Central Maine Growth Council has received a one-year contract valued at nearly $112,000 from the Governor’s Energy Office.

The contract is through the Clean Energy Partnership program to expand the council’s Dirigo Labs accelerator program. The contract and additions to the Dirigo Labs program will prioritize companies that are engaging in sub sectors such as renewable energy, cleantech aerospace, environmental monitoring technologies, and innovation-enabling clean energy infrastructure, according to a news release from the Waterville-based council.

“CMGC and Dirigo Labs are honored to receive this significant grant from the Governor’s Energy Office, propelling Dirigo Labs in downtown Waterville. Committed to local economic development, this funding supports startups and entrepreneurs driving Maine toward sustainability,” said CMGC Director of Planning, Innovation, & Economic Development Garvan Donegan. “Strategically partnering with existing ecosystem partners and other awardees, including Northeastern University’s Roux Institute and Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI), we aim not just to boost local businesses but also to position the region and Maine as a cleantech leader. Together, we’re fostering innovation, creating jobs, and securing a resilient economy for our state.”

Building upon Dirigo Labs’ existing national mentor network, the accelerator will additionally recruit 10 to 15 mentors with deep cleantech experience. Curriculum development will concentrate on unique challenges faced by cleantech entrepreneurs, such as applying for Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer grants and cleantech funding sources, navigating energy regulations and policy frameworks, integrating sustainability best practices, and optimizing supply chain and manufacturing processes.

“This initiative underscores our unwavering dedication to empowering entrepreneurs in the cleantech sector with unparalleled support,” said Dirigo Labs Managing Director Susan Ruhlin. “Leveraging our extensive national mentor network and enlisting mentors steeped in cleantech expertise, we are actively shaping a robust foundation for entrepreneurial success.”

“With funding through Governor Mills’ Maine Jobs and Recovery Plan, CMGC and Dirigo Labs’ accelerator program will contribute to Central Maine’s economic growth and the State’s goal of having 30,000 clean energy jobs by 2030,” said Dan Burgess, director of the Governor’s Energy Office.

In addition to the creation of a cleantech curriculum, an entrepreneur-in-residence will be chosen and contracted through a competitive Request for Qualifications process to assist the Dirigo Labs’ cleantech initiative, expanding influence in Maine’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and facilitating the recruitment of cleantech entrepreneurs and startups.

People can submit questions or requests for information to CMGC at launchwell@dirigolabs.org, subject line: Cleantech EiR RFQ by Sunday, Jan. 21. Submittals must be made electronically to launchwell@dirigolabs.org by midnight Friday, Jan. 26. The full RFQ can be found at dirigolabs.org.


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