Top Gun

Published: Nov. 17, 2023 at 5:13 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 17, 2023 at 5:14 PM EST
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PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) - Entrepreneurs from around the county are being offered an opportunity. The Top Gun program has made its way to northern Maine to help Entrepreneurs and small businesses start up, scale up, and get to the next level. For the first time in a decade, the Top Gun program has made its way to Aroostook County. Top Gun is a business academy for Maine residents who want to learn how to advance their business and, in turn, bring more jobs to Maine.

Tom Rainey is the executive director of the Maine Center for Entrepreneurs.

Rainey said, “The overarching goal is to help more companies off the ground and avoid some of the most common errors that small companies make when they are getting started. And the whole idea is to try to further diversify the Maine economy so we have these little seedling companies that we can help grow and develop.”

Rainey says they achieve that goal by connecting folks with mentors along with the classes and content that Top Gun offers.

Brandon McDonald is a Hub Coordinator for the Northern Maine Development Commission.

McDonald said, “About six months ago we determined that we wanted to bring the Top Gun program up to Northern Maine. Because of that, we were able to get a grant secured thanks to the SBA actually. We have a great connection to the SBA Office and Senator Collins. We were able to get a congressionally directed spending and now we are bringing up a great event.”

The grant and scholarships are incentives for folks to take the 15-week course. But the big incentive is what folks will learn to help their businesses in the long run. Suzanne Hiltz was a participant in the Top Gun meeting. She was there to learn more about the classes they offer and ways she can advance her business.

Hiltz said, “I didn’t even know there was going to be a prize attached to it. The prize would be awesome but I came for knowledge I really need to know how to take my business to the next level.”

The folks running the Top Gun Meeting suggest that everyone with a small business idea should sign up for their program even if they don’t have enough of their business figured out just yet because they can point you --and your business-- in the right direction. There’s still time to sign up. Classes start in January. Folks who are interested can learn more by clicking on the link