PORTLAND, Maine, June 28, 2023 – The Maine Center for Entrepreneurs (MCE) and FocusMaine are proud to announce the launch of FoodTech Maine, a new business accelerator aimed at advancing innovation and growth in Maine’s food, agriculture, and aquaculture industries.
The FoodTech Maine program addresses the need to revolutionize traditional food value chains, driven by macro-level food trends. With the rising demand for healthy and sustainable food sources, population growth forecasts, climate change, and increased trade competition, Maine’s food industry faces unique challenges. The emerging field of food tech offers the opportunity to leverage innovation, technology, and science to enhance the efficiency and sustainability of the agrifood industry in all its stages including designing, producing, processing, packaging, distribution, consumption, and waste management. It also builds on Maine’s rich history in high-quality food and beverage production and will position the state to play a more prominent role in the fast-growing niche industry of food tech.
By fostering collaboration among Maine-based food technology companies and research assets, FoodTech Maine will support the commercializing of products, scaling of operations, and establishing Maine as an industry hub for food tech excellence. The program will provide resources, expertise, and networking opportunities to enable participating companies to thrive and contribute to the robust FoodTech ecosystem in Maine.
“The demand for improved food value chains is increasing as consumers seeks out healthier and more sustainable food options,” said Tom Rainey, MCE Executive Director. “Maine’s pristine natural resources, heritage food industries, and innovative spirit uniquely position us to grow our food tech industry. We will empower our clients to drive innovation, create high-paying jobs, and establish a center of excellence in food, beverage, agriculture, and aquaculture-related business development.”
FoodTech Maine is an essential addition to MCE’s existing suite of food industry support programs, including Top Gun, Cultivator, and MarketShare. It will complement and expand on these programs.
FoodTech Maine’s primary objectives:
1. Connect and foster collaboration among early-stage and mid-sized companies in Maine with a product or service that utilizes technology, innovation, or science to improve the food value chain. This collaboration, combined with customized education and coaching from MCE’s network of local, national, and global industry experts, will help these companies commercialize their products, scale their businesses, and contribute to the growth of the industry in Maine.
2. Establish a central focal point for coordinating and branding Maine as a center of excellence in food, beverage, agriculture, and aquaculture-related innovation, science, and technology development. FoodTech Maine will showcase the state’s innovation and expertise, attracting interest and investment from regional, national and international leaders and organizations.
Possible applications of FoodTech include:
● Food Production & Harvest ● Agriculture Tech
● Aquaculture Tech
● Food Processing & Value Add ● Food Safety & Traceability ● Sustainable Packaging
● Ingredient Supply
● Sales & Distribution
● Digital Products and Automation ● Next-Gen Food & Drink
● Consumer Apps & Services ● Surplus & Waste Management
Applications are now open and we are recruiting the first cohort of client companies. The FoodTech Maine pilot program is made possible by financial, programming and logistical support from FocusMaine and the Maine Technology Institute (MTI). MCE’s FoodTech program will coordinate closely with FocusMaine on the launch of the program, and we plan to add the Upstart Center, Bangor Innovation Center, and University of Maine as additional strategic partners.
“We are thrilled to launch FoodTech Maine and propel Maine’s food industry to new heights,” said Jason Mitchell, FoodTech Maine Program Manager. “With my experience in the food value chain and associated technology and innovation, I am excited to contribute to the success of this initiative. Together with Lydia Swann and our dedicated team, we aim to create an ecosystem where Maine companies developing food innovation, technology, and science can flourish and drive positive change in our state.”
About Jason Mitchell and Lydia Swann:
Jason Mitchell is a seasoned operations management executive, entrepreneur, and consultant. He is the Principal Consultant and Owner of Steamboat Road Consulting, specializing in operations management consulting for maritime, aquaculture, and manufacturing industries. Jason is also the Co-Founder of Norfolk Green Ventures (NGV), an investment company focused on the seaweed industry. With his expertise in the food value chain and technology, he brings valuable insights to the FoodTech Maine program. Lydia Swann is a highly skilled project manager with a decade of experience leading successful cross-functional projects in various industries.
For more information about FoodTech Maine and the Maine Center for Entrepreneurs, please visit https://www.mced.biz/foodtech-maine .
Founded in 1997, MCE is an independent non-profit organization based in Portland that helps the most promising Maine companies launch and grow through training, connections, and “hands-on” support from over 250 volunteer advisors and business mentors. MCE has a proven track record of serving the state with programs and services through a ‘hub and spoke’ approach. MCE develops programs and curricula that can be delivered at unique locations in partnership with local organizations in all corners of the state. Please visit https://www.mced.biz/ .
FocusMaine is a statewide economic development organization that works to create quality jobs and build a thriving workforce. With an emphasis on innovation and future readiness, FocusMaine works in partnerships to accelerate Maine’s food economy and bioeconomy. Together, we are generating opportunity and prosperity for Maine’s people, businesses, and communities. For more information, visit www.focusmaine.org.