LEWISTON — The Lewiston-Auburn Economic Growth Council wants to continue to include Auburn in its future, but it’s making plans to move forward with only one of the Twin Cities involved.

“Although it’s contrary to the Growth Council’s very design, it is my intent that a revised budget will allocate 100 percent of our focus to the city of Lewiston should Auburn not fund the Growth Council,” John Holden, president of the Growth Council, told Lewiston city councilors Tuesday night.

Holden presented his group’s marketing plan to the council Tuesday night. As it stands, the plan is identical to what Holden presented to the Auburn City Council in March.

On Monday, Auburn City Manager Howard Kroll presented his proposed 2016-17 budget that includes no funding for the Growth Council. Historically, Lewiston and Auburn have funded an equal share of the group’s budget, $160,610 from each city.

“This marketing plan is based on that current funding model for the Growth Council, and I hope that model continues as it has for more than 35 years,” Holden said Monday. “I hope the Auburn City Council reconsiders so that we can continue to engage and work on behalf of the entire Lewiston-Auburn community.”

Holden said he hopes to convince Auburn councilors to fund the Growth Council going forward, but will present an alternate budget without Auburn’s share to his board of directors this week.


“We will continue with our loan programs financing business expansions here in Lewiston and in Auburn,” Holden said. “We will market the community for targeted foreign direct market, to identify qualified business interests. We will market our community assets and we will market this location as a launch pad for U.S. investment in foreign markets with the slogan ‘Launch Pad Lewiston: Make it here.'”

The slogan would be a twist on the group’s original campaign that assumed Auburn would be included: “Lewiston-Auburn: Make it here.”

Holden said in either case, the marketing plan relies on frequent travel around the U.S. and to Canada to find expanding companies and bring them to the area.

“The way you do business developmentally is (by) going to meet the people, whether they are entrepreneurs, CEOs or the VPs that make decisions, you have to go to the shows that they are attending and go to the events that they are part of,” Holden said.

According to the plan, the Growth Council will focus on three segments:

• bringing in entrepreneurs and new businesses;


• helping existing Lewiston-Auburn businesses to expand and grow; and

• attracting new business from outside Lewiston-Auburn and Maine.

To help push entrepreneurs and new business, Holden said the Growth Council will work with state innovation programs and create new business seminars. It also calls for creating an exhibit or small store in Portland to promote L-A-made products and services.

For existing businesses, the goal will be to help them expand and grow. That means helping them make contacts with new potential markets and find local financing programs.

The plan calls for a sibling city program to encourage new investment and expansion into Lewiston-Auburn. The Growth Council will work with national site consultants to spread L-A’s name among expanding companies. Holden said he will work personally, meeting with company leaders around the country and attending trade conventions.

It also rebrands the annual Business to Business Trade Show as the Maine B2B Show, open to businesses and companies from around Maine and New England.

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