“Tell me the facts and I’ll learn. Tell me the truth and I’ll believe. But tell me a story and it will live in my heart forever.”

One of the most satisfying elements of leading the Maine Technology Institute (MTI) is that I am afforded a unique opportunity to meet and forge bonds with Maine’s incredible innovators, inventors, entrepreneurs, investors and business leaders. The stories of how they each overcame personal and professional challenges, endured failures, and relentlessly persevered to achieve success serve as a great source of inspiration.

I am, indeed, fortunate to work with these extraordinary individuals on a regular basis. From scientists in labs researching and developing cures for human diseases, to entrepreneurs converting their dreams and ideas into new products and companies, to leaders of mature Maine companies and industries sustaining and growing jobs, to skilled resource providers and mentors, Maine is blessed with a multitude of human capital, talent and expertise. In an effort to ensure that these stories are being communicated broadly to help provide inspiration and encouragement to Maine’s aspiring entrepreneurs, MTI has entered into a collaboration with Maine Startups Insider (MSI). Maine Startups Insider is a weekly newsletter and website dedicated to “news and insider-y details about Maine’s startup community.”

MTI’s collaboration takes the form of a sponsorship of a Founders Forum in the newsletter and on the website. Whit Richardson, founder of MSI and seasoned journalist, profiles a Maine company’s founder in a comprehensive interview that is revealed each Friday. While each of the founders and their respective companies have received some level of funding and support from MTI, the interviews are focused on the entrepreneurs, the challenges they faced, and opportunities they seized in growing their companies in our state.

The Founders Forum has featured three interviews thus far and the fourth is set to be released tomorrow. Find it here: http://mainestartupsinsider.com/newsletter/

The first Founders Forum featured Dr. Dan Mingle of Mingle Analytics and detailed how Mingle “proved the naysayers wrong, (by) growing a┬ácompany in rural Maine that provides technology solutions to healthcare organizations around the country.” The story was superbly written and it does a nice job of articulating Mingle’s dogged determination and his ability to grow his South Paris-based company to 63 employees.

The second Founders Forum profiled Rick Sales of Abierto Networks, an Eliot-based company “offering digital marketing solutions to the convenience store and fast food industry.” Abierto Networks, under Sales’ leadership, has grown to more than $4 million in annual revenue and 15 employees.

The third Founders Forum interview presented Jim Demer of DemerBox, the inventor of a portable, rugged, wireless and Bluetooth-enabled speaker that was first developed in the basement of his Falmouth home and has now sold over 1,200 units.

Again, the fourth Founders Forum comes out tomorrow and will feature another Maine dreamer and doer. We are pleased that these incredible stories are being told by the Maine entrepreneurs who have toiled to gain acceptance and customers and who continue on undeterred to grow revenues, employees and satisfaction. As the Native American proverb says, “Tell me the facts and I’ll learn. Tell me the truth and I’ll believe. But tell me a story and it will live in my heart forever.” There are tremendous things happening in Maine’s innovation economy and we need to continue to tell the stories and amplify the message so that more people will follow their dreams, take risks, and experience the fulfillment and pride that comes from the struggle and achievement.


Brian Whitney