MSCW

Maine Startup & Create Week is ready for round two

The organizers of Maine Startup & Create Week have announced the dates for the 2015 edition.

The event will take place the week of June 22, 2015, according to Jess Knox, the event’s lead organizer. It will likely run through the following Sunday, which is June 28, but nothing is set in stone, he said.

Additional details about the venues the event will use and more specifics about the schedule are yet to be determined, but Knox said a team is hard at work to make the 2nd annual event better than the first.

“We want to get the save the date out there because there are so many great events that are happening in Maine,” said Knox, who’s also statewide hub coordinator for Blackstone Accelerates Growth. “We had a great experience last time and we’re still learning from talking to sponsors and speakers and participants about how to make the event even better next year.”

If you missed the inaugural Maine Startup & Create Week, it was a week-long celebration of entrepreneurship and innovation held in June at a number of venues in Portland. It consisted of 44 events spread over eight days that attracted more than 3,000 people.

Knox said attendees at the event next year should expect some changes as a result of attendee surveys and conversations with sponsors. Among the changes will be an effort to work closely with sponsors and other large companies to bring in employee recruits during the week.

“We just ran out of time, but we definitely heard some exciting feedback about the use of Maine Startup and Create Week as a robust tool to attract talent to Maine,” Knox said. “When people think about moving to Maine for a job they’re not just thinking about their first job, they’re thinking about their second and third job.” The week-long event offers an opportunity for companies to bring in recruits and other prospects they’re trying to impress and show off all Maine’s innovation community has to offer.

More experimentation in format should also be expected, Knox said. While the first event consisted almost entirely of panel discussions (a notable exception being Brad Feld’s talk about building Maine’s startup community), next year’s event will include a more diverse array of events, including skill-building workshops for startups and innovators and more curated conversations. There’s also a desire to do more to include the creative and hands-on innovators in the community — those that are actually building and manufacturing physical products — and to make clear that innovation does not only include technology startups.

“We really want to have a whole range of things to improve the user experience,” Knox said.