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Updated: September 30, 2019 / 2019 Next List Honorees

Serial entrepreneur: Starting up and up and up

Lisa Liberatore Photo / Tim Greenway Lisa Liberatore, founder of Lisa’s Legit Burritos and Scratchpad, CoVort

Lisa Liberatore is a chronic entrepreneur, cofounding Scratchpad Accelerator, with works with scalable female-led Bangor area entrepreneurs and startups, as well as Bangor’s first coworking space, CoVort, and is helping develop Millinocket’s first coworking space. She also founded Lisa’s Legit Burritos in Gardiner in 2011, and opened a shop in Augusta a couple years later, before opening a business in either of those downtowns was trendy.

Mainebiz: So, you started in Gardiner, but are now in ... ?

Lisa Liberatore: I live in Brewer, and also do investment real estate and have a passion for improving properties to attract more professionals to the area.

MB: With your restaurants, you took a chance on downtown Gardiner, and then Augusta, before it was a thing. What inspired you to locate there?

LL: My first downtown business, Baxter Tea Co., had a little shop across the street from Lisa’s Legit Burritos in Gardiner. The restaurant closed and it was an empty storefront. It was sad to see every day looking out the window, so we bought the building and opened the restaurant. But it is important to note that Baxter Tea Co. was my first downtown business and the business was sold a week before my son’s birth seven years ago.

MB: How did you go from Lisa’s Legit Burritos to Scratchpad, and how did the first prepare you for the second?

LL: I met Jason Harkins, the founder of Scratchpad, during Top Gun. It was through Top Gun I created the licensing agreement that allowed me to bring on awesome partner to run LLB [Ehrin and Jay Simanski] so I could focus on working with a different types of business — scalable, investment oriented, versus small business. I have built businesses from the ground up on a shoestring budget and created operations that can scale across multiple locations. It was those things that I am able to bring to help these entrepreneurs build the foundation that is critical as they scale across the country and world.

MB: You’ve also created the first coworking space in Bangor, and are collaborating on the new one in Millinocket. How does coworking fit into your overall mission?

LL: Yes, we were the first coworking space in Bangor. I was part of a grant that did research on bringing coworking model to Millinocket — just a consultant with a lot of expertise in the field, between running my own and also as a member of Startup Champion Network, a national sharing group dedicated to supporting innovation ecosystem builders.

MB: Would you have seen this all 10 years ago? And where do you see yourself in 10 years?

LL: Definitely didn’t see this 10 years ago. I wanted to make whatever community I’m in better and feel that I have achieved that higher level mission, but definitely didn’t picture all these businesses. In 10 years, I see myself still working in the entrepreneurial community with a focus on the national level to make strengthened the ecosystem from coast to coast.

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