One of the key pieces of Maine’s strong startup ecosystem is our network of business incubators and accelerators, which provide space, expertise, and collaboration to help startups advance to the next level. The state also boasts a series of pitch competitions for entrepreneurs seeking to take their business to the next level. Reach out to the Office of Business Development if you need help connecting with one of these organizations, or if you want to learn more about Maine’s startup ecosystem.
The State of Maine does not vet or endorse any specific resource, but we are confident you will find supports that match your needs.
UpStart Center Incubator
Provides physical space at a discounted rental rate, management assistance, business coaching, access to financing, networking events, and more to help entrepreneurs start their business.
The Startup Circuit at UMaine
Program at UMaine’s Foster Innovation Center that helps entrepreneurs start, grow, and scale innovation-driven companies. Offers coaching, connections to UMaine resources, mentoring, workshops, and more.
Northeastern University’s Roux Institute offers a one-year Startup Residency program to connect early-stage businesses to resources from the university’s global network.
BlueSwell - Sea Ahead
Incubator for bluetech ventures with a substantial potential for impact. Helps new founders convert their ocean-focused concepts into profitable and sustainable businesses by bridging gaps of funding and mentorship.
Gulf of Maine Seafood SPRINT
Incubator for bluetech and seafood-related businesses, entrepreneurs, and innovators seeking to make the coast of the Gulf of Maine a hub for bluetech innovation. Provides access to networks of innovators, funding opportunities, research, and hands-on business support.
Incubator at Brunswick Landing for early-stage technology and manufacturing businesses. Gives entrepreneurs a collaborative environment in which to network with other innovators, research and develop ideas, build prototypes, test products, assemble, grow, and learn.
Bangor Innovation Center
Offers flexible operating space at supportive rental rates for small businesses during their startup and early growth stages. Can accommodate manufacturers, research and development, distributors, and business services companies.
CEI Child Care Business Lab
CEI program that provides training to entrepreneurs seeking to start a childcare business. Includes guidance on the licensing process, one-on-one business advising, and assistance to develop a business plan and child care philosophy.
Top Gun (MCE)
The Maine Center of Entrepreneurs (MCE) hosts this 15-week program for entrepreneurs with a desire to grow their business. Includes mentoring, weekly gatherings, and training for businesses at any stage of growth. Final showcase winner receives a cash prize.
Aquaculture Top Gun (GMRI/MCE)
Hosted by the Gulf of Maine Research Institute and modeled on MCE Top Gun. Teaches aquaculture-specific business fundamentals and provides mentoring. Culminates in a “pitch-off” for cash prizes.
Cultivator (MCE) - Food, Beverage & Ag Accelerator
MCE program to help food, beverage, and agriculture businesses overcome challenges as they attempt to grow and scale.
MarketShare (MCE) - Food, Beverage & Ag Sales Accelerator
MCE program to help value-added food, beverage, and agriculture businesses sell their products out of state.
BioStartup (MCE) - Bioscience Business Accelerator
4-month MCE program that provides Maine biotech, digital health, life sciences, and medical device entrepreneurs with the tools and resources needed to accelerate their business.
Provides full-time support, access to mentors and experts, and assistance securing equity funding to promising Maine companies looking to grow to a national or international scale.
Entrepreneurship for All (EforAll)
Entrepreneurship for All (EforAll) is a startup accelerator focused on underrepresented entrepreneurs. The Accelerator is a free, one-year program offered twice a year in EforAll communities.
Dirigo Labs is a regional startup accelerator based in Waterville.
Founder Residency (Roux Institute)
The year-long Founder Residency is specifically designed to support women, people of color, LGBTQ+, and other historically marginalized people with high-growth, technology-based ventures. We provide the mentorship, capital, and curriculum you need to scale your business in Maine.
Future of Healthcare Founder Residency (Roux Institute)
The year-long Founder Residency is specifically designed to support HealthTech founders. Run in partnership with Northern Light Health, MaineHealth, and Maine Venture Fund, we provide the mentorship, capital, and curriculum you need to scale your business in Maine.
Gorham Savings Bank LaunchPad
Annual pitch competition that provides funding to help promising Maine entrepreneurs and small businesses reach the next level. Top prize is $50,000 with a couple smaller awards.
Competitive reality TV show in which entrepreneurs and established business owners compete for cash prizes to grow their business by pitching their business ideas to a panel of judges.
Downeast Business Boot Camp Pitch Off Competition
CEI hosted “boot camp” for entrepreneurs in Washington and Hancock Counties that includes workshops, mentoring, and a pitch competition.
Big Gig Pitch-Off
Bimonthly pitch competition for entrepreneurs in the Penobscot River Valley. Each session has a $500 cash prize and each winner goes on to compete for a $5000 grand prize at the Big Gig Finale.
Maine Startup Challenge
Annual business plan competition hosted by Maine Venture Fund. Designed to encourage participation and entrepreneurial thinking across all ages and stimulate the net generation of innovative Maine entrepreneurs. There are prizes for K-8, High School, College, and Open categories.
Start Summit (Roux Institute)
Start Summits are events that bring people from a variety of backgrounds and experience levels together to solve a specific problem or challenge. Each Start Summit is run in partnership with a team of local organizers and is centered around a place-based challenge or theme, culminating in teams pitching their ideas.