WATERVILLE — Thomas College and Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce will host a business breakfast on “Your Small Business Toolkit — Free Resources to Help You Grow Your Business” 7:15-9 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 13, in the Spann Student Commons Summit Room, Thomas College, 180 West River Road.

From business plan assistance to introduction to lending resources to floor layout of your manufacturing line, the panel of Maine Small Business Development Center, Small Business Administration & Coastal Enterprises, Inc. will help you start, scale and grow your business. The session will be moderated by Central Maine Growth Council’s Garvan Donegan.

The panel includes Bill Card of Small Business Administration, Linda Diou, branch manager for Mid-Coast & Mid-Maine SCORE, Nathaniel Henshaw, president of CEI Ventures and Allison Watson, business counselor of CEI’s SBDC.

Bill Card is an economic development specialist with the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Maine District Office. He has been with the agency for eight years, focusing on creating high-visibility SBA events, and representing the SBA at events and training workshops in Maine. Prior to joining the SBA, Card was a regional manager for U.S. Sen. Susan Collins’s staff, Card started and ran his own small business, Title Checks Inc., for 15 years.

Linda Diou is the branch manager for Mid-Maine, Mid-Coast SCORE, offering free and confidential mentoring for all stages of business. She is a past member and chair of the Maine Technology Institute Board of Directors, which provides funding to technology entrepreneurs.

Prior to SCORE, Diou managed a biotechnology company achieving: double digit revenue growth year over year for most of her 14 years, 20-30 percent operating income, led two acquisitions from analysis to due diligence and successful integration. She received ISO 9001:2000 best practices designation for business and quality metrics and goal setting tied to strategy. Diou enjoys working with small businesses to overcome obstacles and achieve their goals. She assists many businesses with the processes to get their business started.

Nathaniel Henshaw, also known as Nat, serves as the president of CEI Ventures, Inc. and has been its managing director since 1994. Henshaw serves as the managing director of Tilson Technology Management. Henshaw co-founded CEI Ventures in 1994. He serves as president and managing director of Coastal Ventures Limited Partnership and Coastal Ventures II LLC. Henshaw made his first CEI equity investment in 1988 and was responsible for developing CEI’s venture capital program. He co-founded Community Development Venture Capital Alliance (CDVCA) in 1994 and serves as its corporate secretary. He earned his BA from Duke University and his MBA from Duke’s Fuqua School of Business.

Allison Watson is a Small Business Development Center adviser, providing one-on-one counseling and support to start-ups and existing businesses in northern Kennebec and Somerset counties. She comes to the Maine SBDC with a depth and breadth of experience in economic development, education, energy and health care.  Watson spent several years in the energy industry working with industrial and commercial businesses, teaching business and technology courses. Most recently she was CFO and senior director of operations at a healthcare non-profit. Watson earned her B.S. in Business Administration from Thomas College and continued at Thomas to earn both a Master’s in Computer Technology in Education and an MBA.

Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce holds monthly informative presentations on a variety of educational business topics at Thomas College’s Spann Student Commons. The cost of the Business Breakfast is $18 for members, $25 at the door & for non-members. Breakfast is included with the reservation. To register, e-mail programs@midmainechamber.com or call 873-3315.

Thomas College’s Harold Alfond Institute for Business Innovation, working with the Central Maine Growth Council, is sponsoring a new effort to showcase budding entrepreneurs in our region at the Business Breakfast Series. Fifteen minutes prior to the start of the breakfast speakers, the featured Entrepreneurial Spotlight speaker will be asked to highlight his or her product or service. September will feature Carrie LeDuc founder of GenoTyping Center of America.

The sponsors for the Business Breakfast are: AT&T; People’s United Bank; Cross Employee Benefits; Nicholson, Michaud & Company; O’Donnell, Lee, McCowan & Phillips, LLC; print media sponsor Morning Sentinel, a division of Maine Today Media, Inc. and radio sponsor MIX107.9.

About Thomas College: Celebrating its 125th anniversary, Thomas College offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in programs ranging from business, entrepreneurship, and technology, to education, criminal justice, and psychology. Its Guaranteed Job Program, the first of its kind in the nation, is built on students’ academic, career, and leadership preparation. Thomas is also home to the Harold Alfond Institute for Business Innovation and the Center for Innovation in Education. Money Magazine recently ranked Thomas 23rd in the country for adding the most value to their degrees, and data reported by the New York Times ranks Thomas in the top 15 percent of all college and universities in the U.S. for upward mobility of its graduates. For more information, visit www.thomas.edu or contact MacKenzie Riley at rileym@thomas.edu or 207-859-1313.

About Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce: is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting and advocating for business prosperity and regional economic improvement.  Its region includes the towns of Albion, Belgrade, Benton, Branch Mills, Burnham, China, Clinton, Fairfield, Hinckley, Oakland, Rome, Shawmut, Sidney, South China, Thorndike, Unity, Vassalboro, Waterville, Weeks Mills and Winslow.  For more information on the Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce, including how to become a member, call (207) 873-3315 or visit www.midmainechamber.com.