New Grant Will Support UpStart Maine Initiatives


UpStart Maine is proud to announce the award of $20,000 in grant funding by the Maine Community Foundation, which will launch two of the coalition’s innovative business growth programs piloted this spring. Awarded through the Maine Community Foundation’s new Startup Scaleup program, the funding will offer Maine-based entrepreneurs new, high-profile channels to showcase their products and to gain personalized expert advice on how to grow their startups.


“We are grateful for our partners at Maine Community Foundation, who keenly understand how innovation and small business success contribute to a thriving Maine economy and sense of community,” explains Katelynn Ronan, president of UpStart Maine. “This funding has accelerated UpStart Maine’s ability to bring entrepreneurs the innovative content and opportunities that will fuel their business growth.”



As a coalition of entrepreneur-support organizations in the Bangor Region, UpStart Maine serves as a hub for startups and business owners; resources include the Bangor Innovation Center incubator, the Big Gig pitch program, the CoVort co-work space in downtown Bangor, the Foster Center for Innovation at the University of Maine, MaineStream Finance, the Scratchpad Accelerator, the Top Gun accelerator, and the UpStart Center for Innovation incubator in Orono. Over the past three years, 96 businesses have participated in the coalition’s services and subsequently hired 237 staff and raised $9.5 million in capital. In Spring 2021, UpStart Maine piloted two popular programs to complement the current slate: Maine Innovation Nights and Virtual Mentor Nights.


Maine Innovation Nights are modeled on the successful Mass Innovation Nights in greater Boston, and represent a unique opportunity for entrepreneurs and business owners to showcase their products to customers and investors on a statewide scale. Each month, approximately 10 businesses will be invited to pitch their product; the pitch may represent a first-time product launch, or a pivot by an existing business. The second program, Virtual Mentor Nights, pairs entrepreneurs with industry experts and executives for one-on-one advising sessions on curated topics, including marketing, human resources, and industry-specific subjects. With the personalized approach and an easy remote meeting setup, sessions fill up quickly.


“Through Maine Innovation Nights and Virtual Mentor Nights, we intend to bring innovative startups and businesses into contact with as many mentors, potential customers, investors and other community resources as possible,” explains Ronan. “Many of these startups are growing with the help of our UpStart Maine coalition partners’ programs and facilities, and these new initiatives are an exciting way to further support them.”


Entrepreneurs and business owners interested in applying to present at Maine Innovation Nights or to sign up for a Virtual Mentor Night session may find more details at upstartmaine.org under the Events & News tab.


For more information, contact UpStart Maine's Events Committee


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