UpStart Board and Events Committee member Gavin Robinson, Main Street Banker for Bangor Savings Bank, shares his experience volunteering with UpStart Maine. Read below to learn about Gavin’s story and how greatly his passion to support small businesses and entrepreneurship has impacted this organization.
How did you choose to volunteer for this organization?
I have always had a passion for supporting small businesses and entrepreneurship. Having strong support infrastructure around starting and growing businesses is an important part of the economy, and personally I feel energized after working with innovative, passionate entrepreneurs. I have volunteered with SCORE for many years, and when UpStart reached out I was excited to see how I could help.
Is there a particular accomplishment or memory that has always stuck with you?
It would have to be our first Maine Innovation Night. We brought the concept of Innovation Nights to Maine with the idea that early stage products and companies could benefit from a boost in exposure to their market in that critical early stage. The night before the event I was worried about how well attended it would be, and whether attendees – both in person and virtual – would find value in the work we were doing. Both our Showcasers and Attendees were telling me during the event; ‘This is so awesome! This is what Maine needs!’ That moment felt great.
How has volunteering for this organization changed you, or what have you learned about yourself?
I became engaged with UpStart near the beginning of the pandemic in 2020 and have since pulled off events working with our Events Committee where we never met in person until the day of the event. I’m the guy that needed someone to explain to him how hashtags work, so I’m no tech guru. But the Team at UpStart is composed of some great individuals that have allowed me to grow, learn and find where my skill sets can best fit in to benefit the organization.
What about this organization makes you feel empowered?
When I was starting out in banking years ago someone gave me the advice that you should focus your time and energy on the issues that you care the most about. Many will come calling, but you cannot spread yourself too thin. For me, UpStart checks several boxes at once for areas that I want to be involved in and make a difference. I believe I can see the difference that our programs are having for entrepreneurs and the community and that is empowering.
What within the organization would you like to build or expand on?
There are a number of different initiatives that I would enjoy seeing UpStart build upon. The first one that comes to mind is increasing our role as a ‘connector’. What does that mean? Well, first it means that UpStart is a well-recognized organization and brand that is sought out by individuals and companies seeking assistance starting or growing their business. Then, secondarily, we do an effective job pairing them with either the programmatic tracks to take them where they want to go, and/or pair them with the mentorships needed for the advice and guidance entrepreneurs need.
Thank you, Gavin Robinson, for everything you have contributed to UpStart Maine, and the huge difference you have made while supporting the programs and goals of this organization!
Gavin Robinson is a Main Street Banker for Bangor Savings Bank. Click the buttons below to connect with Gavin!