Application for One-on-one Business Counseling
Free Assistance to Prepare for Low Cost Entry into Groundfishing
The Penobscot East Resource Center (Penobscot East) in collaboration with Coastal Enterprises Inc. (CEI) offers free business planning and consulting as a means for fishermen to become new entrants in the New England groundfish fishery. We seek to help fishermen diversify their fishing operations. We will assist fishermen in becoming part-time, seasonal groundfishermen as an opportunity to augment their existing fishing business. We offer business training to provide the financial skills, and loans to facilitate the purchase of permits and the lease of annual quota. Our goal is for fishermen who are skilled at landing fish, adept at business planning, and savvy at handling money to succeed at building a good business in the rebounding groundfishery. Penobscot East will use this experience to build a model for future new entrant fishermen, and secure access of fishing opportunities for New England’s small scale owner-operator fleet.
We will assist fishermen seeking business success, which will depend on both long-term business stability and resource sustainability. To do this we offer one-on-one business training and counseling to explain the financial implications of groundfishing, and to write a multi-year business plan that predicts a sensible path to making money and acquiring permits and quota, also known as Annual Catch Entitlement or “ACE.”
Program applicants must be willing to invest time required to develop a business plan. Participation is limited, and we may not be able to work with all interested fishermen. In this application, you will be asked to submit a variety of information about your business and personal history. This information is needed to help us understand your background and financial history. We pledge to keep confidential anything you write here. We can also offer you assistance to fill out this form.
If you are selected to participate in the business skills program, we will need your commitment to meet periodically with the business counselors, and do the work necessary to develop a personalized business plan involving seasonal groundfishing. We encourage you to offer your feedback about how the program is or is not serving your needs. This information will help us make effective adjustments in the way we work with you and with other applicants.
We reserve the right to terminate training with fishermen who are not doing their fair share of the work. The decision will be at our discretion.
Information that you provide will only be shared with CEI and Penobscot East staff working directly on this project, and will be used only for the purposes of this project. This information will be purged from our records upon completion of the project either returning or destroying the sole copy at your discretion.
CEI business counselors will dedicate the time necessary to complete work with you at your own pace and around your fishing schedule. They will travel to meet with you in your local area; for example at your home, place of business, or other convenient nearby spot.
Qualify for Leased ACE and Financing to Acquire It
Through our close relationship to some community based permit banks that have ACE available for some groundfish species, and with fisheries based lenders who can provide short term lines of credit to lease ACE, we can assist new entrant fishermen who have completed the training and a business plan with financing for the pounds of assigned catch they need to start fishing or to build their business. When you have prepared for the fishing business with a plan, we can help you get it going.
Long Term Permit and Vessel Acquisition Financing
Coastal Enterprises Inc. helps small businesses by providing business counseling and help writing a business plan. We will consider the business plan you develop for loan financing to help you get started putting the plan into action. New entrant fishermen without federal permits or assigned vessels will need to acquire the permits at an affordable cost. Whether starting small with annually leased ACE or wanting to purchase permits and assigned vessels outright, we can tailor the plan to be realistic for you. Our business counselors talk to our fisheries technicians and to our lenders to coordinate the individual business plans for new fishermen.
Eligibility Criteria for Applicants
- Fisheries experience- indication of experience in one or more fisheries for at least several years at the minimum.
- Financial strength- demonstrates positive personal net worth and adequate annual earnings for the last year.
- Violations record- a search of your violations record indicates no serious infractions. Compliance with state and federal tax obligations- you have no long-standing tax liabilities.
- Insurance in good standing (Hull, Liability, and Indemnity)- on a vessel you now own, indicate the policies in place.
- Proof of vessel ownership- complete the information about the vessel
- Owner on-board- you and not someone else captains the vessel.
- Alternative gear- willingness to consider use of hook or trap fishing gear if the business plan indicates that it would be advantageous.
Confidentiality Pledge: The participating organizers and business counselors may only use the information you provide in this application for the internal purposes of the project. We will not share it with any outside persons, agencies, or businesses. We are bound by our employer’s confidentiality polices which holds us accountable. A breach of this pledge would jeopardize our continued employment.