The first ever Maine Startup & Create Week is kicking off tomorrow as a celebration of the growing innovation community in the state that had the tenth most active angel investor community in 2012 according to the Halo Report: Angel Group Update.
Taking place at multiple venues across Portland, the event, which will run from June 12 to June 20, aims to promote Maine’s budding startup eco-system.
Starting with tomorrow night’s PROPEL Entreverge Young Entrepreneur Awards and continuing to next Friday, the weeklong festivities include a Startup Weekend, multiple days of tech and innovation-focused panels, a pitch contest, a few networking nights, and a giant kickoff party called the “Think Big” Bash.
Among the speakers and honored guest participating in Maine Startup & Create Week are Maine Senator Angus King, John Harthorne of MassChallenge, Tom Davidson of Everfi, writer and Foundry Group managing director Brad Feld, and BetaBoston contributor Scott Kirsner, among many others.
The event is being run by several Maine entrepreneur and tech-focused groups including Startup Portland, PelotonLabs, the Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development, Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Portland Public Library, SMCC’s Entrepreneurship Center, and a few others.
Jess Knox, the president of Olympico Strategies, is one of the key figures behind the creation of the event. Recently, he said that there was a growing buzz for Startup & Create Week. “We are very pleased with the response that we’ve seen,” said Knox. “We think that it underlies the very good timing of an event of this type that presents an opportunity to showcase Maine companies and to create a series of collisions between Maine companies and those outside the state.”
Maine recently passed “An Act To Increase Funding for Start-ups” into law, which allows the state’s businesses to raise up to $1 million through “crowd investing,” making Maine one of the friendliest states to an expanding crowd funding movement.
With growing tech companies like CashStar, a reputation as one of the best “foodie” cities in the country, and an identification as a destination for adventure sports and outdoors lovers, Portland is becoming an attractive location for startups and larger companies alike. The Startup & Create Week is a great opportunity for the community to celebrate and showcase the great city and its growing innovation cluster.
“We are really excited to showcase the vibrant and growing startup community that we have not only to people in Maine, but those outside the state,” Knox said.