- December 21, 2018
The holiday season is hectic for everyone but even more so for small business owners. If you own a retail business, this may be your biggest month of the year. For some businesses, much of their year-end profit is realized in the month of December. Other business owners have just come off of a hectic summer and fall season, and now they just want to rest and recover. So, it stands to reason that, at the end of the year, many small business owners often find themselves wondering how they can achieve better work/life balance. Now is a good time to step back from the daily operations of your business and reflect on how you manage your personal time.
- December 19, 2018
Earlier this fall, we caught up with Josh and Shey Conover, owners of Islesboro Marine and founders of Marshall Cove Aquaculture. Shey worked at the Island Institute from 2004-2017, and we helped her and Josh start their mussel farm on the northwest side of Islesboro through the second round of our Aquaculture Business Development program in 2016. Since then, they have expanded their work and took a moment to fill us in on their upcoming plans.
- October 29, 2018
In my role as director of Archipelago, the Island Institute's store and gallery, I’ve seen many artists come through the door wanting to know the nuts and bolts of starting or growing a business. Artists bring in their portfolio, product, or both, and want opinions on pricing, market, or feedback on their work. While this is great, sometimes I need to ask them to step back in order to move forward successfully. For me, one of the first things I notice is do they know who they are? Do they have a voice? For whatever product you’re selling and whatever business you’re starting or growing—you’ll need to find customers. Telling a good story draws like-minded customers to you, and that all starts with your voice.
- August 30, 2018
With the upcoming election and impending change in the Governor’s office, it seemed like a good moment to reflect on the current state of one of the most important policy areas the Island Institute is working on— broadband. Our broadband policy work starts with the idea that in order for coastal communities to be connected at speeds that are above the national average by 2025, we need at least three things from the policy realm—an effective statewide broadband authority, support for the community broadband process in the regulatory realm, and funding from beyond the community.
- August 6, 2018
It's no secret that Maine's coast and islands depend largely on two industries: the fishing economy and the tourism economy. With $4 billion in tourism spending along the coast, it's hard to ignore the potential for businesses and communities. Are dollars being left on the table? Is the spending happening in my community, or in my business? What can we do to better attract the tourists and visitors who contribute the most—not just dollars—to our local economy?
- June 21, 2018
During the 2017-18 school year the elementary, middle and high school students on Vinalhaven studied kelp, both in their science classes and an after school K-5 program. In addition to classroom based-lessons, students spent time at and on the water – collecting seaweed at low tide, growing and harvesting kelp, and learning all aspects of kelp aquaculture and related topics on Hurricane Island. Some students even got the unique opportunity to process Vinalhaven-grown kelp.
- March 30, 2018
Digital literacy means having knowledge and competence with digital tools. By improving internet proficiency, businesses benefit from growth, workforce development, health access, community and civic engagement, student education, and all-around quality of life. Improved digital literacy also drives support for better-connected communities. It’s our plan to expand offerings in the coming year, and we would love to hear from you about what would be helpful to keep your business going in this increasingly competitive world.
- March 15, 2018
Winter is often a slower time for business along Maine's coast, allowing all of us a bit of space to think about upcoming opportunities and challenges facing our businesses. Maybe there is a certification that you have been meaning to pursue for years that would allow you to expand your business. Or maybe you are interested in working with a consultant to be more effective in advertising your products. The Island Institute is offering our Microgrants for Entrepreneurship and Community Impact (MECI) to island and coastal businesses who want to improve the way their business is run. Learn more about applying for a MECI grant, and reach out to us to discuss your idea!
- February 8, 2018
Have you ever thought about gaining a new source of income through growing mussels, oysters or seaweed? Now is a great time to launch your small-scale aquaculture business. Through our Aquaculture Business Development (ABD) program, the Island Institute is working to help fishermen and people from fishing communities diversify into shellfish or seaweed aquaculture. Learn how you can join our third ABD cohort and apply today!