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Building a Brighter Future

The MaineStreet Business Building will support Washington County entrepreneurs and small business owners as they create jobs and prosperity in our community!

Help us bring MaineStreet Business Building to Main Street, Machias!

What We’re Doing to

Grow Business

A Physical Space

Coworking, Coaching, and

A Comprehensive Training Program

Accredited coursework, technical trainings, and networking events

A Network of Business Connectors

Over 30 collaborative non profit and for profit partners building better business in Washington County

startup downeast

Sunrise County Economic Council is launching a new co-working space and business incubator in downtown Machias. Using critical investment from the Maine Community Foundation’s Start Up Scale Up initiative, we continue to develop coordinated sets of start-up programs, workshops, and events to create skill development opportunities and a deeper sense of community among our small businesses.

Bill MacDonald

“Connecting knowledgeable, energetic, and articulate professionals with the participants who were open to questions was a great aspect to a number of the sessions. This program has already transformed the lives of my adult students. They are in a program that does not have direct Internet access, yet they apply themselves to the work with great ardor. The Pathways experience has opened doors for them that were once closed and has given them hope where once they had none. We are immensely grateful for this opportunity!”

Pathways Participant

“The class increased my knowledge of many basic business concepts and introduced me to some of the resources that are available. The panelists were incredible and there was great depth and range of topics. A special shoutout to Denise for her poised facilitation and welcoming vibe.”

Deborah Staggs - journey's End

“The Partners in Entrepreneurial Pathways Class was fantastic! I learned so much about all the different business programs and supports that are available to business owners in Maine. Thanks to Denise Cilley and all her hard work making every class so interesting and unique! My business has benefited by all the connections that I made through this class and I have shared many of the resources with other business owners that I know as well. A great use of my time!”

Pathways Participant

“Having access to a diverse group of panelists and instructors was one of the great benefits of taking the course. Not only did I have the opportunity to hear firsthand from professionals in their respective fields, I also got a better understanding of the extensive network that is needed to start a small business. It has given me access to a network, which I believe I wouldn’t have access to otherwise, and gave me a framework to seriously deal with business ideas.”

Sandy Patrick - GONE Snowmowbiling

“I cannot say enough great things about Denise Cilley. I found her to be extremely helpful, informative, organized, patient and kind.”

Pathways Participant

“This is a great class, very useful, helpful, informational, and motivating. It is also very encouraging for students wanting to further their education. The group of supporters, mentors, advisors, and overall resources were great! Thank you guys for all your time and insight.”

Guy Woodruff - Iron Horse Hunting Supply

“This is a valuable program that any business owner should consider. I was able to avoid pitfalls by learning from others and got a grant as well. This course is like someone handing you a deed to a gold mine that has a diamond mine on it!”

Pathways Participant

“This entire series was great and has given me the push to really take my business mainstream. You should repeat it in the future so that those who did not attend can do so in the future can take advantage.”

Construction is complete!

Construction is complete!

The MaineStreet Business Building Capital Campaign finished strong at $1.28 million in received and pledged contributions! Additional pledges from...

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We Have Already Started

Virtual Training

In the face of the pandemic and the need to shift to online commerce, Sunrise County Economic Council worked with partners to create a new training series, Doing Business NOW, that combines virtual, asynchronous trainings with archived materials and one-on-one coaching. This series focuses on social media, online marketing, and selling to the government. Local subject matter experts developed the trainings and are providing the coaching. This helps connect entrepreneurs to local experts and provides revenue to those consultants in an uncertain time.

Ashley Dhakal

Ashley Dhakal

AHD Design

Jillian Taylor

Jillian Taylor

Community Clicks

Katie Bragg

Katie Bragg






Fall 2020 brought a collaboration among MaineStreet Business Building, Washington County Community College, and partners resulting in the launch of Partners in Entrepreneurial Pathways. This 10 week, 3-credit online course offers free college credit to WCCC students and is designed to promote entrepreneurship and small business ownership as a viable and attractive career pathway and connect participants with a large network of regional and statewide mentors. The Washington County small business community were offered the option of auditing some or all sessions at no cost. This created a unique and dynamic learning environment.

MaineStreet Business Building

Start Up Downeast is gearing up now! This pilot program provides coaching, personal finance and business plan skill-building, and barrier removal support for Washington County Community College students in selected majors who have a goal of starting or purchasing their own business. Developed in partnership with the State of Maine and the College, this

innovative program will use USDA SNAP Employment & Training resources to help students in low- to moderate-income households pursue entrepreneurship as a career path. This is the first time that these federal funds will be used to promote Maine Entrepreneurship, and we hope that this work can be expanded to other regions.

In Our Partners’ Words

“SCEC has been providing essential programming for Washington County entrepreneurs for many years. The MaineStreet Business Building creates a center of gravity for that work as well as a physical and virtual hub that connects entrepreneurs with the tools to grow and scale. FocusMaine looks forward to working with SCEC and other Center partners across our efforts in agriculture, aquaculture, and the value-added food economy. The new Center will only make these collaborations easier resulting in more support for Maine’s emerging businesses and more good jobs in Washington County.”


Kimberly Hamilton, FocusMaine President

“The cohort model the Center is proposing is an exciting addition to Washington County offerings and one we’ve seen proven successful to boost aspirations of small business ownership in a community. We look forward to helping in program design and advising clients.”



“The Center will bring collaboration of area non-profits and businesses, building an entrepreneurial ecosystem. Machias Savings Bank understands the importance of small businesses in our rural community. We also understand the challenges. We will continue to partner with SCEC to help plan, promote, and participate in strengthening our small businesses. I look forward to this project moving forward.”



“The MaineStreet Business Building will be an incredible asset to Washington County and will provide a laboratory for groundbreaking entrepreneurial development, nurturing, and support. WCCC is committed to continuing as an active partner in new and ongoing dynamic programming.”


Nichole Sawyer, Washington County Community College Dean of Workforce & Professional Development

“We support the establishment of the MaineStreet Business Building, a small business incubator and shared work environment in downtown, Machias, Maine. For many years, the University of Maine at Machias has enjoyed a rich partnership with SCEC and is pleased to support SCEC in this next phase of its strategic development.”


Rebecca Bragg, University of Maine at Machias Assistant Professor of Business & Entrepreneurial Studies


“I believe that MaineStreet Business Building will have a significant impact on the economic growth of Washington County. EMDC is looking forward to being an active partner and participant in the new Center.”




$1.05 million in Capital Costs with an $155,000 operating budget.

Machias Savings Bank launched our capital campaign with the gift of 19 Main Street and a pledge of $200,000. Local businesses, other banks, and foundations have donated another $60,000 to the project, and we have added $200,000 of our own. With the recent Northern Border Regional Commission award of $345,000, the building project is over 75 percent funded, with $250,000 to go to construct and launch the Center!

Help us bring MaineStreet Business Building to Main Street, Machias!

The Future of 19 Main Street

Pending funding, construction
starts Fall 2021!

Sunrise County Economic Council’s Building Committee voted on the final layout and design of MaineStreet Business Building in October of 2020.

 Supporting our Entrepreneurial Community

“As an entrepreneur in a rural area, it is a challenge to obtain assistance and resources that are imperative for operating and growing a small business. I believe this local center of collaboration and expert training would be a catalyst for future economic success in our area. My goal is to expand my business, offering more well-paying jobs to the people of Down East Maine. This will enable them to stay here, make a decent living, and raise their families in our close-knit communities. The center will be instrumental in making that vision a reality.”


“I am confident that the training and collaborative programming intention of the new center will be useful to my practice as a contracted public health, and school
nurse. I fully intend to attend and/or host trainings and programming that will help me with my goals of continuing public health education and promoting collaborative community support.”


“A staunch advocate of supporting solopreneurs and creating vibrant coworking communities, I’m confident that the MaineStreet Business Building will be very beneficial. It’s my intention to become a coworking member when the center is up and running, as well as taking part in relevant trainings and programming as I continue to grow the scope & scale of my business. The center will be a major asset to the town of Machias and Washington County—especially to our micro and small businesses.”


“As senior faculty in the Business Studies Department of WCCC, I envision utilizing the center to provide off-campus training as well as student internships and mentorships for students in our Entrepreneurship program. From a personal perspective, the center will be a great environment for my upcoming business venture, which will provide business training and services to Washington County businesses. Shared workspace in the centrally located hub will allow me to meet with clients in a professional, comfortable atmosphere. In addition, having business advisors and resources in-house to assist with my goals of establishing and cultivating my business will help with its development, growth, and success.”


We are launching a mentor program where successful local business owners, like Bill Burke of Pat’s Pizza in Machias, will coach individuals who have a passion for starting their own businesses.

Bill delivered free pizzas to Down East Community Hospital & Affiliates across Washington County to show appreciation to staff who have cared for our community throughout the pandemic.

Sign up

Contact Us

Denise Cilley, Entrepreneurship Program Director

207.255.0983 x223 | Cell: 207.620.2192

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Construction is complete!

The MaineStreet Business Building Capital Campaign finished strong at $1.28 million in received and pledged contributions! Additional pledges from individuals and a $243,000 contribution from Libra Foundation helped us reach, and exceed, our initial $1.055 million...

Our Commitment

MaineStreet Business Building will be a hub of vibrant networking for entrepreneurs throughout Washington County. Training and program innovations are an important start in realizing this vision. Listening to our small business community to provide what they need, along with strengthening partnerships, will help us build a brighter future.