February 15, 2018

Maine Startup & Create Week to continue under new brand and leadership

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Katie Shorey has been named president and chairwoman of the board for Startup Maine, the new brand for what used to be called Maine Startup & Create Week.

The annual Maine Startup & Create Week will continue under the new name of Startup Maine and new leadership, with Katie Shorey being named president and chairwoman of the board.

That's the message delivered in an open letter from the Startup Maine leadership team that addresses uncertainties left about its future in the wake of sexual harassment allegations in late January against Jess Knox, one of its co-founders. The full text of the letter is available in the PDF attachment at the end of this story.

Knox, co-founder of Venture Hall whose sudden resignation for "personal reasons" prompted the Portland-based business accelerator to shut down on Jan. 22, acknowledged in written statements to the Portland Press Herald and Bangor Daily News that he had behaved inappropriately toward two female associates.

Venture Hall's closure resulted in the immediate cancellation of a $475,000 three-year grant from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation Entrepreneurs' Policy Network awarded on Jan. 11 as part of a nationwide initiative intended to remove policy barriers hampering new business creation. Maine Accelerates Growth Initiative, launched in September 2015 by the Maine Technology Institute, and the annual Maine Startup & Create Week event both announced they would no longer be working with Knox or his business consulting firm, Olympic Strategies.

New leadership, new brand

"We are committed to organizing an event in 2018 and beyond," the Startup Maine leadership team stated in its open letter, noting that a steering committee has decided to formally incorporate as a Maine nonprofit corporation.

A copy of the letter was sent to supporters and sponsors, including Mainebiz.

"We are excited to share that the event has been rebranded under a new name, Startup Maine, and will have new leadership. Katie Shorey will hold the positions of president and chairwoman of the board," the letter stated.

Startup Maine's format will be shortened to three days: With evening programming planned for Thursday, June 21, and Friday, June 22, and an all-day session planned for Saturday, June 23.

The leadership team stated that the new schedule is intended to give more flexibility that will enable more people to participate in the various events.

"Further, Startup Maine will expand the extremely popular workshop and innovative hands-on sessions, and create more opportunities for community members to network purposefully and build off the incredible assets of the group," the leadership team stated. "We are excited to bring this new condensed format with more flexible hours — combined with national, inspirational speakers — to Maine."

To learn more about Startup Maine, contact Katie Shorey at or call 207-831-6366.


Open letter from Maine Startup leadership team


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