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May 25, 2018

Free workshops for immigrant entrepreneurs scheduled for June

Immigrants in Maine looking to start a business or seeking help with an existing one are invited to attend four free workshops in Portland next month.

The workshops, hosted by Portland Adult Education at 14 Locust St. in Room 10, will cover the pros and cons of owning a business, steps for starting up, the basics of a business plan, marketing, cash planning and the wealth of resources available to new businesses.

Afternoon workshops, from 3:45 p.m. to 5:45 p.m., will be held on June 4, 6, 11 and 13.

The City of Portland's Economic Development Department and the Office of Economic Opportunity have partnered with New Ventures Maine and the New Mainers Resource Center to put on the workshops, which are being sponsored by Gorham Savings Bank and cPort Credit Union.

Nelle Hanig, business programs manager with the City of Portland's Economic Development Department, told Mainebiz this week that she had been wanting to start a program like this for some time, after getting regular queries from immigrants seeking information about how to start a business and seeking financing.

"What seemed to me what would be very helpful would be a program that would help immigrants understand how you run a business in this country, given that the culture is different and the financing structure is no doubt different," said Hanig.

Julia Trujillo Luengo, director of the City's Office of Economic Opportunity that was created last year, added that the workshops are a great way to plug the immigrant community into New Ventures Maine, "one of the best resources in this area."

Immigrants make up 4.6% of the overall population in Portland's metropolitan area but account for 7.8% of its entrepreneurs, according to the City of Portland.

The trend is more pronounced at national level, with immigrants representing 13% of the country's population and 27.5% of its entrepreneurs.

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