Gray-New Gloucester Development Corporation Offering Forgivable Loan for New Business
The Gray-New Gloucester Development Corporation is issuing its second Grow GNG RFP. The three phase competition will ultimately select one business proposal to be funded by the program.
Last year’s winner, Empower Chiropractic and Acupuncture, located in the pineland Campus, and was awarded a $10,000 forgivable loan and an additional $7,000 worth of in-kind business support products and services. The first runner up, Local Centric, ultimately opened its doors in Gray, and thanks to several of the in-kind sponsors, also received assistance.
All businesses must be for-profit in nature and must meet other eligibility requirements: the proposals are required to be for new businesses in Gray or New Gloucester, but they can be of an existing out-of-town business adding a location in one of the towns, additionally, there is a provision for a local existing business to expand with a new business concept.
One winner will be selected in the final phase of the competition and will receive up to a $10,000 forgivable loan and another $7,000 of in-kind products and services to help the business get off the ground.
“We had a great experience with the first Grow GNG, and are thrilled to be conducting the competition again,” commented Tracy Scheckel, GNGDC President, “We were inspired by and modeled Grow GNG after the Heart of Biddeford program. They have been a wonderful resource for us as we’ve developed our program.”
The cash funding for the program is comprised of advertising revenue from the GNG Local magazines that the GNGDC has published since 2014. GNG Local is a promotional publication that highlights local annual events, tourist destinations and area businesses. According to Scheckel, the magazine is a hybrid, designed to attract both tourists and new businesses. Androscoggin Bank is also supporting the competition with a $5,000 grant. The selected business will be required to meet certain criteria during the first 3 years of operation, should those criteria be met, the loan will be forgiven.
The GNGDC has been working closely with volunteers from SCORE to fine tune the RFP, and to make arrangements for mentoring of the contestants. Dick Miller is one of the SCORE Certified Mentors who has been working with the GNGDC, “It has been a pleasure to work with the GNGDC team. Their vision and determination is a very positive force for the future of Gray-New Gloucester. My fellow mentor, Stephen Jenks, and I value our association with this team effort.”
“One of the most exciting aspects of this project is the community involvement,” commented Scheckel, “The advertising revenue that is providing the seed money for the project came from dozens of local businesses, and the in-kind business support donations are also from many local businesses and organizations.”
For the first competition, the GNGDC solicited several area landlords to provide 3 months of free rent to the winner, and the Libra Foundation offered space in its business incubator at the Pineland Business Campus. OTT Communications donated 1 year of free telephone and internet, the Sebago Lakes Region and the L A Metro Chambers of Commerce provided 1 year memberships, MaineBiz Magazine donated a 1-year subscription, Robert Avaunt Esq. provided 1 hour of legal counseling, Tsukroff Photography provided promotional photography, and PrintMail of Maine provided promotional printing services. The package also included interior design and website consultations, complimentary videography and a TV promo on Gray Community Access Television, and a full page ad in the 2017 issue of GNG Local Magazine.
The panel of judges for the competition will include a municipal official from both Gray and New Gloucester, a business owner from each of the two towns, a representative of Androscoggin Bank and members of the GNGDC.
The three phases of the competition will take place through the spring and summer with the winner to be announced by late June. The contest rules require that the new business commence operation by September 19, 2018.
The GNGDC is a private, board driven, non-profit organization whose mission is to maximize economic potential of Gray and New Gloucester with the following goals:
- To encourage economic growth and development in Gray-New Gloucester (GNG)
- To mentor and educate new or young businesses in GNG
- To promote the commercial development of GNG
- To hold meetings and other activities for the education and the provision of information to the public
- To cooperate with and assist individuals, groups, governmental bodies, officials and employees of governments to carry out the purpose of the Corporation and to cooperate with other economic development agencies, philanthropic organizations of individuals who are interested in the purposes of the Corporation
- To solicit and accept endowments, grants, contributions, and donations of money, real property or other property for the above purpose
In many volunteer organizations, human resources are at a premium, and the GNGDC is no different, the organization currently has a few positions available and is actively seeking members with finance, legal, or computer expertise.
For more information about Grow GNG or to learn more about membership with the GNGDC, visit the website at gngdc.com.