Eight great reasons to create a startup in Maine.
By Jess Knox, Lead organizer of Maine Startup and Create Week (June 12-20)
- Quality of life. Maine is an amazing place to live and do business. It’s one of the safest states in the nation, family friendly, and with access to oceans, mountains, lakes, and rivers. Maine’s largest city, Portland, tops many national lists including:
- Travel + Leisure (2012): #7 Greenest City
- Parenting Magazine (2012): #3 Best City for Education
- Parenting Magazine (2012): #3 Best City for Families
- Travel + Leisure (2012): #5 Best City for Hipsters
- Kiplinger Magazine (2012): #1 Best City for Your Second Act
- Men’s Health (2012): #2 Most Eligible Women
- Travel+Leisure (2011): #1 Safest City
- Forbes (2011): #6 Best City for Young Adults
- The Advocate (2010): #8 Gayest City
- Portfolio.com (2010): #8 Fun City
- Outside Magazine (2010): Best Town in the East
- Bon Appétit (2010): Foodiest Small Town
- Self Magazine (2009): #3 Healthiest City For Women
- Forbes (2009): #1 Most Livable City
- Cost of living. For startups looking to keep overhead costs low, Portland has great workspaces: from office buildings and warehouses to historic and hip downtown lofts. These great spaces all come with rents that are a third of the cost of equivalent space in Boston and a quarter of the cost in New York.
- Community. We have a welcoming and friendly community that has been working hard to develop resources that foster, engage, and empower startups and entrepreneurs to grow their businesses in our city. Here, everyone wants to see everyone else succeed. Supporting local businesses is part of our culture. If you want to meet with a “fancy CEO” or someone who’s built a company here in Maine, you don’t have to ping them on LinkedIn for months or come up with a strategy. Often, you can just call up and make an appointment with them; that’s the supportive atmosphere that is common amongst our startup community.
- Resources. Ongoing community-driven efforts have resulted in Startup Weekends, numerous co-working spaces, and our first Startup Week, Maine Startup and Create Week, which will take place in June. We also have strong support from non-profit organizations and foundations. The Blackstone Accelerates Growth program is working to build intentional communities of innovation and entrepreneurship through its Innovation Hub program while the Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development’s Top Gun Accelerated Entrepreneurship Program works to develop skills and empower entrepreneurs to succeed at growing their business in Maine. It is because of resources like these that Portland, Maine was named one of Techie.com’s “10 Most Unexpected Cities for High-Tech Innovation” in 2013.
- Mentors. Maine is the retirement community of choice for many extraordinarily accomplished executives who buy into the state ethos of giving back. Some join MCED’s 80-strong Maine Mentor Network, others contribute through the Portland SCORE chapter which is one of the nation’s strongest, yet others contribute through Maine Angels or Common Good Ventures.”
- Funding. At both government and community levels, Maine is committed to providing funding to local startups. In March of 2014, a bill entitled “An Act To Increase Funding for Start-ups” became law in Maine, allowing Maine businesses to raise up to $1 million through “crowd investing” with fewer restrictions than the pending national “crowd investing” rules. At the community level, the Maine Angels was ranked 10th most active angel investor group in the country in 2012. It has grown to more than 70 members and has invested more than $11 million, about half of Maine companies.
- Travel Hub. The great quality of life and cost of living that Maine provides does not isolate companies from the amenities that larger cities provide. Portland, Maine is a convenient travel hub. The Portland International Jetport (PWM) is less than 10 minutes from downtown and provides daily nonstop flights to many major cities. Both the Amtrak Downeaster trains and Concord Trailways buses depart from the Portland Transportation Center for Boston and beyond, just 5 minutes from downtown.
- A free trip to Maine. Fill-out this form and we might select you to be one of the 10 people that we fly in for our Maine Startup and Create Week in June. Maine Startup & Create Week (MSCW) will be a great showcase for Maine’s vibrant, growing startup eco-system. The conference will take place in Portland from June 12 – June 20, 2014 and is comprised of 44 events over 8 days, with some of the biggest names in the startup, innovation, and entrepreneurial movements including Tom Davidson, CEO of Everfi; Steven Koltai, Founder of Koltai & Co; Brad Feld, Co-Founder of Foundry Group; Shauna Causey, Startup Advisor and Vice President of Marketing/Community at UP Global; John Harthone, Founder and CEO of MassChallenge; Danielle Neurenberg, President of Food Tank; and Karen Gordon Mills, Senior Fellow Harvard Business School and Harvard Kennedy School (former Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration).