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August 14, 2020

Upstart Maine receives $60K to strengthen small businesses in Bangor area

PHOTO / LAURIE SCHREIBER Upstart Maine in Orono is receiving grants totaling $59,500 projected to assist 10 small local businesses. Seen here is the UpStart Center for Entrepreneurship, an incubator with research and development, lab facilities and related services.

Upstart Maine in Orono is receiving two grants totaling $59,500 that are projected to assist 10 small businesses in the Bangor region and beyond

The nonprofit entrepreneurship organization will receive $34,500 rural business development grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and a $25,000 “start up scale up” grant from the Maine Community Foundation, according to a news release.

“We have an increasing number of startups in the Bangor region, but it is only through deep connections with the larger community that startups can grow — especially innovation-driven startups that are developing products and services for sale to the nation and world,” Jason Harkins, vice president of UpStart Maine and co-founder of Scratchpad Accelerator, said in the release.

“They need quick market traction, talented teams that can navigate the business side of the enterprise, and eventually equity investors to scale their businesses. That’s the role of an ecosystem builder, to help entrepreneurs and the programs that support them to forge those connections.”   

Maine Community Foundation’s “start up scale up” program invests in nonprofit organizations and projects that help start up new businesses or help grow existing businesses. Recipients include incubator and “accelerator programs and collaborative workspaces.

“UpStart plays an essential role in helping to diversify our economy by supporting the growth of innovative companies reaching markets outside of Maine,” said Maggie Drummond-Bahl, senior program officer at the Maine Community Foundation. “And we know now more than ever before, a more diverse economy is a more resilient one.”

The funds will enable UpStart Maine to engage as an “ecosystem builder” to help build connections between entrepreneurs and community resources: mentors, senior executives in established organizations, companies that can serve as first customers and industry contacts, early-stage investors, and other entrepreneurs who have achieved commercial success.

The UpStart Maine coalition's members are:

Bangor Innovation Center (incubator with flex, production, distribution space)

• Bangor Region Top Gun (business accelerator program)

Big Gig (coaching, pitch and networking program)

• CoVort (coworking space)

MaineStream Finance (community development financial institution business assistance and micro-loans)

• Scratchpad Accelerator (seed accelerator)

• University of Maine Foster Center for Innovation (technical assistance, internship program, student incubator)

UpStart Center for Entrepreneurship (incubator with research and development, lab facilities and related services)

 “I am pleased that USDA Rural Development can assist Upstart Maine by providing essential funding that will help connect start-up businesses in the region to resources that will help them grow,” USDA Rural Development State Director Timothy Hobbs said in the release.

For more information on Upstart Maine, contact 207-866-2406 or

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