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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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.
The Association for Consulting Expertise (ACE) is a non-profit association of independent consultants who value “Success through Collaboration.” The public is welcome to attend its regular meetings to share best practices and engage with industry experts.
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.
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.
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 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.
Investment + Incentives
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).
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 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
coworkHERS is a shared workspace and social club designed to support female professionals. They cater to women, and are dominated by women but welcome all people who wish to be a part of a safe, inspiring, encouraging, non-threatening, healthy, non-judgemental environment.
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.
Open Bench Project is a shared learn/work facility in Portland, Maine. They cultivate a community of makers by providing access to studio/work space, tools and resources around skill and capacity building.
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.
The Public Works is a collaborative workspace designed with Portland’s creative entrepreneur in mind. Offering private and open offices, event space, and larger workshops so that everyone - from designers to craftsmen - can work together under one roof to establish and grow their business.
Think Tank Coworking 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.
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).