Building a Brighter Future

The Machias Valley Center for Entrepreneurship will support Washington County entrepreneurs and small business owners as they create jobs and prosperity in our community!

Help us bring Machias Valley Center for Entrepreneurship 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

Machias Valley Center for Entreprenuership

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

We Have Already Started

Virtual Training

In the face of the pandemic and the need to shift to online commerce, Sunrise County Economic Council collaborated 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 otherwise uncertain time.

Ashley Dhakal

Ashley Dhakal

AHD Design

Jillian Taylor

Jillian Taylor

Community Clicks

Katie Bragg

Katie Bragg






Fall 2020 brought a collaboration among Machias Valley Center for Entrepreneurship, Washington County Community College, and partners resulting in the launch of Partners in Entrepreneurial Pathways business incubator and accelerator courses. These courses are accredited through the Maine Community College System, offer micro-credentials, and have been adapted as equivalent alternates across WCCC’s entrepreneurship certificate and business degree programs. These courses offer free college credit to WCCC students and are 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. Small business owners and community members were offered the option of auditing some or all sessions at no cost which created a unique and dynamic learning environment!

Click here to learn more about our Fall/Spring programming!

Machias Valley Center for Entrepreneurship

Start Up Downeast provides up to two years of coaching, personal finance and business plan skill-building, and barrier removal support for Washington County residents who are eligible for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Employment & Training services, interested in enrolling at Washington County Community College, and 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 the future.

Check it out!

20-minute info session

covering program details and introducing partners and available resources…




Click here

to inquire or apply today!

In Our Partners’ Words

“SCEC has been providing essential programming for Washington County entrepreneurs for many years. The Machias Valley Center for Entrepreneurship 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 Machias Valley Center for Entrepreneurship 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 Machias Valley Center for Entrepreneurship, 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 Machias Valley Center for Entrepreneurship 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 a $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 Machias Valley Center for Entrepreneurship 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 Machias Valley Center for Entrepreneurship 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 Machias Valley Center for Entrepreneurship 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.

Contact Us

Denise Cilley, Entrepreneurship Program Director

207.255.0983 x223 | Cell: 207.620.2192

recent news

First National Bank supports entrepreneurship center

      First National Bank recently announced a $15,000 contribution to the Sunrise County Economic Council towards the future Machias Valley Center for Entrepreneurship.   Located at 19 Main St. in Machias, the Machias Valley Center for...

Our Commitment

Machias Valley Center for Entrepreneurship 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.