“Elevating Voices,” the series born from longstanding racial injustices that were intensified by events over the past year, has just completed its first season – a six-week run that told the compelling stories of a dozen diverse businesses and their importance to Maine’s economy.
Produced by Greenlight Maine and sponsored by Bangor Savings Bank, the 30-minute “Elevating Voices” episodes spotlighted the challenges faced by these diverse business owners, often-unsung heroes who are enriching, expanding, and driving Maine’s culture, community, and economy. Some of these entrepreneurs immigrated from the other side of the world, some launched new products during the pandemic while others were forced to reinvent their businesses during the pandemic just to stay financially afloat. All have the common threads of innovation, activism, perseverance, ambition, and collaboration.
“We are proud of the ‘Elevating Voices’ series and what it has done to create broader awareness of Maine’s innovative and diverse talent,” said Bob Montgomery-Rice, President and CEO of Bangor Savings Bank
. “Maine is a special place – that’s why we choose to live and work here - and these business owners brought to light the tremendous impact that diversity can have in creating a thriving economy and the well-being of our communities.”
During the series, which ran from April 29th
– June 3rd
on Maine Public Television, "Elevating Voices" generated the following interest:
- Viewed by tens of thousands
- 2,269 unique visitors to the Elevating Voices website
- 722 followers on Instagram and Facebook
- 765 shares
- 3.81 billion potential reader audience of stories in local/national print/online outlets
- 1,522 listener sessions during radio news segments
Chosen by a selection committee, the following Maine businesses were the focal point of the six episodes:
- Adele Mansengo Designs; Antoine's Tailor Shop and Formal Wear, Portland
- Akakpo Design Group, Westbrook
- C. Love Cookie Project, Portland
- Cross Cultural Community Services, Portland
- Decontie & Brown, Bangor
- Deko’s Kutz Barber Shop, Orland
- Douglas, McDaniel & Campo, LLC, Pa, Westbrook
- Empanada Club, Portland
- Indigo Arts Alliance, Portland
- Little Jubba, Wales
- Marin Skincare, Portland
- Mumbai To Maine, Boothbay
Along with the visibility, each featured business owner received a $5,000 gift from Bangor Savings Bank.
“Over the past month and a half, ‘Elevating Voices’ has gone a long way in elevating the profile and impact of racially diverse businesses who are such a key part of Maine’s communities,” said Maine Senator Angus King
. “I applaud the grit and resilience these businesses bring to the table every day, and the talented teams who brought their stories to light.”
“The small business owners featured in the ‘Elevating Voices’ series showcase the determination, skill, and work ethic for which Mainers are known. At the same time, these Maine entrepreneurs draw upon their unique heritages and experiences in order to enrich our state’s business community and culture,” said Maine Senator Susan Collins
. “As the author of the Paycheck Protection Program, I know that Maine’s small business owners have experienced an extraordinarily challenging year. As we finally begin to emerge from this pandemic, the success of small businesses across our state will be key to rebuilding our economy, creating jobs, and restoring our communities. I am proud to represent them in the Senate, and I will continue to champion policies that support small businesses.”
Plans for Season 2 of Elevating Voices are underway; a few dozen businesses have already been suggested for consideration by the soon-to-be-created new selection committee.
“The interest we saw while shooting this series was something else – people would come up to us and say how appreciative they were of the stories being told,” said Greenlight Maine Host and Producer Julene Gervais
. “We learned so much in talking to these incredible business owners who have accomplished so much and who truly represent all that is good about Maine. We can’t wait to see what Season 2 brings us.”
About Greenlight Maine
Greenlight Maine is a statewide collaboration of entrepreneurial catalysts and corporate leaders. The television and internet series are designed to highlight, promote, and encourage the development and growth of entrepreneurial businesses in Maine by showcasing the unique, creative, and inspirational activity that is being generated by small businesses. In doing so, the program encourages investment in these companies while inspiring others to grow Maine’s economy. Now in its sixth season, Greenlight Maine has a new home on Maine Public Television. In addition to its original Head-to-Head Series and recent College Edition, Greenlight Maine has added Elevating Voices, a new series that celebrates diverse business owners and their importance to Maine’s economy.