Thursday, May 23, 2013
By Jessica Hall firstname.lastname@example.org
Blackstone Accelerates Growth expanded its entreprenurial program to create regional "innovation hubs" in Portland and Bangor and tapped five companies to receive specialized coaching and resources to help them grow.
In this 2007 file photo, John Villeneuve of Fluid Imaging shows off a new product, the PetroCAM. The Yarmouth Company is one of five Maine companies that will receive help from Blackstone Accelerates Growth's entrepreneurial; program.
John Ewing / Staff Photographer
The five companies include Pika Energy of Gorham, which makes small wind turbines; Newfield Design of West Newfield, which develops technology for mobile radio systems; Fluid Imaging of Yarmouth, which develops a new way to see particles in fluids for scientific and industrial companies; Cerahelix of Orono, a ceramic filters company, and RH Foster of Hampden, a regional oil and energy services firm.
The "innovation hubs" have expanded online enterpreneurship training statewide, placed 16 college students at internships and helped with connections that led to at least one angel investment for a clean-energy company.
"Maine is a good place to start a business, but we need to help businesses aim higher and reach their fullest potential faster," said John Voltz, Blackstone Accelerates Growth's executive director.
Started last year, Blackstone Accelerates Growth is $3 million effort to expand programs in Maine that support entrepreneurship and business innovations. The effort is supported by the Blackstone Charitable Foundation, was formed in 2007 when the private equity firm became a publicly traded company.
Going forward, the innovation hubs will offer office hours for enterpreneurs to work one-on-one with business-growth experts, offer training and development, networking events, paid internships and scholarships and coaching on seeking funding.
The program includes the Maine Technology Institute, University of Maine's Innovation Engineering Jump Start and the Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development's Top Gun program. The initiative had set a goal of creating as many as 10,000 jobs in the next 10 years.
Correction: This story was revised at 1:40 p.m., Oct. 4, 2012, to correctly identify Pika Energy of Gorham, which makes small wind turbines.