Maine’s first Startup Weekend could be huge. Will you take part?

There’s a cool event coming up next month in Portland that anyone interested in entrepreneurship and startups should know about.

Actually, since entrepreneurship and startups are integral to the bigger economic development conversations we have in the state of Maine, pretty much everyone should know about this event.

Startup Weekend is exactly what it sounds like: A weekend dedicated to creating startups.

Teams of people — designers, marketers, web developers, thinkers, tinkerers, and toy makers (hey, it could happen) — get together and put all their time and energy over the course of 48 hours into coming up with a great idea for a business.

One of the reasons Startup Weekend will be important is that it will bring together entrepreneurs and the various resources and contacts that can help startups along the way, according to Liz Trice, one of the event’s organizers.

“Entrepreneurial activity is all about making connections,” Trice said. “That’s one of the great things about Startup Weekend. It will forge new working relationships, make connections between ideas in different industries, and will put us on the global Startup Weekend map”

What Liz means in that last part is that Portland will join a global community of entrepreneurs who have held more than 700 Startup Weekends in more than 100 countries, from Mongolia to South Africa. And the cool thing: the events have yielded more than 10,000 startup businesses.

Startup Weekend will also be great for Portland and the state’s entrepreneurial community because it will reinforce key values important to any entrepreneur, according to John Voltz, who leads Blackstone Accelerates Growth and is helping organize Startup Weekend.

“The weekend gives the participants hands on experience thinking big, working together, iterating fast. These experiences multiply in the broader community. You get good at something by practicing,” he said. “Want more startups? Things like SW are part of the answer. In addition, the result is likely several brand new start up companies.”

The event takes place March 22-24 at PelotonLabs, a community workspace in Portland.

But today (Fri., Feb. 22) is the last day for early registration ($75 versus $99 after today). So register now. I’ll be there, and hope you will too.

Other organizations helping organize the event are Southern Maine Community College, the Maine Center for Creativity, the Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development, the Portland Public Library, Olympico Strategies and the local AIGA chapter.


Whit Richardson

About Whit Richardson

Whit Richardson is Business Editor at the Bangor Daily News. He blogs about Maine business, entrepreneurs and the economy.