Innovation and Entrepreneurship is Growing in Maine!

There’s so much great news surrounding Innovation and Entrepreneurship here in Maine! After my freshman year of college in Boston, I decided to smarten up and transfer back to UMaine (and cut my tuition bill in half). I had never researched organizations and I found a plethora of small and medium sized organizations, many of which I had never heard of before.

Over the past year, I have seen what appears to be a renewed focus on entrepreneurship here in Maine. I’m not surprised; a couple hundred miles south, Boston is booming with startups, and some of these companies have Mainers leading the charge (Gemvara is a perfect example).

I’ve also noticed that in the past couple months, these announcements have been accelerated.

Let’s do a recap.

1. Blackstone Invests $3 Million into Maine Innovation

If you haven’t already seen the news, Blackstone Invested $3 million dollars, with funding specifically for the Innovation Engineering & Top Gun Program. Innovation Engineering focuses more on “intrapreneurs“, while Top Gun is focused on mentoring entrepreneurs.

As a current college student, I have already seen the effect of this grant. There are now 400 Innovation Engineering scholarships available for students based on the following:

“student’s commitment to Maine, demonstrated interest in Innovation Engineering, and interest in serving as an intern in Maine.”

Innovation Engineering2. Green-Tech Investments & Advancements

From the Maine Technology Institute website:

On Wednesday, November 2, at an award ceremony in Boston, the US Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration announces that the i6 Green New England Partnership is receiving a $1.25 million federal grant as one of six national winners of the i6 Green Challenge….The highly competitive grant solicitation plans to encourage regional, technology-led economic development through the support of innovative, groundbreaking ideas that accelerate technology commercialization, new venture formation and job creation in the green technology industry.

According to a recent Mainebiz article, a “Clean-Tech Corridor” at Brunswick Landing is being formed by E2Tech with the intention “to encourage clean tech investment and to attract to Maine small to medium-sized clean tech companies that cannot easily or affordably access necessary services elsewhere in New England.”

3. Juice Business Pitch Competition

Last weekend, five businesses were awarded $5,000 dollar prizes at the Juice Conference, with the winner eligible for up to $100,000 in flexible debt financing.

The winners were:

  • Cerehelix (Track Star Winner in Scalable Innovation)
  • NewField Design ($100,000 Grand prize winner)
  • Alternative Rock and Evergreen Home Performance (Shark Tank Winner)
  • Everyman Repertory Theatre (Non-Profit)
  • Turtle Love (Art, Culture and Design)
  • Marshall Wharf Brewery (Main Street)
  • Atayne (Sustainability Track)

4. Maine Business Competition

Recent alumni from UMaine have started a new business competition, with the winner receiving $10,000 in cash & consulting services. The competition will be in April, and mentorship opportunities will be available for the applicants, with a particular focus on connecting current students with UMaine Alumni.

I’m excited about what the future holds, so I started simple blog with the latest entrepreneurship & innovation stories I find. Feel free to contribute your own stories, and let’s keep up the good work!