UMaine, Maine Technology Institute to launch entrepreneurship program

The University of Maine, in partnership with the Maine Technology Institute, is building a startup seed accelerator for Maine entrepreneurs. The pilot program, called Scratchpad Accelerator, starts Aug. 31 in Bangor.

Scratchpad Accelerator will work with up to four high-potential, high-growth entrepreneurial teams to validate their customer base, value proposition and business model. The selected startups will participate at no cost and will each receive $25,000 in seed funding. Participating entrepreneurs will work full time on their businesses, with daily learning sessions, extensive mentor interactions, and a push to develop and test hypotheses as frequently as possible to ensure that their companies are moving in the right direction.

The program will culminate with a Demo Day, at which each team will pitch its company to a group of potential investors for additional funding.

The accelerator will help entrepreneurs get to “go” or “no-go” decisions quickly — saving them time, money and energy — with the help of the Scratchpad team and statewide supporters. Ideally, the business ideas will lead to commercialization, but even a “no-go” result is considered a win if it shaves off months or years figuring it out.

The planning team is building on expertise from the University of Maine and the Maine Technology Institute (MTI). Leading the team is Jason Harkins, associate professor of entrepreneurship in the Maine Business School, in collaboration with Jennifer Hooper, entrepreneur and mentor coordinator at UMaine’s Foster Center for Student Innovation, and Joe Migliaccio, MTI’s director of business development.

The pilot program has long-term implications. The team also will create a Maine accelerator “playbook” that can be shared with other areas of the state, broadening the accelerator to a replicable model for any region.

Scratchpad is currently taking applications on its website. The application deadline is Aug. 14. To be eligible, entrepreneurs must have an idea with high-growth potential, a team of collaborators, a commitment to living in the Bangor area during the accelerator and a willingness to work long days for three months.

More details about the program are online; questions can be sent to