Portland, Maine

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Working In Portland

Portland is a community of sociable self-starters. People come here, or chose to stay here, to develop their craft, find talented collaborators, and build enduring businesses and discerning audiences. Here, good living and making a living go hand-in-hand. The following groups and resources are here to help you find your niche and make it work.

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Professional Groups

Each year, teams of filmmakers from Portland compete against each other--and then against teams from 86 other cities and countries--to make the best film in just two days in The 48 Hour Film Project.

The Ad Club of Maine is open to advertising and media professionals, offering its members professional development and networking opportunities, as well as recognition of creative excellence. The club hosts monthly meetings and the bi-annual Broderson Awards.

AIA Maine is the local chapter of the American Institute of Architects. The group provides public advocacy, volunteerism, educational programs, outreach events, and design awards competitions.

AIGA Maine is the local chapter of the leading national professional association for graphic designers. Membership benefits include discounts on services and products, health insurance, and exclusive access to new job opportunities.

Maine Association of Nonprofits is a membership organization that provides management training, leadership development and skill building programs, research and assessment tools, technical assistance, advocacy resources, and affordable healthcare and benefit plans, while strengthening, connecting, and advocating for Maine's nonprofits. 

The Maine Film Office is a government agency that helps bring film, television, and other media projects to Maine and works to expand and improve Maine's in-state production industry. The Film Office is aided and advised by The Maine Film & Video Association, the state’s trade group for the media production industry.

Maine Media Workshops in Rockport offers workshops and intensives on cinematography, editing, photography, writing, and other media-production related subjects that vary in length from a weekend to a 30-week certificate program.

The Maine Public Relations Council is a professional association of Maine public relations practitioners dedicated to the professional development of its members and to increased awareness of the value of public relations.

The Maine Studios is one of the largest film studios in the Northeast, with over 43,000 square feet of production and office space. The principals of the studio also manage the non-profit Maine Film Collaborative and the Maine Film Fund.

Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance supports writers, publishers, booksellers, and literary professionals with regular meetings, seminars, workshops, conferences, literary events, and retreats. The MWPA also hosts the Maine Literary Awards.

Portland Greendrinks is the Portland outpost of the international social networking Greendrinks group started in London in 1989. The informal, volunteer-managed gatherings bring together a wide variety of people with a common interest in environmental and sustainability issues. Greendrinks happens in different locations on the second Tuesday of every month at 5:30.

Portland Society for Architecture's membership includes architects, engineers, landscape architects, design professionals, and individuals committed to the protection and enhancement of those aspects of urban design which contribute to Portland’s economic activity and cultural identity. Their work includes advocacy and educational programming open to everyone.

Reverb is a nonprofit organization founded by environmentalist Lauren Sullivan and her musician husband, Adam Gardner (of the band Guster). Reverb provides greening programs and educational outreach for music tours.

Tech Maine hosts a wide variety of special interest and user groups on information technology, programming, and web development topics. They also have a wide variety of tech-specific resources, from education to job opportunities.

The Telling Room is a non-profit community writing center for young writers ages six to eighteen. They have large group of committed adult volunteers, and hold new volunteer orientations each month.

Incubators + Business Counseling

Casco Bay Technology Hub supports entrepreneurship, collaboration, networking, technology culture, eductation, recruiting, and funding, as the epicenter for all things tech in Portland.

Factory Portland provides business and marketing support for local bands and musicians.

Finance Authority of Maine provides guides for writing business plans and other resources to help Maine businesses grow, expand, and succeed, creating new employment opportunities that will benefit the people and communities of Maine.

Lift 360 offers consulting services that help nonprofits address their challenges and issues and take advantage of new opportunities. Lift 360's purpose is to develop stronger community leaders and build more effective nonprofits in order to create lasting social impact across Northern New England.

Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development is part of a state-wide incubator, runs the Top Gun entrepreneurship accelerator, and is part of the Portland Innovation Hub funded by Blackstone Accelerates Growth.

Maine Centers for Women, Work, and Community is a statewide organization that offers skills development and support in the areas of career planning, entrepreneurship, and financial management, to help Maine women build skills, gain confidence, and develop professional networks.

Maine International Trade Center is a public-private nonprofit organization that helps Maine businesses increase their international trade in goods and services through trade missions and related activities.

The Maine Small Business Development Centers provide comprehensive business management assistance, training, resource, and information services to small and technology-based businesses in Maine.

SCORE Maine provides free confidential business planning counseling, low cost workshops, and access to their extensive resource library.

Startup Portland is a "community of entrepreneurs, investors, technologists and creative misfits." Entrepreneurs can use the resources on their site and at their events to help new ventures get off the ground, while supporting others who are doing the same.

USM’s Center for Law & Innovation hosts conferences on legal and business issues affecting various technology sectors, and sponsors regular forums and lectures on law and innovation.

The Women’s Business Center at Coastal Enterprises Inc supports women business owners and entrepreneurs through free business counseling, workshops, training, and networking opportunities.

Co-working Spaces

Casco Bay Technology Hub is a Danforth Street space for Maine technology companies “to unite and inspire entrepreneurship and business growth through tech-centered events and business collaboration.”

Engine Room is a creative collaborative space where talented entrepreneurs, innovators, and collaborators come together to make it happen. In a building over 100 years old, this modern, open-concept space allows professionals to share their stimulating ideas with one another in an upbeat environment right on the fringe of Portland's Old Port.

Peloton Labs is a community workspace on Congress Street in Portland, designed as a co-working space for independent and creative business and civic professionals.

ThinkTank Portland is a business incubator and co-working space on Congress Street that provides Maine's creative professionals with a comfortable, convenient, and creative work environment.

Investment + Incentives

The City of Portland’s Economic Development Department has Creative Economy and Micro Business Loan Programs. Contact Business Programs Manager Nelle Hanig at (207) 756-8019 to find out more.

Maine & Company is a private, non-profit corporation that provides free and confidential services to companies moving to or growing in Maine. Resources include real estate site searches, data collection and analysis, incentives identification and valuation, site visit coordination, and financing coordination through their Maine Investment Exchange (MIX).

Maine Angels is a group of private investors interested in investing in and mentoring promising early-stage companies in Maine. The group generally meets on the fourth Friday of each month to review investment opportunities. Here's how to apply for Maine Angels financing.

The Portland Region Chamber of Commerce has a useful guide to many local and regional resources available to help businesses move to or grow in Portland. The Chamber also provides support and information about health insurance for small businesses and sole proprietors. If you are thinking of starting a business in Portland, there is a variety of federal, state, and municipal governmental resources that can assist you. The City of Portland has a Guide to Doing Business that includes a Start-Up Checklist with useful links and contact information. 

The State of Maine offers startup funding through the Finance Authority of Maine (FAME), the Maine Venture FundCEI Community Ventures, and Maine Technology Institute Seed Grants.

The State of Maine has many economic development resources available to businesses. Maine has recently expanded its Pine Tree Development Zone program to include businesses in Portland in a wide variety of sectors. Contact Portland area representative Brian Doyle at the Maine Department of Economic & Community Development at (207) 624-9807, (207) 441-6902, or brian.doyle@maine.gov to find out about tax incentives, reduced utility rates, help finding office space, and more. There are also dedicated venture capital funds and other funding sources that specifically invest in growing businesses in Maine and the Northeast.

All municipalities in Maine, including the City of Portland, can elect to offer businesses Tax Increment Financing incentives that help provide financing for infrastructure investments that will lead to increased tax valuations and related economic development benefits.

The State of Maine also has a variety of Tax Reimbursement Programs including Business Equipment Tax Reimbursement, Employment Tax Increment Financing, Pine Tree Development Zones, and Technology Tax Credits. As a further incentive to encourage small business startups, FAME offers the Maine Seed Capital Tax Credit Program.

There are a number of VC funds that specifically invest in the Northeast including: Borealis VenturesBrook Venture PartnersCEI VenturesMasthead Venture PartnersNorth Atlantic Capital, and Spinnaker Trust.

How to Find Office/Workspace

Craigslist has constantly updated listings for office spaces in Portland. Although there are some properties for sale, most of the listings are for smaller, less expensive rentals than what you will find with commercial brokers.

Maine & Company is a private, non-profit corporation that provides free and confidential services to companies locating to or growing in Maine. Resources include real estate site searches, data collection and analysis, incentives identification and valuation, site visit coordination, and financing coordination through their Maine Investment Exchange (MIX).

New England Commercial Property Exchange (NECPE), powered by Catylist, is the regional hub of the most comprehensive free real estate search service for commercial properties to buy or lease on the web.