BIDDEFORD — Wednesday morning, students in Women Work and Community’s Business Basics class, held at the Biddeford + Saco Chamber of Commerce and Industry, were punching numbers into calculators and recording figures onto worksheets.

The students, all interested in owning a small business, were creating model business plans with the help of teacher Gigi Guyton.

Student Elizabeth Pierce, of Cumberland, is thinking about an interior landscaping business creating “living walls” or vertical gardens.

Pierce said though she comes from a family of “self-starters,” and successful business owners, she wasn’t sure how to best go about making her dream of owning a business a reality.

She said she was taking the class to learn if her business idea was feasible and to get some tips on branding.

James Jasper, business development coordinator with the chamber, said the membership organization occasionally receives calls from people who want to start a business, but don’t how to go about it. Providing space for Women Work and Community’s classes is one of the ways of the chamber can help those wanting to start

a business.

The chamber looks for ways that it can be a resource for businesses, whether they are in their infancy or well-established, said Jasper. For example, he recently encouraged people to vote online for a downtown business in the running for a grant. Other ways it can provide assistance is to help complimentary businesses, such as a bridal shop and flower store, cross promote, or to connect a potential business looking for a location with a real estate agent.

“I want every business that opens to succeed,” said Jasper. “It doesn’t help anyone to see a business close.”

— Staff Writer Liz Gotthelf can be contacted at 282-1535, ext. 325 or [email protected]

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