UBC: What would it mean to you and to your business to win the UMaine Business Challenge?
Shannon: Thank you to the Screening Panelists for choosing my application as one of the finalists in the UMaine Business Challenge. Just being a finalist is a great privilege and a huge opportunity to learn through the process of preparing a business concept and receiving feedback from the judges.
As an entrepreneur it can be difficult to get honest feedback about a business idea. Winning the competition would be a vote of confidence in my business and would confirm that my business has the potential to be successful. Knowing the judges believe in my idea would be very meaningful to me. The money and in-kind services would help accelerate the growth of Best in Show Paws.
UBC: You have many challenges on your road to entrepreneurship and to conquer these will inevitably take hard work and dedication. With that in mind, what is the inspiration behind starting your own business?
Shannon: I always said I would like to start my own business… someday. In 2009 I began the MBA program at UMaine and shortly after was diagnosed with breast cancer. The combination of these events was the catalyst in starting my own business. My MBA courses have been challenging and interesting, but I wanted to put the concepts I was learning into practice and the thought of applying them to my own business excited me. After a year and half long battle with cancer the word “someday” was no longer part of my vocabulary. If I was going to start a business, I was going to do it today, not ‘someday’. Now cancer free I am energetic to fulfill a lifelong dream of being an entrepreneur.
When deciding what type of business to start, I asked myself ’what do I love?’ I love dogs. Then I asked myself ‘what would someone pay me to do that is dog related?’ Family and friends often asked me to trim their pet’s nails and some even paid me. From this my idea for Best in Show Paws began.
My passion for pets and helping pet owners keep them healthy is what motivates me. People love their pets and when I can provide them convenient, high quality nail care I feel I have made a difference.
UBC: Part of the mission of the UBC is to take Maine from 51 to 35 on best states for business. Why have you decided to start your business in Maine?
Shannon: What I like about Maine is that when ranked at the bottom of states for business, we see it as a challenge and not an insult. The ranking has resulted in growing excitement and focus in Maine on innovation, small businesses, and entrepreneurship. Climbing to 35 will not be easy, but I believe Maine is up for the challenge and small businesses will reap great benefits. For these reasons I think now is a great time to start a business in Maine.
UBC: We love our Alma Mater, so we have to ask, what’s your favorite thing about UMaine?
Shannon: There are many great things about UMaine, but my favorite would be the Foster Center for Student Innovation.