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June 14, 2012

Entreverge awards highlight Portland entrepreneurs

Five Portland small businesses ranging from a popular food truck to a new flea market received awards at Wednesday night's entreverge event held at Grace restaurant.

Entreverge recognizes local businesses that exhibit a scalable vision for the future and a long-term commitment to the people, place and prosperity of Maine, according to Laura LeBrun Duplissis, communications and marketing manager at Portland Regional Chamber. Since 2009, PROPEL, a Portland-based network of young business leaders, has produced the event.

"Entrepreneurs are the innovators of the greater Portland area's business community. When the economy struggles, they innovate, work harder and work together," says Duplissis.

This year's winners, listed below, received a package of pro bono consulting services, meeting opportunities with members of PROPEL's Advisory Network -- which consists of key business figures in Maine -- and a free electric guitar.

Bite Into Maine, lobster roll food truck

Rogue Wallet Co., wallet maker

Brook There, apparel

Might & Main, design agency

Portland Flea-For-All, flea market

Upon accepting their awards, many winners commented that starting a business was the hardest endeavor they had ever done. Most admitted it's been several years since they've worked a 40-hour week -- but the payoff of entrepreneurial success has been worth it. The design team Might & Main, which has only been in business two years, is working with major clients including Stonyfield Farm. The Portland Flea-For-All just opened its doors a few months ago and is already booming, say its founders. After six years of retail success selling intimate women's apparel, Brook There developed such a market niche that it will soon open a men's shop next door.

"The smallness of Portland is an asset. Anywhere you go you can run into three people you know and if you don't already know them you will, whether that's now or in three years. The connections really do pay off," said Arielle Walrath, principal at Might & Main, at last night's event.

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