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PR: Bill and Joan Alfond Foundation Awards Funding to Dirigo Labs to Support Business Accelerator, Innovation Ecosystem 

May 11, 2022

Waterville, ME, 5/11/2022 – Bill and Joan Alfond announced a grant from their foundation today to the Central Maine Community Betterment Collaborative for the Dirigo Labs business accelerator program. This grant will bolster Dirigo Labs’ physical infrastructure and ecosystem building in the greater Waterville area while highlighting the region’s technology and innovation sectors.

“Joan and I are pleased to support entrepreneurial innovation and the development of quality jobs in the greater Waterville area,” said Bill Alfond.

“This generous gift will help distinguish Dirigo Labs as a resource for founders from diverse backgrounds and industries looking to scale their businesses in an impactful manner,” said Managing Director Susan Ruhlin. “This funding will allow us to build upon our existing groundwork as we launch our inaugural cohort and build greater Waterville’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.”

Housed in Bricks Coworking and Innovation Space, located in the historic Hathaway Creative Center at 10 Water Street in Waterville, Dirigo Labs serves as a conduit for startups seeking access to mentorship, deal flow, venture capital, and strategic partnerships.

“Combining the momentum of building-out a greater Waterville area based innovation hub with the continued growth and revitalization of downtown Waterville, this grant will support entrepreneurs and startups that aim to launch and expand their respective businesses through innovative programming, access to diverse sources of capital, mentorship structures, and dedicated workspace in the downtown district,” states Central Maine Growth Council Director of Planning, Innovation, and Economic Development Garvan Donegan.

Launched on March 23, Dirigo Labs is currently hosting 12 Maine-based startups from various industries, ranging from the manufacturing of floating picnic tables, the development of food products, and software services. The 12-week program pairs companies with a curated temporary board of advisors. Participants have access to a robust network of local, regional, and national mentors and pro bono services. The program engages startups and founders through workshops covering a range of relevant subject matters, including product development strategies, marketing and branding, revenue modeling, and customer relationship management. After completing the curriculum, companies will participate in a public pitch event.

For startups and potential mentors interested in learning more about Dirigo Labs, please visit www.dirigolabs.org.

About Dirigo Labs:

Dirigo Labs is a regional startup accelerator based in Waterville, Maine. With a mission to grow the greater Waterville area’s digital economy by supporting entrepreneurs building innovation-based companies, the Dirigo Labs ecosystem brings together people, resources, and organizations to ensure the successful launch of new startups. Dirigo Labs operates under Central Maine Growth Council and is supported by several organizations, academic institutions, and investment firms. To learn more about Dirigo Labs, please visit www.dirigolabs.org.

Last modified: May 11, 2022

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