Chesler goes on to say, “Maine has a strong history of entrepreneurship, but there are still barriers that prevent world-changing ideas from coming to market, especially when it comes to technology-based ventures.” He believes that the first is a lack of knowledge about what it takes to think big about an idea’s potential for scale. And the second is that would-be founders don’t have the funding they need to take the leap and work full-time on their venture.
These problems are especially prevalent amongst first-time, female, BIPOC, rural and other underrepresented Founders. Says Chesler, “There is nothing about having a good idea or developing a world-changing technology that prepares you for the challenges of being a Founder of a high-growth company; that’s where the Residency comes in.“
The Founder Residency works to solve these problems by providing Founders with the hands-on support and mentorship needed to help Founders turn ideas or technology into a product and, eventually, a successful company.
President and Chief Operating Officer of GWI, Kerem Durdag, says, “If we are to be a just and equal society, and if we are to anchor ourselves to a commitment of closing the economic divide and creating generational prosperity for all, we have to include underrepresented founders in our tables and break bread with them. It is my utmost belief that the future of the state of Maine, together with other important initiatives, lies in doing so.”