CES works to provide opportunities for young people in Maine to develop entrepreneurial and workforce skills through mentorship and internships in a community-based social enterprise.
WHO WE ARE
We are a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization that develops business enterprises for disadvantaged youth. Our goal is to empower the youth by providing them with the necessary tools and resources to start and grow their own businesses. We believe that entrepreneurship is a powerful tool for creating positive change in the world.
The Center for Entrepreneurial Studies is a Maine 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation created by Bonita Tompkins and her Entrepreneurial Program students in the Spring of 2018. This group desired to create a thriving organization where students could obtain work to advance themselves, remove personal barriers, raise aspirations, discover passions, and develop their businesses.
The Center for Entrepreneurial Studies (CES) offers opportunities for career pathways where students can take charge of their learning during their High School Senior Year or second year of CTE Programming. That pathway is Entrepreneurship and being your own boss. In doing so, the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies assists the individual with work/job creation, personal growth, and business knowledge in a field the student is interested in.
2018 - Bonita Tompkins pitches a project and puts forth a funding request to Skowhegan Savings Bank following the award of a Shark-tank competition involving one of her entrepreneurial students. Skowhegan Savings Bank encourages the large-scale formation of the organization, and students become determined. The instructor and graduated students pursue piloting the project to assist students with accessing Internships and Entrepreneurial opportunities.
2019 - Students continue to develop the enterprise throughout the school year by creating logos, a bank account, a website, a business plan, and incorporation. CES becomes a 501(c)(3).
2020 - CES is approached by a Downtown Business to pursue the development of a Retail store following the closure of three (3) anchor gift and retail stores in Farmington. CES fills a need by opening a 3,000 sq. ft. retail storefront with plans for a professional Makerspace in downtown Farmington for Youth to pursue creating, selling, and workforce skill development. Two weeks later, CES is shut down due to COVID-19. CES cautiously opened its doors on July 18, 2020, with items purchased from traditional wholesalers and products made by student entrepreneurs. Despite COVID-19, CES garners strong community support.
2021 - CES completes its first grant with the Libra Foundation to develop Youth-focused social enterprises based on experiences with Youth at the Gift Store. CES decides to fill a second "community need" and forms a grassroots social enterprise titled "Making Home Possible" to build Mobile Tiny Homes for vulnerable populations. Students hire an architect and chassis manufacturer to build two chassis to commence building for Homeless Youth.
2022 - CES signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with The Alfond Youth Community Center (AYCC) to take over a Dept. of Health & Human Services (DHHS) grant titled "Improving Outcomes for Youth". CES secures a 6-acre parcel on the local High School road to ensure accessibility and to develop its Youth Center focused on Workforce Development, Internships, and Entrepreneurship to develop leaders.
2023 - CES secures Congressionally Directed Spending for a Planning Year to develop a Youth Center based on pilot work completed.
Downtown Farmington Gift shoP& Makerspace
Our retail store is a part of our mission to support the youth entrepreneurs. We offer a wide range of products, including handmade crafts, artisanal foods, and unique gifts. Every purchase at our store goes towards supporting our cause of empowering the youth. We are also building tiny homes for homeless youth in Maine. Our goal is to provide safe and affordable housing for the youth who are at risk of homelessness. We believe that everyone deserves a safe and stable place to call home.