The Maine Small Business Development Centers, a statewide program that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses, has received a $100,000 grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration to help former millworkers thrive as entrepreneurs.

The SBDC said Wednesday that it will use the funds to develop a program that will provide entrepreneurial advising and training for potential and existing business owners in the Madison and Jay areas who have been adversely affected by the layoffs and closures of the Androscoggin Mill and Madison Paper Industries.

The program will be a collaborative effort of the SBDC in association with Coastal Enterprises Inc., Androscoggin Valley Council of Governments, New Ventures Maine and other local economic development organizations, according to a news release.

The program will be designed to equip entrepreneurs and anyone interested in starting a business with a broad range of knowledge necessary to successfully develop and grow a small business, it said.

The SBDC will staff business advising outreach offices in both Madison and Jay, where a certified business adviser will be available to meet with new and existing businesses to discuss challenges and opportunities confidentially and at no cost, the release said.

Those seeking more information can call 319-4316 (Madison) or 783-9186 (Jay) or visit the SBDC website at

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