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40 posts categorized "Portland Global"

Wrap Up for the Portland Global Entrepreneurship Extravaganza!

What a three weeks it was! Beginning with a project for the Sea Dogs, Portland, Maine's minor leagueRed Sox affiliate baseball team, and ending with 6 amazing new business pitches, the 34 students enrolled in the Portland, Maine-based Global Entrepreneurship  program wowed everyone they met. The team of 8 judges, all local entrepreneurs and business specialists, were awe-struck at not only the ideas, but the sophistication and professionalism of the student presentations. The presentations included the following 6 presentations:

2 food category pitches:  Bravocado: An avocado-themed food truck


Lunch at Tiffin's: Lunch delivery in a tiffin


2 Tourist Experiences:

Portland City Hunt: a city-wide scavenger-hunt


Lobbery: Catch and cook your own lobster and make wild blueberry syrup


2 Souvenirs:

Cardeo: a traditional postcard with an embedded video



Lumina: a unique lighthouse lamp




The winner??





Bravocado team members pose with their instructor, Patty Nickerson, and their prizes, Sea Bags bucket bags to honor their impact on Maine!



We ended our week with a fabulous BBQ, complete with singing, dancing, a hilarious and heart-felt poem from our 3 awesome resident staff members, Sam, SK and Seamus...and more hugs than anyone could count!


Saturday, the entire group went to Boston, where they visited Harvard University and explored the historic Freedom Trail. On Sunday, everyone said goodbye, amidst loads of tears and hugs as the BAFF students headed to New York, then Washington and finally home and the US students head back to their families. The instructors and residence staff were left with amazing memories, terrific stories and loads of pictures to keep the memories of CIEE Portland Global Entrepreneurship alive!

Until next year!


Beth Richardson

Lead Instructor


Student Takeover: Zenayah

 For myself and everyone else, this two week span to create a product and pitch was rough full of pivot and frequent change. These efforts required a lot of determination and confidence that our modifications would be best. As it turns out, it was!

Every single presentation was made with creativity and passion. It was a genuine representation of the uniqueness that guided us to be the special group of participants selected for CIEE and BAFF's 2017 Global Entrepreneurship Program in Portland, Maine. Overall, we had six product pitches categorized in food, souvenir, and tourism experience. This year's winner was Bravocado: an avocado-only food truck. The competition was high and every team was nearly equal in expectations. Not only did we revolutionize our affiliated industries, but we surpassed the doubts we all initially had.

As the mood of competition eased, we ended off in a more relaxed environment at the barbecue. At this event, we recollect our memories through the heartfelt poem written by our dear Resident Staff Sarah Kate, Samuel, and Seamus. In my opinion, this is where I, Zenayah Roache, had my first flow of tears. Followed by this, we had productions by my peers that brought us together through singalongs and dancing. At the end, it was only proper that we share our unanimous gratitude towards our opportunity that helped us form lifetime friends, advisers, and knowledge that can be applicable to our future careers. This is a summer I will never forget and cherish forever and ever. Thank you CIEE for everything you have offered me. See you next year!


Congratulations Team Bravacado on an excellent presentation
Egils relaxing after a week of hard work



Full Immersion

I'm excited to write today about my favorite event: The Polar Plunge. 

Every morning at 7:30 AM, a group of students head to the beach in their bathing suits and towels and they jump into the ocean! It's about 6o°F (16°C) each morning but that doesn't stop these brave kids! Originally we were planning on jumping in once a week, but we ended up loving it so much that we went in every day! 

There were 5 crazy ones who went in every single day, even on the two days we had to go in at 6:30 due to scheduling conflicts. At least we always had a beautiful view!

The Fab 5
Rokas and Gabriele from Lithuania, Ott and Kaupo from Estonia, and Indrikis from Latvia

I was very impressed with the dedication of all those who participated. Especially those who lost the game of Palka the night before and were dared to jump in with all their clothes on! ;) 

Enjoy this slideshow, showcasing the amount of people who went in each day:

It's a great example of how much these students have immersed themselves into this whole program. Whether learning in the classroom, researching in the city of Portland, creating intensive business models, or simply jumping into cold water, we are so proud of all their accomplishments!

I do think we should keep the tradition going...maybe we can get a group of people jumping into the Baltic Sea every morning at 7:30? Keep me updated! :)


Exposure to American Culture

Most of the students in our program are here on a scholarship from the Baltic-American Freedom Foundation and are in the United States for the first time.  These students have seen many American movies, speak excellent English, and know all the greatest pop hits.   As part of this program, we strive to give students an authentic American experience.  Something that is a little more mundane than the movies portray.  From other blogs, you know that those experiences include trips to the mall, Target, and learning all about baseball.  In addition to the fun trips we plan, the Baltic students have another way to learning about American culture, directly from our four American students.

Andre, Giridhar (G), Janny, and Zenayah come to the Portland Global program from all of the US.  They bring great energy and intellect to all of our experiences and are able to share their perspectives with the group.  These 4 students come from diverse backgrounds and showcase many different aspects of US culture.

Andre comes to the program from Andover, Massachusetts.  He is passionate about sports, clothing, and NBA 2K17.  He is also proud of his eclectic sock collection. He was born in Brazil and speaks Portuguese.  He has a talent for specialized lettering and caricatures.  His team recognize his out-of-the-box ideas and creativity.  In class he is a thoughtful listener and works well as a member of the group.


Janny traveled across the country from Portland, Oregon.  She is a talented artist and animator with aspirations to study psychology.  She speaks Cantonese, has been to Cambodia, and is currently studying the language and culture of Korea.  She is also learning how to play the ukulele. As a student, Janny has fun and innovative ideas.  She encourages those around her and is willing to try new experiences.


Zenayah made the short trip from New York City to join our program.  Zenayah is our youngest participant, but that doesn't stop her from inspiring all of our participants.  Not only is she at the top of her class, she spends her Saturdays taking classes at Columbia University studying law.  In class, Zenayah asks thoughtful questions and has a special talent for keeping others on task as well as creating group harmony.  Skills that will serve her well in her future career as a lawyer.  Aside from classwork, she is also passionate about dance.


Giridhar, referred to as G by everyone, traveled from Greenville, South Carolina.  G has shared not only Southern, but also Indian culture. He is an excellent student and studies at an IB school.  In his free time he is passionate about business and works in his fathers restaurant developing their social media campaign. He also excells in ping pong and plays tennis at his school.  In class we can count on G to keep things light and fun.  He focuses on practical solutions with creative spins.
In a few short days we will have to say goodbye to all of our students.  The sense of community that all 34 have created will leave a lasting impact on all of us.  All future students have big shoes to fill.


UVP: What makes each of us unique?

We spent the morning academic time working on our personal value propositions:  what makes each of us unique?  We then created or updated our Linkedin profiles.  It was challenging to write these summary statements, but it will pay off down the road - this group has so much potential!  We enjoyed connecting with each other and editing each other's statements.  It was a welcome break from the hard work in our groups for the final pitch presentations on Friday.  


This afternoon our guest speaker, Kazeem Lawal, shared his unique story and how his business grew out of his desire to leave the traditional mold of corporate life and embrace his creative side.  His business is an eclectic mix of what might be found in the country general store of days gone by.  

Students listened intently to Kazeem's personal story, then asked questions pertinent to how to finance a business, how he incorporates his ethnic heritage into his business, and how he manages personal time while running a busy store in downtown Portland.  


Students visited the store on Monday after the CIEE reception with the US Ambassador to Lithuania.  It was fun to see how Kazeem curates his collection of unique products in the store.


Screen Shot 2017-07-25 at 12.51.07 PM



Portland Trading Co. is located at 157 Middle St, Portland, ME. For more information, visit www.PortlandTradingCo.com

Our Second Sunday

Today, Sunday the 23rd of July, was an amazing day. Students volunteered at the 10th annual Tri for a Cure--Maine's all women triathlon. This year alone, athletes raised $1.98 million for breast cancer research. After filling up on donuts and coffee and dressing in neon yellow volunteer shirts, students spread out along the course to help however and wherever they were needed. They were directing swimmers, working the water stations, and cheering on bikers. Despite the early wake up call and hot weather, students acted with enthusiasm, graciousness, and all around good attitudes. It was an absolute joy seeing them support such a worthy cause and I was very impressed. More importantly, the athletes were extremely appreciative. It was an emotional and powerful experience.

Students cheering on runners

The lovely Anita watching the swimmers


Oskars and Lauris helping with the water station

Volunteers preparing for the day! (They were happier than they look)

Racers before the start of the triathlon.

Later, we headed to the Maine Mall for some rest, shopping and dinner. Everyone was glad to unwind and have time to make some purchases for family and friends back home. One of our students, lovingly known as "G" found time for a haircut.  At the food court, most chose to eat "traditional American food" including bacon covered hamburgers and knock off Chinese. Everyone sat together eating dinner and catching up on their day. The community amongst the students is wonderful to see.

Egils and Andre relaxing with a massage.


Roberts enjoying his french fries.


David's dumpling!


A fidget spinner and a burger? Jasper is happy.


Egle & Vilte smiling bright!


G getting his haircut at the mall.

I cannot believe we are headed into our last week. As always, there are many adventures to come! We will be sure to check in soon.


Thanks for reading,

Sarah Kate


Check on more info on Tri for a Cure here: http://www.pressherald.com/2017/07/23/tri-for-a-cure-raises-2-million-to-fight-cancer/

Exploring the Greatness of Maine

After another week of hard work by our students it was time for the resident staff to take over and begin another fun weekend. We started off the weekend with a Friday afternoon trip to two of Maine's most recognizable landmarks; the photogenic Portland Head Light and the slightly less popular, Target, a department store located in South Portland. It's hard to know which the students enjoyed more--the ocean scene or the candy aisle? The students were tasked with finding and photographing various marketing techniques during the trip. After, we returned home to get some rest before our next adventure.

Saturday morning we took off for a hike up Bradbury mountain located in Pownal, Maine. It was a hot day, but the students kept positive attitudes the whole climb to the summit. We enjoyed the view and snapped quite a few photos before heading back down and taking off for our next activity. We spent the afternoon at the famous Clam Fest in Yarmouth. Students explored booths of local eats, artists, and music. It was a true authentic taste of Maine culture! We returned back to campus for a late afternoon swim and a pizza party. Students are currently winding down their long Saturday with games of pool, ping pong, and cards. A few are out playing guitar on the porch and reading on the couches. 

It's been an absolute blast getting to explore Maine with such amazing kids and I'm looking forward to the many more adventures to come before the end of the program. 


Portland Head Light
Egils taking in America at Portland Head Light

The boys G&g

Gediminas buying candy for his "friends"

Student Takeover- Marta Vinerte

On July 9th we - thirty emerging leaders from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania - started our long awaited journey to the United States of America. After a long trip form our home countries to Boston, Massachusetts we were greeted by our resident staff and taken to our final destination – “Southern Maine Community College” in South Portland, Maine.


On day 1 we were already engaging in our first tasks and activities, one of them being a trip to the local minor baseball team's 'Portland Sea Dogs' stadium, where we were taken on a tour, divided into three groups and given our first big team task - to do a market research and find out, what would attract millennials to attend a baseball game.


On day 2, after being given insight about how a primary market research works, we started to work on our projects and did a good job creating a survey that we could carry out in order to do our primary market research. In the end of the day, we did some more "research" on baseball by learning the rules and playing it on our own it's the help of our resident staff Sarah Kate, Sam and Seamus.

Day 3 was a big day for us as we went to Downtown Portland to interview some of its millennials. Before 'getting to business' we visited the "Holy Donuts", listened to its owner's story of success and of course had a taste  of her deliiiicious donuts! After that we went into the streets of Portland and interviewed some of its millennials - locals as well as tourists. This activity gave as a chance not only to understand how primary market research actually works, but it also allowed us to get to know the American people and culture a bit better. I can say that it was pleasantly surprising to see how responsive and polite Portland citizens are. The majority of them are happy to engage in conversations, and even if they didn't have time to respond to our questions, they let us know about it in a nice way. The program participant Edita says that "it was nice to see how responsive the Portland people are and how much they actually care about the local businesses." She adds that "it was a pleasant experience and that she was really happy to do the survey."


The following day was filled with hard work for everyone. Our main task on day 4 was to analyze the data, which was gathered from both primary and secondary research, make a presentation as well as our speeches and practice them in front of our teachers and resident staff. All three teams showed great dedication and worked on their projects until the last minute, trying to make everything as perfect as possible.


Friday was the big day for us. Sea Dogs representatives arrived at SMCC to listen to our presentations. The feedback we got was very satisfying and we were all happy about the fact, that they seriously considered our ideas and suggestions. Sea Dogs staff, our teachers, resident staff and the students themselves all made sure that everyone had made a lot of effort. However, only one team could win and that was team nr. 1, who were given Sea Dogs foam fingers as gifts.


After the presentations all of us felt relieved, happy and excited for the adventures that were in store for us in the weekend. :)

How Far They'll Go

The campus where the students are living is located right on the gorgeous coast of South Portland. There are beaches, lighthouses, and parks surrounding the campus, which allows for fun breaks from all the hard work in the classes and projects. Each summer at one of these parks, movies are played on a large outdoor screen for the whole community to enjoy! Last night was the perfect weather to spend outdoors amongst friends.


The 12 of us who went were joined by hundreds of others from the community.


The movie that was playing was Disney's Moana. This movie is a personal favorite of mine because of the themes of love within families and communities, taking risks for a greater good, and of course a sense of adventure! Here's the video of Moana desiring to go off into the world to become who she's really meant to be! 

Watching this movie with the students made me realize how much international exchange and education is such an important part of life! The experience these students have of living in Maine for 3 weeks is one they will not soon forget.

One of my favorite lines in the movie is when Moana's grandmother sings:

"The village may think I'm crazy,

or say that I drift too far,

but once you know what you like,

well there you are!"

I remember my first time in another country, and how much that shaped me to become the person I am today. For many students, the risk of leaving everything behind to go on this grand adventure was new and scary. But I believe they will take so many life lessons back home with them, and use them to help their local communities, just like Moana herself ;)

I can't wait to see just how far these students will go.


Our cozy crew
Egils (Latvia) taking in Maine's natural beauty

Working Hard and Having Fun

Today marks the half way mark of our adventure with the Portland Global students!

This milestone is both exciting and a little sad.  So many friendships and memories have already been formed and students have learned so much- in class and through our experience around Maine.  This morning we studied customers, buying habits, and theories of distribution.  The exciting part of the day came in the afternoon as students spread out through downtown Portland to survey tourist and locals.  They worked hard in groups to develop surveys to give them insight on products and services they are developing.

Students studying maps of Downtown Portland

Students are always eager to get out of the classroom for experiential learning; they enjoy interacting with new people and visiting the local shops to conduct "research." Their products and services are heavily influenced on the opinions recorded in their surveys.

Banana split
Research at Beals Ice Cream

In addition to working hard, students are enjoying playing hard.  In their free time there are many competitive games that challenge them, but also strength their friendships. We have spent many evenings teaching each other card games, magic tricks, songs, and board games.  

Twister Fun!

We are half way done with the program, but the memories and friendships will last a lifetime!