Commercial Currents: Preparing for tax time

Yes, it’s that time of year. Funny how vacations seem to take forever to arrive, but tax season is suddenly here again. If you’re like most people, you don’t listen to the news with baited breath waiting for the latest information on recent tax changes. As a business owner, taxes are always in the back of our minds. In a retail situation, it’s sales tax; but annually we all also have to think about our business and personal taxes. While many of the changes that take place in our tax laws over the course of a year have no impact or effect on us or our businesses, this year there have been some changes that may affect business owners on Maine’s islands and coastal communities.

Commercial Currents: Making connections as a small business owner

Most small business owners feel isolated—there is rarely an opportunity to share questions, concerns, or ideas around what works for others in a non-competitive environment. At the Island Institute, one of our goals is to connect island and coastal business owners with peers so that they can have those conversations. Connecting with peers and colleagues is one of the many ways we help address this and other challenges these new small business owners face. A good example of this type of networking is the annual "Industry Day" event that our ABD program hosts for its participants. This marketing-focused day provides an opportunity for these aspiring aquaculturists to establish relationships with buyers, wholesalers, restaurants, and retailers.

From shellfish growers and farmers to doctors and home-grown clean energy businesses, a wide range of Mainers testified today in support of a bipartisan bill to spark action on climate change. "An Act to Limit Greenhouse Gas Pollution and Effectively Use Maine’s Natural Resources" (LD 797) would set Maine on a clear path forward for tackling climate change by reducing carbon pollution and growing local economies, while protecting families and businesses from the worst effects of the changing climate. Read more in this news release from the Natural Resources Council of Maine.

March 13, 2019

Broadband Policy Update: Winter 2019

Broadband has been receiving a lot of attention in Augusta lately due to the valuable role it plays in helping communities thrive. From K-12 and college education to health care, tourism, and even farming, access to high-speed internet is vital in ensuring that Maine communities can thrive in today's national and global marketplace. What is the role of state leadership, and where do communities need support to drive action? Learn more in this latest policy update from Senior Policy Officer Nick Battista.

February 8, 2019

On Friday, February 8, 2019, the Island Institute hosted the third annual Waypoints Forum, an afternoon of discussions focused on the future of our coastal and island communities and the challenges facing Maine's rapidly changing coast. The theme, "Intersections and Impacts: Collaborating for Maine's Changing Coast," highlighted the defining issues impacting our working waterfronts, our workforce and economy, and our coastal communities preparing for threats from sea level rise and climate shifts. Presentations and discussions helped provide a better understanding of what we can do to build a more resilient coast.

April 4 to April 5

The 2019 Artists & Makers Conference will take place Thursday, April 4th from 2:00-6:30 p.m. and Friday, April 5th from 8:15 a.m.-5:00 p.m at Point Lookout in Northport, Maine. Join us for a full slate of information, networking, and presentations tailored to the needs of Maine's arts-based businesses. This year, the conference will begin Thursday afternoon and continue all day Friday—sign up for one day or two! The conference is open to all artists and makers who live and produce work in Maine.

Commercial Currents: Life and Business Balance—Part 2

Last month, we talked about the dilemma of most small business owners and how a business can take over your personal life. We hope the piece gave you pause to think about parts of your life that may be out of balance and some steps you might want to take to re-align your business and personal lives. This month, as we close out the calendar, take a breath, and begin to think about tax season, it’s a great time to talk about some business management practices that may help your business—and your life—run a little smoother.

Helping Maine's aspiring aquaculturists get started

Have you ever wondered what aquaculture was about or what it would be like to have your own farm for mussels, oysters or kelp? Now is a great time to begin your own aquaculture business right here in Maine. Through the Aquaculture Business Development (ABD) program, the Island Institute is working to help fisherman and people from coastal communities diversify into shellfish or seaweed aquaculture. Join the Island Institute's fourth Aquaculture Business Development cohort—Applications open February 1, 2019!

ROCKLAND—Join Archipelago to celebrate the quiet light of winter in Maine with the reception for its new gallery show on Friday, November 23rd. The Island Institute’s store and gallery will host a special artists’ reception from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., during Rockland’s Festival of Lights Celebration. The show, which includes paintings, carved wall pieces, prints, ceramics, wood folk carvings, and more from a variety of Maine artists will run through the winter.

The Island Institute has published Waypoints: Livelihoods on Maine’s Coast and Islands featuring a first-time look at a range of coastal community employment indicators. The report presents visualized data and stories about how residents make a living and how Maine’s coastal and island communities compare to the rest of the state and the nation. It is a resource for local community and municipal leaders, state and federal representatives, agency staff, and research partners who are seeking to better understand the complex factors shaping the coastal Maine workforce.