The Maine Center for Entrepreneurs (MCE) is committed to promoting racial and gender diversity and inclusion in the programs we offer and in our workplace. We have successfully increased participation among women on our Board of Directors, client businesses, and mentors, however, upon reflection, we believe more needs to be done to address racial inclusion. While we have worked with eleven African American, Latino, Asian American, or Native American owned businesses over the past five years, we acknowledge that this number is relatively small.
We are taking the following steps to address this:
* We will review our recruitment and business practices, and have started a dialog to identify potential risks for perpetuating any form of systematic racism and racial injustice. This includes staff training with professionals specialized in this field.
* We will conduct targeted outreach to increase awareness of our services and encourage participation by Black, Asian, Latino, and Native American Mainers to put their innovative business ideas into action, benefitting the participants themselves and contributing to the state’s economy.
* We submitted a grant proposal to the U.S. Department of Commerce last May that specifically focuses on increasing racial diversity in our entrepreneurial programming across the state.
* At the end of 2020, several board seats on MCE’s Board of Directors will be open. We are committed to filling these positions in a way that strengthens our organization with greater gender, age, and racial diversity. We will do the same as we grow our network of 180 volunteer mentors in the Maine Mentor Network.
* We are creating several program scholarships for Maine entrepreneurs with the goal of racial inclusion.
The team at MCE believes that actions speak louder than words, and we will redouble our efforts to make Maine a more inclusive and welcoming state for everyone.
The Maine Center for Entrepreneurs Team