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PR: Energizing Maine’s Cleantech Landscape: Central Maine Growth Council Selected by Governor’s Energy Office to Receive Accelerator Boost, Launches Cleantech Entrepreneur-in-Residence Program at Dirigo Labs 

January 3, 2024

Waterville, ME 1/3/2024 – Central Maine Growth Council (CMGC) has been awarded a one-year contract valued at nearly $112,000 from the Governor’s Energy Office through the Clean Energy Partnership program to expand its Dirigo Labs accelerator program. The contract and additions to the Dirigo Labs program will prioritize companies that are engaging in sub sectors such as renewable energy, cleantech aerospace, environmental monitoring technologies, and innovation-enabling clean energy infrastructure.

“CMGC and Dirigo Labs are honored to receive this significant grant from the Governor’s Energy Office, propelling Dirigo Labs in downtown Waterville. Committed to local economic development, this funding supports startups and entrepreneurs driving Maine toward sustainability,” says CMGC Director of Planning, Innovation, & Economic Development Garvan Donegan. “Strategically partnering with existing ecosystem partners and other awardees, including Northeastern University’s Roux Institute and Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI), we aim not just to boost local businesses but also to position the region and Maine as a cleantech leader. Together, we’re fostering innovation, creating jobs, and securing a resilient economy for our state.”

Building upon Dirigo Labs’ existing national mentor network, the accelerator will additionally recruit ten (10) to fifteen (15) mentors with deep cleantech experience. Curriculum development will concentrate on unique challenges faced by cleantech entrepreneurs, such as applying for Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)/Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grants and cleantech funding sources, navigating energy regulations and policy frameworks, integrating sustainability best practices, and optimizing supply chain and manufacturing processes. 

“This initiative underscores our unwavering dedication to empowering entrepreneurs in the cleantech sector with unparalleled support,” emphasized Dirigo Labs Managing Director Susan Ruhlin. “Leveraging our extensive national mentor network and enlisting mentors steeped in cleantech expertise, we are actively shaping a robust foundation for entrepreneurial success.” 

“We are very pleased to award Central Maine Growth Council with this grant that will bring new support for cleantech innovation to Waterville,” said Dan Burgess, Director of the Governor’s Energy Office. “With funding through Governor Mills’ Maine Jobs and Recovery Plan, CMGC and Dirigo Labs’ accelerator program will contribute to Central Maine’s economic growth and the State’s goal of having 30,000 clean energy jobs by 2030.”

In addition to the creation of a cleantech curriculum, an entrepreneur-in-residence (EiR) will be chosen and contracted through a competitive Request for Qualifications (RFQ) process to assist the Dirigo Labs’ cleantech initiative, expanding influence in Maine’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and facilitating the recruitment of cleantech entrepreneurs and startups.

“Through a competitive RFQ process, we will identify and onboard an EiR who not only possesses a proven track record in cleantech entrepreneurship but also brings a wealth of experience and insights specific to our startups. This individual will play a crucial role in mentoring and guiding our cohort members by providing them with invaluable real-world knowledge and strategic guidance,” cites Dirigo Labs Program Manager Emalee Hall. “The EiR will not only contribute to the success of individual ventures but will also enhance the overall impact of our program on Maine’s cleantech ecosystem. We are excited about the possibilities this addition brings and look forward to empowering our entrepreneurs with the mentorship and expertise necessary to drive innovation and sustainable growth.”

Please submit questions and/or associated requests for information to CMGC at launchwell@dirigolabs.org, subject line: Cleantech EiR RFQ by January 21, 2024. Submittals must be made electronically to launchwell@dirigolabs.orgby midnight on January 26, 2024. The full RFQ can be found on Dirigo Labs website at http://tinyurl.com/4fwyrs3w.

About Central Maine Growth Council:
Central Maine Growth Council (CMGC), located in Waterville, Maine, is a public-private collaborative regional economic development partnership funded by municipalities and businesses who share a common vision of economic prosperity for our region. CMGC is committed to fostering a robust regional economy. We believe that a vibrant, healthy economy best serves our citizens’ standard of living and quality of life.

 About Dirigo Labs:
As a public-private economic development partnership fostering a robust mid-Maine economy, CMGC is organizing the tech industry’s ability to transition the post-manufacturing economy through the Dirigo Labs initiative. Through this initiative, Dirigo Labs will galvanize mid-Maine’s unique diversity of academic institutions and tech firms to develop a startup accelerator that harnesses the entrepreneurship and digital skills of our students, graduates, academic faculty, and business owners to build a sustainable tech and innovation hub that powers a thriving rural economy.

About the Governor’s Energy Office:The Maine Governor’s Energy Office (GEO), established within the Executive Department and directly responsible to the Governor, is the designated state energy office tasked with a wide range of activities relating to state energy policies, planning, and development. As the lead energy office for the state, GEO is responsible for several activities such as providing policy leadership and technical assistance, developing energy programs, monitoring energy markets, and reporting on heating fuel and energy prices. GEO works in partnership with various state agencies, federal and local officials, industry, nonprofit interests, and academia on energy issues.

Last modified: January 16, 2024

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