ABOUT UPSTART MAINE
Upstart Maine is a coalition of entrepreneur-support programs and organizations in the greater Bangor Region. We fuel a community of export, growth, and innovation-driven startups by connecting entrepreneurs to resources, customers, and each other.
Monthly free 1:1 advice sessions with expert mentors. Follow us on social media for details.
Started in the Boston area, Innovation Nights helps people interested in innovative new products connect live and online.
We host regular webinars on topics of interest for Maine entrepreneurs who are actively scaling their businesses.
Request an invite
UpStart Maine Coalition
Programs & Resources
In a snapshot
The Bangor Innovation Center is a business “incubator” designed to support small businesses during their start-up and early growth stages. Operated since 1979 by the BanAir Corporation on behalf of the City of Bangor, the facility has seven individual offices and eight “flex” space units ranging from several hundred to three thousand sq. ft. It is a valuable resource for entrepreneurs providing flexible operating space at affordable rental rates. The facility can accommodate manufacturers, distributors, and business service companies during their early growth stage after which the businesses “graduate” to other locations within the community.
For more information:
Regional series of entrepreneur networking & pitch events
Big Gig is an unprecedented partnership between a motivated group of municipalities, universities, and organizations in Maine’s Penobscot River Valley. We’ve been working with local innovators and entrepreneurs since 2012 to create a supportive network and to bring positive change and economic growth to our communities.
We get together every other month for a FREE Big Gig event, which is in a different town or location each time. Folks network, drink, nosh on fresh appetizers, and enjoy a pitch-off between three innovators/entrepreneurs competing for a cash prize. At each event, a different, experienced innovator/entrepreneur also discusses how they successfully pitched a product or service.
For more information: www.biggig.org
Downtown Bangor coworking space to work, learn, and network
Located in the heart of downtown Bangor, ME, CoVort is a shared space designed to bring people together. Our community is made up of entrepreneurs, small business owners, remote workers and creatives, all working together under one roof. We provide dynamic physical spaces (and occasionally snacks!) in which members and guests can share skills, support one another and thrive.
For more information: www.covort.org
Student Innovation Center
Student entrepreneur support, innovation classes, and interns.
The University of Maine Foster Center for Student Innovation helps students and community members develop a mindset and skill set for creating, testing, and achieving ideas. The center offers free business coaching to college students with a business idea, runs a student business incubator, offers academic courses in innovation, consults with businesses implementing innovation, and manages the Innovate for Maine Fellows Program, a statewide college internship program focused on innovation.
Would you like a tour? Just call or stop by; we’d be happy to show you around!
For more information: www.umaine.edu/innovation
Nonprofit community development financial institution (CDFI), helping ALL Maine home-buyers, business owners, and consumers secure advice and financing to grow and thrive.
MaineStream Finance is a non-profit organization dedicated to economic development in Central and Mid-Coast Maine by providing advisory and financial services that are often unavailable from traditional financial institutions. Since 2000, MaineStream has helped several thousand Maine entrepreneurs through services such as loans, consultations on business plans, and educational classes on starting and growing a business.
For more information: www.mainestreamfinance.org.
6-month seed accelerator for early-stage, growth-driven companies
Scratchpad Accelerator’s mission is to provide full-time support to help female-founded companies scale quickly while building a vibrant mentor network and increased visibility among investors; in Maine and across the country.
Women face many challenges balancing home and work when running a scalable, investment-oriented company. Scratchpad focuses on strengthening the business while mentoring you on constructive ways to balance your personal responsibilities. The accelerator is housed within CoVort, a vibrant coworking community consisting of entrepreneurs, digital nomads, and professional service providers. This community is a space where members help each other out, solve problems and make connections. Scratchpad will leverage the power of the community in meaningful ways by not only increasing your professional skills but your personal connections and friendships.
Key features of the Scratchpad’s 6-month program include:
Active connections to the right mentors at the right time as needed by the companies
Access to Global Accelerator Network resources, including up to $1M in perks and discounts
Access to help from a curated set of undergraduate and graduate students to add capacity to the companies
Membership at CoVort for 6 months
On-sight intensive orientation including team building and in-depth assessment
2.5 days of on-site work each week; including weekly goal-setting meetings and structured learning sessions focused on key organizational needs to help build capacity and capability
Monthly check-ins with at least one investor to assess and assist the company
Bi-weekly Founders Dinners
Public Demo Day
For more information:
A 4-month accelerator for high growth potential entrepreneurs
Top Gun delivers the education and support that Maine’s most promising entrepreneurs need. It is hosted in the Bangor region by the University of Maine and is offered in partnership with the Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development. During the program, entrepreneurs accelerate their progress by:
Working closely with mentors and many others who can help
Listening to successful entrepreneurs discuss vital topics, then applying those lessons to their own businesses
Workshopping with mentors and peers in the program
Sharing perspectives with others facing similar challenges
Developing and practicing their pitches.
Is Top Gun right for you?
Previous participants have included technology companies (such as apps, cleantech and specialty materials), innovative food companies (such as mass market mead, artisanal chocolate and spelt bagels), as well as service companies with a unique twist. What binds them together are high aspirations to achieve growth through innovation.
Of the 160+ companies that have participated in the statewide program since 2009, 40% were already generating revenue, at an annual rate of up to $1 million. Most of the rest were in product and business model development, with a handful still in research or in the product and business model definition stage.
Top Gun teams have included twenty-somethings, AARP-demographic entrepreneurs and every age in between.
The fee for Top Gun is $500 per team, just 10% of actual costs.
Incubator with business coaching, lab space, & access to UMaine resources
A partnership of the Bangor Target Area Development Corporation and the University of Maine, the incubator can house 10-15 scalable start-ups at one time in the UpStart Center for Entrepreneurship. At the UpStart Center, tenants have access to conference rooms, high speed, fiber optic internet, and community space. The incubator provides coaching services and support to entrepreneurs in order to build competitve, market-oriented companies. In the most recent year, incubator companies raised more than $10 million in grants, investments, and earnings.
For more information: www.upstartcentermaine.com