In three short years Laura Catevenis, a single mother from Lewiston, went from being on welfare to owning a multi-million dollar company.

According to the Lewiston Sun Journal, she and her 1 year old daughter had been living on less than $400 a month in welfare benefits when she told DHHS workers that she intended to start her own business.  They told her she was nuts, but directed her to an organization that helps small businesses find funding.

The staff at New Ventures Maine helped Catevenis write her business plan for Black Bear Support Services.  The business helps pair support professionals with Maine children under Section 28, an organization that helps children with behavioral and coping skills.

Currently, Black Bear Support Services employs 65 people, but they plan to expand to 200 be year's end.  On top of that, Catevenis projects the company's gross revenue will be $3.5 million.