March 10, 2021
(Portland, ME) The Maine Center for Entrepreneurs (MCE) has awarded the first of a series of Diversity Scholarships to Top Gun 2021 participant Community Staffing Partners in Lewiston, Maine.
Over the years MCE has successfully increased participation among women on our Board of Directors, client businesses, and mentors, however, we believe more attention must be given to promote racial inclusion and diversity. This led to MCE releasing a formal Inclusion statement outlining a number of measurable goals to ensure this gap is being addressed within our business community.
As one of our goals, a $500.00 scholarship has been awarded to cover the Top Gun fee for a client company that promotes racial and gender diversity and inclusion. A review team at MCE awarded the scholarship based on the following criteria: 1) the business must be headquartered in Maine; 2) the business must demonstrate the business readiness to be accepted into the Top Gun program, and 3) the business must demonstrate that they have a business model or culture that actively supports inclusivity and diversity in Maine.
“Given Community Staffing Partner’s mission of helping to build a diverse and inclusive workforce across Maine by assisting foreign-trained New Mainers enter the Maine workforce, Community Staffing Partners was a natural fit for this first award”, says Top Gun Manager Laurie Johnson.
“Our organization exists to serve our community and promotes Maine workforce that is diverse, inclusive and equitable. We are honored to have been selected as the recipient of this scholarship award which will allow us to continue to develop and fulfill our mission. On behalf of everyone at Community Staffing Partners, please accept our sincere gratitude for this scholarship opportunity,” Mohamed Awil, Founding Partner of Community Staffing Partners LLC
Top Gun is supported by corporate and non-profit sponsors, the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development, the Center for Graduate and Professional Studies, local businesses, partner economic development organizations, and dozens of volunteer advisors and mentors around the state. Additionally, the Maine Technology Institute has provided a $25,000 cash prize to be awarded at a final statewide Showcase pitch-off to be held in May 2021.
About Top Gun and MCE:
Top Gun is an annual program for competitively selected entrepreneurs that combines mentoring with high-impact weekly learning sessions held in Portland, Bangor, Lewiston/Auburn, and Waterville. Beginning with just a dozen entrepreneurs in Portland in 2009, Top Gun has helped 200+ entrepreneurs across the state accelerate their businesses. MCE was established in 1997 to build and lead a community of growth-oriented businesses in Maine by providing the training, connections, coaching and mentors. Over its 20-year history, the organization has accelerated the growth of hundreds of businesses and established a mentor network of over 200 members. In 2020 alone, MCE served 34 Top Gun startup companies, and 23 later-stage food industry companies that participated in our Cultivator and MarketShare programs.