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Updated: January 2, 2024

'Buckle up, Maine': 2024 business predictions span space to sports

2024 graphic Illustration / Matt Selva, assisted by Adobe Firefly A.I. Mainebiz asked leaders around the state for their 2024 business predictions. We’ll be watching to see which ones come true.

To kick off another year of Maine business news coverage — and the start of the 30th year for Mainebiz — we asked some of the state's movers and shakers for their 2024 business predictions. The prognostications cover a lot of territory.

Maine innovation 

Susan Morris portrait
Photo / LinkedIn
Susan Morris

“I am particularly excited to watch innovation transform traditional sectors of Maine's and Canada‘s economies including forest products, agriculture and aquaculture. And I predict we will see more women leading the way.”
— Susan Morris, honorary consul for Canada in Maine and a member of the Maine Angels investor group

Star power

“I predict that Maine's space economy will blast off in 2024 bringing a ton of new energy, new jobs and amazing economic opportunity to the people of Maine, and bluShift will make another first by launching the first rocket all the way to space powered by nontoxic, carbon-neutral biofuel."
— Sascha Deri, bluShift Aerospace CEO and founder

The Maine brand

“The online marketplace for local Maine food, crafts and artisan goods is about to explode in 2024. Prepare for a wave of new customers eager to discover unique creations and experience the best of Maine … So buckle up, Maine, the future is bright for your online success."
— Nancy Strojny, SCORE Maine assistant district director 

Meetings mojo 

“I predict that we will increase the awareness of Greater Portland to gain more meetings and conventions in 2024.” 
— Lynn Tillotson, Visit Portland president and CEO 

Commercial cachet 

Man in restaurant
File Photo / Tim Greenway
Keith Luke

“Municipalities including Augusta, Lewiston-Auburn, Waterville and Brunswick will see unprecedented commercial growth as investors seek higher returns than are available in the Greater Portland market,” says Keith Luke, Augusta’s economic development director.

And, for fellow horse-racing fans, a prediction about the Triple Crown’s third leg, which will be held in Upstate New York on June 8 during renovations at Belmont Park on Long Island: “The Belmont Stakes at Saratoga will be the Horse Racing Spectacle of the Year. #Belatoga.”

Golf and baseball

“Drive Fore Kids, powered by new celebrities such as Tony Romo, Alfonso Ribeiro and John Smoltz along with 40-plus others will make the June 20-23, 2024, golf tournament the largest in the Northeast with 15,000-plus fans driving over $8 million in economic impact and exceed $125,000 to benefit the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital at Maine Medical Center,” says Brian Corcoran, CEO of Shamrock Sports & Entertainment in Portland.

His bonus baseball prognosis: “As karma for many of their legendary players coming to Drive Fore Kids, the Boston Red Sox will win another World Series … in memory of Red Sox Hall of Famer pitcher Tim Wakefield, who died of brain cancer in 2023.”

Economy in transition

“The larger economy is expected to continue to contract during the first half of 2024, with the second half of the year being fairly robust, as the economy moves into full recovery mode. A lower interest rate environment will emerge as we progress throughout 2024, with rates being lower by the end of year from the higher rates at the beginning of the year. Housing inventories should begin to return to more normal levels, from the low levels of the past few years. Overall, 2024 will be a transitional year as we emerge from the economic slowdown that we saw during 2023.”
— Andrew Silsby, Kennebec Savings Bank president and CEO 

Mortgage rates  

Man portrait
Provided photo
Mark Violette

“I’m hopeful that mortgage rates will continue to decrease, especially after the December Fed meeting, where they clearly stated that there will no longer be any increases by them and are currently planning on three decreases in 2024. Keep in mind, the Feds don’t directly impact mortgage rates though do have quite an influence on Wall Street, who ultimately controls mortgage-backed securities and hence mortgage rates.”
— Mark Violette, Scarborough-based mortgage broker and owner, Maine Mortgage Solutions LLC 

Maine stayers

“Based on a lot of conversations I've had the past few weeks, I predict — and hope — that we will see many people who moved to Maine during the pandemic and have been working remotely make a change to start working for Maine-based organizations or starting their own companies here in Maine. There is an incredible amount of talent that moved to Maine the last few years, and I think many of them have a desire to make a bigger impact on the Maine economy.”
— Chris Wolfel, associate vice president and head of entrepreneurship and venture creation, Roux Institute at Northeastern University

kayakers on the ocean
Photo / Renee Cordes
Kayakers on Casco Bay catch the first sunrise of the new year on Jan. 1, 2024.

Outdoor brands 

"Maine's outdoor brands that tailor their messaging to emphasize experiences over products will rise above others.”
Kristina Cannon, Main Street Skowhegan president and CEO

Employee benefits​

Woman seated in nature
File photo/ Jim Neuger
Colleen Kavanagh

“With Forbes reporting that 41% of employees plan to leave their jobs in 2024, workplaces will need to get serious about employee support this year. We will see an accelerated prioritization of investment in benefits, and it will become increasingly clear which employers are walking the talk when it comes to corporate culture.” 
— Colleen Kavanagh, SoulBeing founder and CEO 

Going green: Two predictions 

“Tens of thousands of Maine families and businesses will save thousands of dollars in 2024 due to the green economy and energy efficiency upgrades, and they'll spend some of their savings on outdoor gear and at farmer's markets and Maine pubs.”
— Eric Howard, executive director, Environmental & Energy Technology Council of Maine (E2Tech) 

“I think 2024 will be the year for recycling-based businesses. Entrepreneurship has always been about seeing value where others don’t. It’s a good time for startups who think about how we use products in new and different ways. I can foresee the new cleantech incubator at the Roux Institute being a good opportunity for emerging business models like product-as-a-service and the sharing economy. Imagine, for example, if you rented and returned batteries, instead of buying them and throwing them away, sort of like we used to do with milk jugs. That’s just one of thousands of possible ideas."
— Biddeford Mayor Martin Grohman, who is also a business growth consultant at Eaton Peabody and E2Tech's former executive director 

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