Maine’s forest-product sector is already an $8 billion industry, and it is looking to grow 30% by 2025. What is going to happen in the next five years in an area that has been integral to Maine’s economy for a century? We are always looking ahead in order to assist all of our entrepreneurs to be thought leaders and influencers in the business world of Maine. We cannot ignore our wild resources, but we know that we must hew to new technologies and best practices for the benefit of the Earth and our global economy. Here’s what we have read, witnessed, and project for the next phase of growth and development, and how it could impact your Maine-based small business.
In the first phase, we look at the global market analysis, which is focused on opportunities for expansion. The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry is looking to attract companies that will use Maine’s abundant resources of softwood pulp. Perhaps, as a young entrepreneur in Maine looking for just the right niche market, you want to consider forest-product distributors, what they sell, and whether it would be a feasible and lucrative opportunity.
Maine’s spruce, fir, and wood residuals mean there is room for growth in and around the forest product industry. Much of the available wood is located on small, private-land parcels. There is currently a committee in place to educate these landowners and disseminate ideas about proper land management and growth opportunities. The Forest Opportunity Roadmap/Maine could give a visual sense of the value and the abundance of this not yet entirely exploited resource. How can you benefit from the supply? Ask yourself, what does your business expertise, experience, and skillset have that could add value to the forest product industry?
The experts and authorities are looking at new partnerships and modern ways to amplify all the new and exciting technology that could positively impact the forest-product industry. Maybe you need to think bigger, get outside the box, and develop an app or another tech-based business that pertains to forest-product distributors. There is a lot of development money available for tech start-ups, especially in Maine, as we all want to see young people and cutting-edge businesses thrive here.
One-in-24 Maine jobs is in the forest-products industry, and it contributes about one-in-20 GDP dollars in our state. How are we going to leverage the workforce we have, stop losing laborers to the brain drain, and incentivize a great industry? The Maine workforce is dynamic, and the forest-product industry will be compelled to develop extensive outreach and beneficial recruitment strategies.
Greenlight Maine is interested in the industries that have grown with Maine from the beginning. The past is important to ensure a thriving future for Maine businesses and entrepreneurs.