Groups tour Oxford Hills for examples of market access

NORWAY – Members of two groups promoting women in business were given a tour of several downtown Norway businesses Friday.

Barb Olson, vice president of the Growth Council of Oxford Hills, said the two groups – Women Work in Community of Lewiston and the Women’s Rural Enterprise Network of Bethlehem, N.H., had heard about the entrepreneurial spirit in Norway, and asked the growth council for a tour.

Both groups received a grant to go on outreach missions to learn from other women entrepreneurs how they’ve found market access for their products.

Women Work in Community has been in existence for more than 20 years, said Olson, and those involved with the new Western Maine University and Technical College project on Route 26 are hoping the group will have a presence at the college center.

Before arriving in Norway, the group of nine women toured the Sugarwood Gallery in Farmington, and followed up the Norway trip with a visit to the Portland Public Market in Portland.

“They’re looking for good examples of how women have found market access,” Olson said. At the growth council’s for-profit Maine Discoveries store, the women learned how the store is giving opportunities for women entrepreneurs to sell their products.

One such local entrepreneur is Tally DeCato, retired Oxford Hills Middle School guidance counselor, who’s now selling angels made of cloth and wood at Maine Discoveries.

Later, the group walked over to the Commons at the Fare Share Coop, where they met with Nikki Millonzi of the coop’s artist’s collaborative.

On Wednesday, members of the growth council’s business development network will discuss starting a local women’s business network in the Oxford Hills.

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