Thanks to this newspaper for an excellent article about the Maine business, OriginUSA (“Industry man wasn’t happy with his company’s jiu jitsu apparel imports, so he became the manufacturer,” Aug. 22). We need a thousand more businesses like this in Maine, and we can achieve that if we want to, and get our priorities straight.

If you were thinking of investing in stocks, would you choose companies with a 15 percent return or a 45 percent return? Locally owned companies return that 45 percent to the local economy, but our state and local leaders prefer the 15-percenters — large out-of-state companies that come here only to extract as much wealth as possible.

OriginUSA manufactures and exports high-quality gis, or kimonos, for jiu jitsu participants. Who would have thought of that? Creative Mainers, that’s who.

There are thousands of people with great creative ideas that can contribute to the growth of our state. But for many the task is daunting. There is much to accomplish and starting a business requires money. With encouragement and financial help, Maine could with some investment reap great returns.

With any luck, our state and local leaders will rethink their economic development priorities. But we don’t need to wait for them. Have a great idea? Get people together to form partnerships and cooperatives so that you can share resources and responsibilities. There are several organizations in Maine ready to help with expertise and finances, such as Coastal Enterprise Institute, Cooperative Fund of New England, Maine Development Foundation, Cooperative Development Institute, and various state programs. With their help you can pursue your dream.

Let us break free of this system that keeps us trapped in a cycle of low wages and dependency. Like the Sam Bush song says, “Don’t be somebody else’s fool, you’ve got to play by your own rules.” What are you waiting for?

Brad Sherwood

Waterville

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