Five Portland entrepreneurs, from a group of about 45 nominees, took home awards for young Portland-area startups last night, kicking off the weeklong Maine Startup and Create Week — which I wrote about here — that aims to showcase and support the state’s early-stage businesses.
Besides winning award guitars from the Portland Regional Chamber’s young professionals’ group, PROPEL, the companies winning Thursday get a range of free services — legal, marketing, etc. — that stands to help them move their businesses to the next stage.
Before I get to the winners, I wanted to note you can follow along with all of the who-whats-and-wheres of the weekend at the hashtag #MSCW. I mention that before the winners because, if you were following along there, you probably already know who they are.
All of the young companies recently expanded or have plans to grow. Kurier, a leather craft maker, recently opened a Congress Street storefront and Portland Paddle plans to open a retail spot downtown as well, keeping its Casco Bay kayak touring business operating year-round. Think Tank recently expanded to its first satellite office in Yarmouth and has a goal to take its co-working model national. Maine Pie Line — which won the award in part for working with and hiring refugees coming to Portland — has recently increased its wholesale distribution and inked agreements with three Maine-based distributors.
They’re all Maine companies to watch and there will be more throughout the week.
And I can’t end this blog post without noting: I realize this deals primarily with neither widgets nor digits. So…
Since the week focuses on young companies and entrepreneurs, here’s a look at the economic impact of Maine companies by business size, from 2011 census data: