24 Jun Jumping in to Maine’s startup & tech community
Each week, we meet people who moved to Maine recently from another tech & startup ecosystem — New York City, Paris, Boston, San Francisco, even Nairobi. And more and more local entrepreneurs are launching their own startups in Maine today. One question they’re all asking: how do I get involved in Maine’s startup & tech community? Here’s a crash course. If you attend these events, follow these Facebook pages and make an effort to meet people, you’ll be in the mix of Maine’s dynamic scene in no time. (This list is not exhaustive — there is way too much to fit in one post, but this will get you started).
Startup Maine: Maine’s annual conference on innovation, design and technology. Launched in 2014, the week-long event has brought incredible minds from companies like Google, Amazon, Forbes and Disney together with Maine’s most exciting and innovative companies. Serving as a volunteer for the event is a terrific way to meet Maine’s best entrepreneurs, network, and maybe find your next job… or your next startup co-founder. Planning the conference is nearly a year-round effort with many volunteers, so get involved at any time.
Creative Portland: this nonprofit organization is Portland’s official local arts agency, serving creative professionals and entrepreneurs. It hosts great networking events, provides resources for creatives, and more.
SCORE Portland Maine: the Portland chapter of SCORE, the country’s largest volunteer business mentoring service, is outstanding. If you’re a new business seeking guidance, sign up to be paired with a mentor (at no charge). If you’re an experience businessperson, sign up to help a younger generation of entrepreneurs build their companies.
Startup pitch competitions are also flourishing in Maine. Opticliff Law was an organizer of Startup South Portland and Pitch York County, events where startups competed for cash prizes before panels of judges comprised of investors, startup lawyers, entrepreneurs and other mentors. Keep an eye out for even more pitch contests organizing soon.
Meetup.com: find local groups of people sharing your interests, whether that’s building a 3d printer at the Open Bench Project, meeting local UX designers, swapping software tips at the Server Side Engineering and Performance Meetup or having a beer with virtual reality tech enthusiasts. Pro tip: if the group you’d like to see doesn’t exist yet, congratulations! You’ve just become the organizer of a new Meetup, which is a terrific way to meet locals.
Maine Center for Entrepreneurs: With offerings like the Top Gun program, Table Talk Workshops, the Cultivator Food, Beverage and AG Accelerator and the Maine Mentor Network, MCE is a hub of startup activity with a robust network of founders, funders, and advisors. Definitely engage, attend a discussion or just stop by and introduce yourself. They’re there to help!
Lesbians Who Tech + Allies :: Maine: the local Portland, Maine chapter of the national Lesbians Who Tech, a community of queer women in tech and the people who love them. This group hosts great networking events for lesbians in tech and related spaces as well as anybody else who supports their mission. Follow their Facebook page to hear about upcoming events.
If you’re looking for an affordable place to run your startup where you can be surrounded by other entrepreneurs, consider joining a co-working space. We’re fans of Think Tank Coworking (Portland, Yarmouth) and its sister Think Tank Biddeford; Portland’s Cloudport, Engine Room and PelotonLabs; and South Portland’s SoPoCo Works.
To make sure you stay up to date on acquisitions, investment news and other startup news, visit Maine Startups Insider, a clearinghouse for news about Maine’s emerging companies. Curated by Whit Richardson, a former reporter covering the startup beat for the Portland Press-Herald newspaper, the site covers news, rumors, and job listings. Make sure to sign up for the Insider‘s weekly email newsletter.
Finally, Startup Portland publishes a useful calendar of upcoming events. You can add your own events too.
Opticliff Law, LLC is a business law firm founded by entrepreneurs, for entrepreneurs. We handle trademark law, contracts, software licensing& development, the formation of companies and general business law.