Business Assistance & Training

The Foundation provides a wide range of assistance to new and existing sporting camp owners. For instance, sporting camp owners are provided with the information they need to maintain, expand or acquire their small businesses through one-on-one consultation, training, workshops, seminars, peer networks and other services. One-on-one business consultation is tailored to meet the needs of the business owner; training and workshops are offered on a range of business issues. The Foundation also provides a financial assistance program that includes loans and grants, to help address a range of financial challenges and economic conditions.

Business & Technical Assistance

The Foundation provides sporting camp owners and operators with access to business and marketing expertise in order to enable them to better manage and market their operations. The Foundation also partners with other organizations, including the Maine Small Business Development Centers, Maine Office of Tourism, the U.S. Small Business Administration and Maine Cooperative Extension, to provide meaningful information and technical assistance to camp owners on topics ranging from general business issues, marketing and advertising, new product and service offerings, and preparing business plans and budgets.

One-on-one business consultation is provided to potential and existing sporting camp business owners and managers. Often, this is accomplished through one of the Foundation’s partners, such as the Maine Small Business Development Center (Maine SBDC) at Coastal Enterprises (CEI), or the University of Maine Cooperative Extension. Assistance is provided in the following areas:

  • Business start-up/acquisition
  • Marketing and sales
  • Market research
  • Product & Service Development
  • Accounting & Record Keeping
  • Budgeting & Cash Flow Analysis
  • Operations
  • Personnel Management & Training
  • Credit and Financing
  • Loan Packaging
  • Business Liquidation/Sale
  • Various other business issues

Product & Service Development

A special component of the Foundation’s business assistance programs is directed at helping sporting camps and related support businesses to better understand their markets, become more financially sustainable and therefore better contributors to local economies.

A key weakness common to these businesses is a lack of understanding of basic marketing principles, and recent trends in their potential customer base. The Foundation assists sporting camps in these areas by working individually and more broadly through other education methods such as seminars, conferences and workshops.

In addition the more vibrant sporting camp industry, The Foundation also helps to develop ancillary businesses that will serve the sporting camps, the visitors to the sporting camps, or will make direct use of the increased tourism opportunities provided by the Foundation’s cultural and conservation programs.

More about our Product & Service Development Program….

Training & Education – Small Business & Workforce Development

The Foundation sponsors training seminars and conferences on a range of business-related topics. Training events are held at key locations around the state; minimal fees are sometimes charged. Programs are geared to local and regional needs as well as to fundamental business subjects.

As a general matter, many camp owners and operators are experienced professional guides whose background is in providing outdoors recreational experiences to their guests.  Many of these individuals do not have specific training or expertise in the “business side” of their operations.

Lack of general business knowledge, and more specifically marketing, has prevented these small businesses from developing effective business plans, developing new product offerings, using modern advertising methods to expand their customer base, and preparing budgets that could attract bank loans. One of the findings of the Gore Flynn study was that this lack of expertise had contributed to the camps’ economic plight.

Loans and Investments that Meet the Foundation’s Mission

The Foundation’s mission guides our loan and investment decision-making. The Foundation assists sporting camp businesses so they can contribute economically to the community, employ local workers, are environmentally responsible, and provide the public with the unique culture, heritage and outdoor experiences that sporting camps have preserved for well over a century.

The Foundation provides financial assistance that will:

  • Preserve the “Maine Sporting Camp” culture, heritage, architecture and outdoor traditions that began in the mid-1800’s, and were documented by many such as Henry David Thoreau.
  • Provide an opportunity for sporting camps and local businesses to become self sustainable, improve the economy of depressed regions of Maine, and to bring a positive change for the borrower, the area’s unemployed, or seasonally employed. We are interested in the long term employment potential of each loan or investment and we ask our borrowers to work with staff to open new job opportunities to those who are in need of employment. For example, we look to assist businesses that plan to hire and train new employees, train/hire/apprentice local youth, or improve part-time or seasonal positions to full-time or year-round employment.
  • Protect and improve the stewardship of natural resources, so it may be enjoyed by the public and become an economic asset to the local area. The Foundation is committed to helping sporting camps succeed while preserving the quality of Maine’s environment. One depends upon the other. We encourage and help sporting camps to identify the ecological aspects of their surroundings, and to developing practices that benefit both the environment and the business’ bottom line. Our interest is in assisting businesses that provide services that are environmentally friendly and sustainable.
  • Generate a viable and sustainable financial return, either by maintaining or creating profits, return on investment or a tangible asset.

More about our Loan Assistance Program

More about our Grant Assistance Program

Land Leasing

In some instances, the Foundation will acquire leased property in the event it is offered for sale by the landowner, and will then provide the camp operator with affordable lease terms that would not otherwise be available had the owner obtained commercial financing for the acquisition. A common element here is the difficulty in obtaining any commercial financing when the common land leases have only one year terms.

As the owner of the property, the Foundation would be in a position to act as a steward for the camp’s continued operations and to ensure that it remained available for the use and enjoyment by the general public.

Eligibility for this assistance requires a camp owner or operator to demonstrate either that they were unable to secure their own commercial financial or that doing so would threaten the camp’s financial viability.

Contact us for more about our Leasing Program.