Foster Center for Student Innovation

Orono incubator amasses innovative companies

By Lori Valigra in the August 16, 2013 Edition of the Mainebiz

photo-8At first glance, the Target Technology Incubator in Orono looks like any other modest, one-story building in an industrial park. But within its white and grey clapboard siding, startup companies are developing ceramic water filters, composite bridges, high-temperature wireless sensors, odor-control paper and a mobile application for sports goalies, innovations that might one day drive economic development in the Bangor area and root Maine's young entrepreneurs to build new companies here.

Early successes are evident. Take Emma Wilson, 21, a rising senior at the University of Maine in Orono, who fully expected she would have to leave the state to get a good job after graduating next May. Then she discovered the Innovate for Maine program, which opened the door to a paid summer internship with Zeomatrix LLC, a Target Technology Incubator tenant that is developing value-added, odor-control paper products.

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"Spark!" Bangor

Innovation Engineering Student Launches "Spark!" Project

IMG 0111UMaine grad student Jennifer Hooper is using Innovation Engineering practice in her graduate work as an Intermedia MFA student.  Hooper launched a project called "spark!" in November 2012. Her goal is to create ways for Bangor community members to express ideas about making Bangor a better place in fun, interesting, and provocative ways. "I want to create forms of community express that extend beyond traditional forms such as ballots, council meetings, surveys, or public hearings."

The first "spark!" project was a community engagement at the downtown Bangor artwalk
on November 16, 2012.  Hooper created "fill-in-the-blank" labels that asked visitors to finish 
this sentence: "With a magic wand, I would make Bangor better by..."  As the labels were completed, they were affixed to the storefront window of 81 Main Street (the future home of River City Cinema).  The stickers remained on the storefront for several weeks, with blanks available for additional contributions.  "The project has been very well received," Hooper says. "People have been very enthusiastic and eager to participate."

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EPIC Fashion Show

Models, designers strut their stuff for cancer

By Lauren Reeves
Posted on Oct. 28, 2012, at 9:54 p.m

The second-annual University of Maine Epic Fashion Show, hosted by Her Campus, turned out to be another great success. The Tuesday night show raked in $233 for Susan G. Komen for the Cure, a foundation that supports breast cancer research.

Also known as the “Collegiette’s Guide to Life,” Her Campus is an online magazine that targets female college students. Chapters have emerged in different colleges and universities throughout the country.

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Hall and LabelTop Software Join Forces to Provide Mobile App and Marketing Solutions

Recent Innovation Center grad joins forces with Top Gun Alum

Hall Internet Marketing, Maine’s largest 100% interactive agency, announced that they have joined forces with mobile application development firm, LabelTop Software, to complement their existing mobile marketing and mobile web offerings.  Prior to adding LabelTop’s native web app expertise, Hall completed development of their responsive design mobile framework and mobile landing page framework, both work hand in hand with their mobile SEO and mobile advertising programs that they provide to many national brands.  

“Following the completion of our successful mobile web framework and our responsive design process, it is exciting to have the opportunity to complete that suite of skills and offer native app development and distribution,” says Tom Hall, president of Hall Internet Marketing, “This gives us a strong competitive advantage in mobile marketing as we go head to head with regional and national agencies in this rapidly evolving space.” 

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Young Maine Merchants Fearless

Owners of new businesses undaunted by economy

By Jessica Hall Staff Writer
Morning Sentinel, July 1, 2012

The Great Recession and an economy that has remained sluggish have provided a daunting backdrop to would-be entrepreneurs over the past few years.

But even with unemployment among young adults more than double that of the rest of the state’s work force, some ambitious twenty-somethings in Greater Portland have bucked the odds and started their own businesses.

These young entrepreneurs say their projects grew out of longtime dreams, fueled with unending confidence and nurtured with some raw nerve and naivete. One found inspiration amid the scraps of sail cloth on a sewing room floor, another juggles a second job overnight to finance a daytime dream of running a surf shop, while a third had the courage to scrap her business plan and start over after a misstep.

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Innovation Engineering Student Highlights Broadband Future

University of Maine Student Highlights Broadband Future

MAY 23, 2012 - 2:11 PM

On May 2nd, University of Maine President Paul Ferguson, GWI, Inc. CEO Fletcher Kittredge, national Gig.U Executive Director Blair Levin were joined today by local and regional business and municipal leaders to announce GWI’s plans to build an ultra-high-speed, Gigabit Main Street Internet Network in the Old Town and Orono communities surrounding the University of Maine campus to drive innovation and create economic opportunity. University of Maine and Innovation Engineering student Nate Wildes stole the show with his comments.  Check out the video at

Brothers win UM business challenge, $5,000 prize

By Lauren Abbate, The Maine Campus
Posted on April 23, 2012, at 2:48 a.m.

brothersThe University of Maine Business Challenge held its first award ceremony on Saturday at the Wells Conference Center, with a team of brothers taking first place for their business project, Aerial Fly.

First-place winners Luke and Jake Thomas won $5,000 and start-up business support from the challenge’s contributing companies. Second place was awarded to Shannon Byers and her business, Best In Show Paws; she received a $1,000 prize.

James Morin, Matt Ciampa, Owen McCarthy and Sangam Lama, all 2010 UMaine graduates, founded the competition.

“In its simplest form, which doesn’t do it any justice, it’s a business concept competition involving a business plan and a business pitch,” Morin said.

The four final businesses were offered the opportunity to start on the right foot with the chance to win the top $5,000 prize and “a basic business starter kit, if you will, with legal services, consulting, advertising [and] product development,” Morin said.

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