A new nonprofit has formed in the Bangor area to coordinate efforts among the region’s various entrepreneurial initiatives and to more effectively market the area’s startup community.
The new nonprofit is called UpStart Maine, and it’s a subsidiary of the Bangor Target Area Development Corp., which owns the Target Technology Center in Orono.
UpStart Maine will unify the outreach, marketing and branding of the Bangor region as an innovation hub and will coordinate and assist with joint fundraising efforts, according to Emma Wilson, the Target Technology Center’s marketing manager.
Programs in the area that UpStart Maine will coordinate with include the local Top Gun program, run by the Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development; the BigGig pitch contest; the ScratchPad Accelerator, a startup accelerator launched by the University of Maine and the Maine Technology Institute; and the Target Technology Incubator. The changes are not structural — each of the entrepreneurial programs will remain independently operated.
“It will let the market know that the various programs in the region are working closely together to support entrepreneurship — from the earliest networking and idea formation stage through incubation and acceleration; each of the programs (and new ones as they may emerge) complementing efforts of the others,” Wilson told Maine Startups Insider.
Wilson said the notion of UpStart Maine was influenced by two factors: The Blackstone Accelerates Growth objective of creating bona fide innovation hubs in each of Maine’s major regions, and feedback the Bangor Target Area Development Corp. received from a capital campaign consultant that there’s confusion in the marketplace over the number of entrepreneurial initiatives that have popped up over the last several years, what each is trying to achieve, and whether they are duplicating efforts or complementing each other.
“Key players want to know that they are complementing each other and producing worthwhile results,” Wilson said. “UpStart Maine, as a coalition of a number of the region’s most visible programs … is aimed at assuring that.”