The Aroostook Partnership is once again looking for exceptional entrepreneurs in Aroostook County and is soliciting nominations for the 2017 Aroostook Entrepreneur of the Year.

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The Aroostook’s Entrepreneur – 2017 Award will be given to a business leader who demonstrates excellence and extraordinary success in such areas as innovation and personal commitment to their business and community.

Partnership Chairman Chris Anderson said Entrepreneur of the Year is very important for the organization and Aroostook.

“One of the biggest challenges Aroostook faces is finding qualified entrepreneurs,” he added. “Entrepreneurs create prosperity and build wealth for the community. Entrepreneurs attract younger energetic workers. Whether they own or run existing businesses or decide to start a new business, the entrepreneur is a catalyst for new business development of all kinds.”

Aroostook Partnership President Bob Dorsey said the competition has undergone a few changes this year.

“The competition this year will have a weighting system to add a bit more structure to it,” said Dorsey. “Also, we’ll have more business representation on the selection board who have firsthand knowledge of the challenges of growing a business. And with the Partnership’s emphasis on growing existing small and medium sized businesses that are already established, I believe more consideration will be given to mature business entrepreneurs versus in the past which tended to favor new businesses or young entrepreneurs.”

A panel of eight judges, one from each of the supporting organizations, Husson University, Northern Maine Community College, University of Maine at Fort Kent, University of Maine at Presque Isle and four business representatives will select the finalists and ultimate winner.

Nominations must be received by April 21, 2017 at 2 p.m. There is no fee for nominations and self-nominations are encouraged. Previous nominees are eligible to be nominated again. Program details and a nomination form are available for download at www.aroostookpartnership.org. To be eligible for consideration, nominees must be the founder, owner, or manager of a private or public company; be primarily responsible for the recent performance of the company or organization; and be an active member of top management.

The nominees will be recognized and the winner will receive a plaque and a check for $1,000 at a special recognition dinner tentatively set for May 18 at Northern Maine Community College. Second and third runners up will receive $500 and $250 respectively.

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