

Make It Here: Tourism

As part of the Francophone Francophile Network, Museum LA has secured an intern from Quebec from March 25 to June 14 to complete our cultural heritage trail to link to the international network of trails.  We need housing for her stay. She speaks both French and English. If you know anyone who may have a room where she could also have access to cooking, or a furnished apartment, or camp (she has a car) please be in contact with Rachel Desgrosseilliers at rachel@museumla.org.

This year, the Maine Tourism Association will be hosting its 98th Annual Meeting as the tourism reception at the Governor’s Conference on Tourism on April 9 & 10, 2019. The opening reception will be held at the Governor Hill Mansion in Augusta. This reception includes hors d’oeuvres, a cash bar and networking with tourism professionals across the state.

It’s time to update your free 2019 event listings on VisitMaine.com! The VisitMaine.com website is a key resource for the Maine Office of Tourism marketing and PR teams for information to use in response to inquiries from Travel Media, and in selecting events to feature in social media posts @VisitMaine with 200K+ combined FB and Instagram followers, and in MOT’s consumer email distributed monthly to approximately 390,000 potential visitors.Visit the PartnerLogin page at MOTPartners.com for instructions on how to manage your VisitMaine.com listings.

LA Metro Partners

The Retail Association of Maine is the host state this year for the annual Eastern States Retail Executive Conference in July. Each summer, the states from Maine to Virginia get together to discuss legislative issues of importance to the northeastern states. You are invited to join them! The event will take place at the Samoset Resort in Rockport, ME from July 14-17. For registration click here.

The SBA’s Emerging Leaders Program will take place at TechPlace facility on Brunswick Landing in Brunswick this year! They need your help to recruit interested small businesses.The SBA Emerging Leaders Initiative is a federal training initiative that specifically focuses on executives of businesses poised for growth in historically challenged communities. This initiative provides these executives with the organizational framework, resource network, and motivation required to build sustainable businesses and promote the economic development within underserved communities.

This training is for established business owners and is not for start-ups or people who are thinking about starting a business. The Emerging Leaders Initiative advanced training series is open to small business owners and executives that:

  • Have annual revenues of at least $250,000
  • Have been in business for at least 3 years
  • Have at least one employee, other than self
  • Must has decision making authority
Please encourage interested businesses to apply at https://www.interise.org/sbaemergingleaders or contact Brad Currie at Bradley.currie@sba.gov or 207-248-9040.

Make Shift Coffee House is an initiative to get people from all walks of life to get together for food, coffee, music and conversation about what are often divisive issues. https://makeshiftcoffeehouse.com/  There is a Make Shift Coffeehouse coming up on Friday, March 22 at USM LA College in Lewiston. Click here for the flyer.

MaineCanDo was founded last year to help individuals, employers, and investors prevent future #MeToo incidents in the workplace. #MaineCanDo and Pan Atlantic Research have teamed up to conduct the first comprehensive survey of sexual harassment and workplace culture issues in Maine in the #MeToo era. This data will be used by organizations such as #MaineCanDo and the Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault to understand and raise awareness of the level of workplace sexual harassment in Maine. This brief, confidential survey seeks observations and experiences in the workplace around this critical topic. https://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/4839517/MANP. Responses from both employers and employees are strictly confidential. No identifying data will be collected, and all data that is collected will only ever be analyzed or reported at the state and county level – not by individual organization. Employee responses will never be matched to their employing organization.  If you’d like more information about how the data will be analyzed, please contact Jason Edes, Director of Research at Pan Atlantic Research at jedes@panatlanticresearch.com.

Applications are now being accepted for the 2019-2020 classes of the Maine Development Foundation’s Institute for Civic Leadership (ICL) and Leadership Maine classes. Now in their 27th year of bringing diverse groups of proven professionals together for powerful, experiential development, both programs have widespread impact on individual growth and the enrichment of entire communities.Register at https://mdf.wufoo.com/forms/ql86toh12xqrsf/

Chamber Member Employee Scholarship – Applications Available!

Download the application here.

The purpose of the Chamber Member Employee Scholarship Program is to recognize an employee of a LA Metro Chamber member who has shown effort in advancing his or her education.

Scholarship Awards

Scholarships of $1000 each will be awarded annually. The scholarships will be awarded directly to the recipient. One award will be made per individual, although the award may be divided to apply to two semesters of college work.

  • Preference will be given to applicants who have not previously won a Chamber Member Employee Scholarship from the Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce

Eligibility

Applicants will…

  • Be employed 20 or more hours by a member in good standing of the Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce
  • Begin course(s) within 6 months of receiving award
  • Be applying to or matriculated in college-level coursework applicable toward an Associates, Bachelor’s or Master’s degree

OR

  • Be applying to or matriculated in a technical institute or certificate program
  • Have a high school diploma or equivalent
  • Be at least 18 years old
  • If already matriculated, proof you are a student in good standing from the college you are attending

Application Requirements

  • Scholarship application
  • 250-300 word processed essay (see attached)
  • Completed employer verification form
  • Professional letter of reference/recommendation (more points will be given when the author is knowledgeable of the applicant’s professional work and/or collegiate work and speak to: motivation, financial need, aspirations, etc.)
  • Unofficial transcript or letter of acceptance for upcoming semester
  • Application MUST be complete to be considered!

Deadlines

The application and employer verification form must be received by April 26, 2019.Recipients will be notified by May 31, 2019 (Scholarship recipients will be notified by mail/e-mail)

Download the application here.

Annual Award Nominations Being Accepted

Deadline is November 10! Nominate someone today! Click here.

The following is a list of awards to be presented at the annual dinner on Thursday, January 24, 2019
Eligibility:
  • Nominees must be members in good standing of the Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce (individuals must be employed by a member e.g. owner, staff) or be an individual member.
  • Individual award nominations may not be active members of the LA Metro Chamber staff or Board of Directors.

Ray Geiger Chamber Champion Award
The Ray Geiger Award is the highest honor given to a member by the Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce. It is our most prestigious award. It is given to an individual who has proven to be a champion of and for the LA Metro Chamber. The award is presented to an individual who has invested a great deal of time, energy, and resources into furthering the LA Metro Chamber’s mission and working toward bettering our communities.

Theresa Samson Women’s Business Leadership Award 
The Theresa Samson Women’s Business Leadership Award honors a successful woman business owner or primary manager for her business success, career achievements and contributions to the community. Businesses led by women are and will continue to have a noticeable impact on the economy. This annual award helps inspire the continued growth of women leading businesses in our community.
Ken Additon Small Business Advocacy Award
The Ken Additon Small Business Advocacy Award goes to an individual who has demonstrated commitment to small-business advocacy above and beyond policies that specifically impact their own business or industry and a proven history of volunteer efforts to advance and improve the overall small-business community, as well as success in advocating for pro-small business policies and success and growth as a small-business owner.
Community Service Award
The Community Service Award honors outstanding individuals or organizations that give their time and expertise to the community, above and beyond their own field of endeavor, and demonstrate excellence, creativity and initiative in all they do. The recipient is an inspiration to the community, both in their profession and in their efforts to make the LA region a better place to live, work and play.
Business Leadership Award
A business, agency, organization, community or non-profit corporation, which has helped invigorate the economic health of the area while also contributing to the social, cultural, intellectual or physical well-being of the LA region.

Deadline is November 10! Nominate someone today! Click here.

Making it in LA

“Make it, make things, make products, make your life here, make your dreams come true here,” explained Beckie Conrad the Executive Director of the Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce on the first episode of the #ProvenProfitable Podcast, Season 2 kickoff interview. Beckie came on the podcast hosted by Justin Starbird & Matty Boutwell to discuss the possibilities of building a business and building a life in the Lewiston Auburn region that inspired the promotional campaign that the Chamber recently launched.

The LA Metro Chamber is playing an essential role in growing the Maine economy. Today more than ever, Beckie and her team are heavily focused on establishing a regional image for the second largest economy in Maine. The recently launched campaign to promote the region, called “Make it Here,” is centered on the manufacturing history, but includes the arts, tourism, and the unique history of the area and pride that accompanies each facet.

At the upcoming Maine Business Expo, the Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce is serving as a Dirigo Partner for the event.  The Maine Business Expo is taking place at the Holiday Inn by the Bay in Portland on November 14thand the Chamber’s Beckie Conrad will be attending the event to showcase the region’s thriving business community.

The Chamber’s goal is to promote a positive image of the area and simultaneously develop the workforce, as the two should work hand in hand. A positive image will draw educated workers and in turn enhance the workforce. It includes supporting young folks who want to pursue trades, as well as those looking to utilize their PhDs.

Building a qualified workforce is a challenge and continuous objective for almost any community. The LA Metro Chamber is looking to proactively solve the dilemma through integrated marketing plans, educational system support, and local business collaboration. By first focusing on the youth in the area, the Chamber hopes to develop skilled individuals who become part of the community, acquire purposeful jobs, and start families. Ideally, the community members are supporting non-profits, attending sporting events, and utilizing local educational systems for their children to keep the cycle moving in a positive direction.

As recent graduates think about where to start their first job, the Lewiston and Auburn region needs to be a consideration to make the area thrive. In order to make this happen, the Chamber is partnering with educational institutions, including five very busy colleges where students have already chosen the community for continued education. Once their education has been completed, it is imperative that the region have both options to begin a career and the appeal to start a family when graduates accept their first job.

Recently, the LA Metro Chamber partnered with WGME to showcase their image campaign.  In working to attract advertisers to be part of the campaign, they hope to layer in a lot of the work they’re doing, spread it across the community, and tie it into the “Make it Here” campaign. By making it in the LA Metro area, individuals and their families can make memories here and make their lives here.

One great example of how individuals play a prominent role in the LA community and show just how possible it is to make it, is Dianna Pozdniakov. Dianna owns Sofia Fima and relocated to Lewiston from New York. She has renovated a building on Lisbon Street and opened her design studio for high-end pocketbooks here. Diana is a chamber member and her story is important to share. She’s really utilized the Chamber’s resources and assisted in the LA area’s economic growth.

“Diana is making it in the LA area and wants her customers to come here and make it here too,” added Conrad.

At the Maine Business Expo, one of the topics is going to specifically be about workforce and business development. At this event, Chambers will come together and form a statewide dialogue around key issues impacting the economy at the moment.  Through the gathering, the LA Metro Chamber hopes to reinforce the idea that they are a statewide resource that will do great work with other organizations. They also hope to portray themselves as a leader in Maine’s future, playing into the Dirigo meaning of “I lead.”

“It’s great to have the opportunity to pull these people together, have a conversation about things that need to get done, showcase the people that have done it, and apply those templates and roadmaps to different communities,” said Justin Starbird.

With fall quickly approaching, the community is breathing in the fresh, crisp air, as they look to make action plans and start fresh. The Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce’s strategic planning process is underway, programs are launching, and the structure is changing to focus on executing projects.

Androscoggin Leadership Development Institute – New & Improved for 2018!

Androscoggin Leadership Development Institute – New & Improved Format, Begins September 12

The Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Uplift LA present an updated version of the Androscoggin Leadership Development Institute (ALDI).  ALDI will run weekly September 12 – November 14 and help participants foster stronger working relationships, learn to communicate and motivate and gain skills needed to advance their careers. Beckie Conrad, LA Metro Chamber President & CEO stated, “I’m pleased that Uplift LA has taken the lead for the Chamber to redesign and refresh the Androscoggin Leadership Development Institute to meet the needs of our rising professionals and expand their capacity to increasingly take on leadership roles within local businesses and organizations.”

Hone your leadership skills – Be it managing a team, running a nonprofit, or starting up your own business, ALDI is the place to hone the skills that will make you a successful leader and manager. The 2018 Program is designed for first time to middle managers who are interested in developing their communication, strategic planning, and core leadership skills.

The Androscoggin Leadership Development Institute is designed to provide rising leaders the real world skills needed to have a tangible impact on their businesses and communities. The program will challenge participants to use learned skills vital for today’s managers and leaders. Additionally, ALDI will address complex challenges facing businesses today. The program culminates with a capstone that will bring real expertise back to your workplace and community!

ALDI is a 3 month program combining classroom learning, interactive sessions, and hands on experiences designed to enhance leadership skills, cultivate strengths, and strengthen weaknesses. Participants will learn from experts in their fields who have demonstrated success in communication, networking, strategic planning among others. The program prepares its graduates for success in the business, nonprofit and government worlds, ensuring they have a foundation capable of meeting the pressing demands of today’s ever-changing workforce.

Member & non member cost is $750 until 9/5/18, on 9/6/18 the cost increases to $1,000. Registration is limited! Sign up today! All classes will be held in Lewiston and Auburn. Register online at www.LAMetroChamber.com. Questions? Call 207-783-2249.

Class Schedule: 

September 12, 5-8pm – Intro to course – Orientation, ice breakers, structure of program, expected outcomes, discussion of capstone, start thinking about specialty areas, background data. Facilitated by: Dan Bourgeois-Capozzi, Androscoggin Bank

September 15, 9am-3pm – Core Skills – Behavioral Identification – Participants will use a behavior assessment in class. The facilitator will help participants understand their own behaviors and identify how to best interact and communicate with others. Facilitated by: Ann Burrill, Androscoggin Bank

September 19, 5-8pm – Core Skills – Communication and Demeanor – using behavioral results to apply to these areas, role playing activities, networking will be briefly covered. Facilitated by: Ann Burrill, Androscoggin Bank

September 26, 5-8pm – Core Skills – Networking – importance of internal vs. external; difference between initial introductions and building a professional network; what to do after; career pathing. Facilitated by: Shelly Prey & Kendra Wheeler, Bangor Savings Bank

October 3, 5-8pm – Local Issues – Employers of participants will receive a survey upon sign up to find out what’s important to them, a panel discussion will be built around that data. Facilitated by: TBD

October 13, 9am-1pm – Core Skills – Strategic Planning – how to build one, take a look at the health and wellness of the organization, potential futures, complexities involved, continuous improvement, successful cultures build this in to overall operations; Harvard Business Review case study. Facilitated by: Paul Beaudette, Leading Edge Business Solutions & Shanna Cox, Project Tipping Point

October 24, 5-8pm – Local Issues (2nd session) – Employers of participants will receive a survey upon sign up to find out what’s important to them, a panel discussion will be built around that data. Facilitated by: TBD

November 1, 4-8pm – Specialty Areas – Participants will be given 5 topics (Entrepreneurship, Managing a Team, Change Agility, Nonprofit, Civic Policy) and asked to select top 3 areas for deeper discussion. Groups split up based on choices. Participants will create a deliverable from each specialty area (capstone). Facilitated by: Varies

November 7, 4-8pm – Specialty Areas (2nd session) – Participants will be given 5 topics (Entrepreneurship, Managing a Team, Change Agility, Nonprofit, Civic Policy) and asked to select top 3 areas for deeper discussion. Groups split up based on choices. Participants will create a deliverable from each specialty area (capstone). Facilitated by: Varies

November 14 – Presentation of Capstones & Celebration – Wrap up course, present capstones to business leaders. Learn about the Top Gun program for those interested in entrepreneurship. For: Participants and their employers