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Updated: October 31, 2023

Waterville's Dirigo Labs expands program for next startup cohort

4 people sitting at a table File photo / Fred Field Dirigo Labs Managing Director Susan Ruhlin, second from left, was honored as a Mainebiz Woman to Watch in 2023.

Dirigo Labs, a startup accelerator in Waterville, is seeking applications for its third cohort of companies to take part in a 16-week program with an expanded curriculum.

The accelerator, housed at the Hathaway Creative Center in downtown Waterville, has worked with entrepreneurs and businesses across a range of industries, including biotechnology, health care and manufacturing.

The program was previously 12 weeks long. Going forward, the curriculum will emphasize revenue projections, capital strategy, customer acquisition and tactics to scale. Applications for the third cohort are due by Dec. 13.

"We look forward to selecting our third cohort of startup companies, further emphasizing our commitment to fostering entrepreneurship and business development,” said Dirigo Labs Managing Director Susan Ruhlin, who was recently honored as a Mainebiz Woman to Watch.

"Dirigo Labs is dedicated to empowering these innovative entrepreneurs, providing them with the tools and support needed to secure funding, create jobs and contribute to the growth and retention of businesses in our communities,” she added.

Startup teams are selected based on the stage of development, founder experience and potential to scale. 

Participants will also attend weekly seminars while engaging in customized curriculum to execute their project plans. Seminar topics will engage a wide range of subjects, including how to use public-private sector grants and economic incentives, customer acquisition strategies, capital planning and intellectual property evaluation.

"In today's competitive business landscape, financial literacy is an indispensable asset for founders seeking grants or technical assistance; our extended 16-week accelerator program places a strong emphasis on equipping entrepreneurs with the essential skills in pitch preparedness, revenue projections, budgeting, and business model refinement,” said Dirigo Labs Program Manager Emalee Couture. 

“At Dirigo Labs, we recognize the critical role financial knowledge plays in the success of startups across diverse industries, and we're here to ensure our founders are well-prepared to secure the support they need to thrive."

Dirigo Labs operates under the Central Maine Growth Council and is supported by several organizations, academic institutions and investment firms. 

How to apply 

Applications are due to Dirigo Labs by Dec. 15. Find the online application form here.

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