MDF and Maine Entreprenuers Featured in Wall Street Journal Article

MDF’s Maine Downtown Center Senior Program Director, Anne Ball was among the Maine subject matter experts and business owners quoted in an in-depth Wall Street Jounral article, “The Math Problem Stymieing Small Businesses in Rural America”.

Through the story of Amber Lambke of Skowhegan and her company, Maine Grains, the piece highlights the challenge many rural entrepreneurs and small businesses face when trying to find space to operate and/or expand. Here’s an excerpt:

“Low valuations and a lack of recent comparable sales affect both commercial and residential appraisals, with spillover effects for local businesses. They make it tough for rural entrepreneurs to tap home equity, a common form of startup financing, or use their homes as collateral for a small-business loan. They also create roadblocks for developers seeking to build new homes to retain and attract new residents and hamper wealth-building in rural areas.

‘It’s disheartening,’ said Anne Ball, program director of the Maine Development Foundation, a nonprofit working on rural economic development in the state. ‘Amber is the poster child of a really successful businesswoman with a successful business solving important food issues.’ The challenges facing rural entrepreneurs such as Lambke will only increase as inflation and rising wages widen the gap between the cost of new projects and the value of existing properties, Ball said.”