Innovate for Maine Fellows opens 2024 applications for students, companies

The University of Maine’s Foster Center for Innovation is seeking students and companies to participate in the 2024 Innovate for Maine Fellows internship program. Applications are now open.

Innovate for Maine connects passionate and curious Maine college students with the state’s most exciting and fastest growing companies for paid, meaningful, hands-on internship experiences. The program is looking for both student fellows to join the 2024 cohort and a variety of for-profit companies developing innovative products, services or processes to host them.

While a company of any size may apply to host an Innovate for Maine fellow (rates vary — more details here), funding from the Maine Jobs and Recovery Plan, Gov. Janet Mills’ plan approved by the Maine Legislature to invest the state’s share of federal American Rescue Plan relief funds provided by Congress, covers the full cost of a fellow for eligible companies. This program is intended to support the recovery and long-term growth of the many Maine startups and small businesses — those with fewer than 250 employees — that faced challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Funding is available for 40-60 interns in 2024.

Emphasizing innovation and entrepreneurship, Innovate for Maine prepares student fellows to collaborate with companies on novel projects that accelerate growth. Innovation projects can include work on new products or services, process improvements, market research, prototyping, sales forecasting and more.

Eligible students include those enrolled in undergraduate or graduate degree programs at any college or university in Maine, state residents enrolled in degree programs at colleges or universities outside of Maine and students who can demonstrate strong ties to the state.

Host companies can range in size from small startups to major corporations. Fellows can work full time or part time during the summer, with the possibility of continuing part time during the academic year. 

Trained innovation experts guide and mentor both the fellow and the company for the duration of the internship. UMaine recruits, screens, matches, hires and trains fellows to work on projects for companies selected to participate in the program.

Since Innovate for Maine Fellows was established in 2012, student participants have gained exposure to innovative companies and built strong networks that help them find opportunities to stay in Maine.

“Innovate for Maine presents great opportunities for its members; the program led to my first job as a business developer with Compotech,” said William Carrolton, a senior economics major at UMaine and 2023 Innovate for Maine fellow. “I plan on commissioning as a military officer after I graduate, and working with Compotech gave me valuable insights into the defense industry that will help me throughout my career.”

To apply or to learn more about Innovate for Maine Fellows, visit the program website.The application deadline for both students and companies is March 3.