The Lincoln Academy Business Club hopes to bring members of the community to its first business talk, an event where speakers with entrepreneurial backgrounds will share their experiences and offer advice to those in attendance.
The Business Club is new to Lincoln Academy this year, founded by LA junior Asset Alibekov in an effort to share his passion for entrepreneurial studies with other students.
Alibekov, LA’s first student from Kazakhstan, said he has always enjoyed economics and business, and got to hone his knowledge of those areas during his sophomore year when he took an entrepreneurial studies course. During the class, Alibekov developed a business plan for a data center for Kazakhstan’s internet servers. While developing his plan, Alibekov visited a data center in Boston for inspiration.
“It was a great experience,” Alibekov said. “It was my first time preparing a business plan, and I really enjoyed it. I wanted to do more.”
Alibekov decided to found the business club with other like-minded students during his junior year. Alibekov said 30 students applied to be in the club, but only 15 were accepted.
Currently, the business club is participating in a startup competition hosted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Lincoln Academy is competing against 400 schools for funding, as well as networking with business leaders, Alibekov said.
Alibekov is working with schools in Kazakhstan on his project. If Lincoln Academy places in the top 10, it will compete in a “final pitch” competition at MIT, Alibekov said.
“I’m sure the business club will continue, even if we lose or win, to give others the opportunity to participate in the club,” Alibekov said.
In addition to the work the business club is doing for the competition, the club also wanted to have speakers share their experiences for inspiration. At first, the idea was to bring entrepreneurs to Lincoln Academy, but the idea soon grew to include all of Lincoln County.
“We thought it would be helpful for all people to be able to hear about these experiences and make these connections,” Alibekov said. “There are so many resources here in Maine and people with helpful experience that might go unnoticed.”
The business club reached out to Jennifer Van Horne, a co-owner of Buzz Maine in Damariscotta, to see if the co-working space would be willing to host the event.
“Buzz Maine is working in a way that is similar to our goal, which is to provide resources and connections for entrepreneurs,” Alibekov said. “It’s created for business development, and you can meet and work with interesting people from around here.”
During the event, three speakers will share their experiences and cover a variety of topics, from funding startups to branding, Alibekov said.
One of the speakers at the Jan. 28 event will be Nadir Yildirim, founder of Revolution Research Inc. Yildirim left Turkey five years ago to study at the University of Maine. His company was recently awarded a $100,000 grant from the Environmental Protection Agency to develop ceiling tiles that are non-hazardous and compostable.
“I think he will offer a very unique take, because he has an international view of Maine,” Alibekov said. “He can talk the business environment and how it compares to other places, and offer a different look at the resources and challenges we have here.”
Alibekov said he is keeping the identities of the two remaining speakers under wraps to “keep the intrigue.” If the event is successful, Alibekov said the business club will host similar events in the future.
“We hope people gain knowledge from this and make new connections,” Alibekov said. “We want to bring people together to learn.”
The business talk will begin at 2:30 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 28 at Buzz Maine. To register for the event, go to https://goo.gl/ik3Tj4. Tickets are free.