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July 12, 2021

Survey for entrepreneurs will help develop Dirigo Labs innovation hub

Courtesy / Central Maine Growth Council A graphic on the Dirigo Labs website illustrates the elements of a vibrant innovation hub. Central Maine Growth Council is offering a survey to entrepreneurs to gather information as Dirigo Labs nears its public launch.

The Central Maine Growth Council is offering a survey for entrepreneurs and startups that will help evaluate activity, needs and goals of the sector across Maine as the council develops the Dirigo Labs innovation hub in Waterville.

The survey will collect feedback regarding topics that include startup needs, business development, educational training and investment objectives. The goal is to evaluate how CMGC and area institutions can more effectively engage investors, funders and partners to support Maine-based entrepreneurs.

“Entrepreneurs are pioneering approaches that drive our local economies, catalyze creativity, and support durable innovation ecosystems,” said Garvan Donegan, CMGC director of planning, innovation and economic development. “As the Growth Council embarks on the public opening of Dirigo Labs, we’re thrilled to launch the Maine Startup Census to cull data points and content that will help inform Dirigo Labs about the needs of entrepreneurs and Maine-based startups.”

Dirigo Labs comes after CMGC's selection, in 2020, as the only New England-based organization to participate in the Center on Rural Innovation’s Rural Innovation Initiative, a national technical assistance program which supports rural communities creating digital economy jobs through innovation hub strategies. Subsequently, CMGC was awarded a U.S. Economic Development Administration Build to Scale grant that supports the Dirigo Labs launch. The accelerator program is aimed at fostering innovation and Maine-based entrepreneurs by enhancing local resources for early-stage startups and creating curriculum and investment opportunities for maturing startups. 

The survey's findings will help form the strategic operations for Dirigo Labs, which will develop a 12- to 18-week curriculum inspired by both high-growth industry sectors and Maine’s legacy industries.

Colby College, Thomas College’s Harold Alfond Institute for Business Innovation, Kennebec Valley Community College and other regional and statewide education institutions will supply academic and workforce support, and Bricks Coworking and Innovation Space, in Waterville, will provide event and work space, equipment and curriculum design assistance.

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