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Updated: April 24, 2024

Waterville business accelerator Dirigo Labs boosts its cleantech cachet

Two portraits of men Photos / Courtesy Dirigo Labs Bob Martin, left, former president of Maine Technology Institute, and Jeff Marks, executive director of Climate Work Maine, have been named executives-in-residence at Dirigo Labs.

Dirigo Labs, a startup business accelerator based in Waterville, has named two executives-in-residence to help drive innovation in the fast-growing clean technology field.

Bob Martin, former president of Maine Technology Institute, and Jeff Marks, executive director of Climate Work Maine, will work on a contractual basis for Dirigo Labs, according to a news release.

"This strategic move, supported by the Governor’s Energy Office through the Clean Energy Partnership program, marks a significant milestone in our commitment to nurturing innovation and empowering cleantech entrepreneurs,” said Executive Director Susan Ruhlin, who was honored as a Mainebiz Woman to Watch in 2023.

“These executives will bring invaluable expertise to our accelerator program, guiding startups in vital areas such as business development, marketing, and fundraising."

The addition of Martin and Marks helps expand the Dirigo Labs' involvement in the clean technology sector and will support the growth of cleantech entrepreneurs and startups in the state, the news release said.

The process is supported by a one-year contract from the Governor’s Energy Office through the Clean Energy Partnership.

Mentoring and workshops

As executives-in residence, Martin and Marks will help shape Dirigo Labs' cleantech programming by providing strategic guidance and expert advice to cohort companies in areas including business development, marketing and fundraising. 

"Being selected for this role is not only an honor but also a testament to the collective commitment to advancing cleantech innovation in Maine,” Martin said. “I am excited to contribute to Dirigo Labs' mission, fostering innovation, and supporting the growth of cleantech entrepreneurs, ultimately driving positive change in our state."

Marks said, “In an increasingly carbon-constrained and climate-conscious economy, Maine has potential to become a cleantech market leader. I look forward to cultivating collaborations that not only drive innovation. but also pave the way for sustainable growth and success in Maine’s cleantech industry.”

In addition to mentoring, the duo will help connect startups with key players in the cleantech sector as well as designing and leading workshops and training sessions.

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