By Hayley Winslow
Nearly all of Maine’s businesses–96.8%–are small businesses, meaning they have less than 500 employees. These small businesses employ 57.3% of Mainers. Economic development organizations from Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development to the U.S. Department of Commerce focus on entrepreneurism as a means of building Maine’s economy.
MABLab!, the new student entrepreneurism and innovation hub, has a mission to connect Saint Joseph’s students with Maine’s emerging economy by developing student entrepreneurial skills and their business networks.
Nick Guiou ’21 and Tylor Dubois ’20 enrolled in MABLab! this fall for their for-credit BA404 internship. Their project goal is to design the minimum viable product (MVP) for the Hannaford Food Venture Center. The Food Venture Center will be built adjacent to the Stone Barn and is a small scale food manufacturing environment to assist in the launching and scaling of existing and new food businesses.
To further understand and connect with the market, Nick and Tylor traveled to a variety of food and producer related destinations and events. They began their networking with a trip to the Common Ground Fair put on by the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA). Here, they met local food producers and began to hear the needs of food-related small businesses around the state.
During a trip to Portland, Tylor met with medium-scale food manufacturers to understand what is required to be a food product manufacturer in an urban setting. The visit included a tour of Fork Food Lab where they got to see Maine’s urban shared kitchen in use. After talking to both rural and urban producers, the team took a trip south and toured Commonwealth Kitchen, a food incubator located outside of Boston.
In their trip to Commonwealth Kitchen, Nick and Tylor were accompanied by the newest member of the MAB team, Maya Atlas. Maya served as the Membership Director and Kitchen Manager at Union Kitchen, the largest food incubator in the country, where she participated in the launch of the facility as employee #2. She now serves as Enterprise Start-Up Specialist of the ILFSI food venture center and has been working as a mentoring entrepreneur in MABLab! These visits, discussions, and real world environments provided Nick and Tylor with a baseline for the design of the MVP for the Hannaford Food Venture Center. They will be revealing their plans in a November pitch when they compete for SJC against other college teams in the New England Food System Innovation Challenge.
MABLab! is currently accepting applications and planning projects for entrepreneurial students interested in Spring 2019 internships and apprenticeships. To join the innovation in MABLab!, please apply to the MABLab! Internship posted on the Careers at SJC webpage, or contact Hayley Winslow, MABLab! Program Coordinator.
Contact: Hayley Winslow
Business Planning Analyst and MABLab! Program Coordinator
Hayley Winslow is the Business Planning Analyst and MABLab! Program Coordinator in the Office of Mission-Aligned Businesses (MAB) at Saint Joseph’s College. In this role, she develops financial models for new and existing MAB enterprises and drives budget planning and analytics projects. She also runs MABLab!, facilitating training and guidance of MABLab! Interns; providing day-to-day supervision of student workers across Mission-Aligned Businesses and Sustainable Enterprises. Hayley is a 2018 graduate of SJC and her understanding of financial information and her analytical skills were gained while majoring in International Business and from internships at local businesses. She graduated with both the International Business Academic Award and the Social Entrepreneurship Award. Hayley also serves as an Assistant Coach for the field hockey program, after standing out on the SJC Varsity team as a student.
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