UpStart Maine convenes first “MasterMind”



UpStart Maine has convened its first MasterMind: a group of 10 women founders of value-added food production businesses, all from rural and small-town Maine. The businesses range from premium ice cream dessert makers to wild blueberry and other value-added farm products, mixers, and specialty sauces.

A “MasterMind” is a facilitated group of founders who, over the next year, will establish a community where they help each other meet their individual goals for growing their businesses.

“We know from experience,” said Jason Harkins, president of UpStart Maine, “that entrepreneurs benefit significantly from guidance received from other founders who have experienced the same kinds of growth challenges. Add in a skilled facilitator and access to specifically identified outside experts and you have a recipe for real impact on the companies and in their communities. The MasterMind group will create connections – we hope lasting connections – where the founders can call on each other for advice, referrals and encouragement.”

Sylvie Boisvert of Discover Maine Food will facilitate the group. “It’s a privilege to work with this group of businesses. This group is made up of owners that are motivated, engaged and supportive. I look forward to seeing this group grow over the next several months.”

In addition to helping each other meet their respective business goals, the group will serve as informal advisors to the City of Bangor as it develops plans for a shared commercial kitchen.

The MasterMind group is generously assisted by a USDA Rural Business Development Grant.

UpStart Maine (www.upstartmaine.org) is a coalition of entrepreneur support facilities and programs in the Bangor Region, including Bangor Innovation Center, Bangor Region Top Gun, Big Gig pitch-off, Blitz Bangor, Foster Center for Innovation, MaineStream Finance, RIZE Coworking, Scratchpad Accelerator

and UpStart Center for Entrepreneurship. Together they are the Bangor Region’s innovation hub that connects entrepreneurs statewide to resources to grow their businesses.

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