WATERVILLE — Central Maine Growth Council is pleased to announce the appointment of Emalee Couture as growth manager for Dirigo Labs, a Waterville-based startup accelerator. Couture will be responsible for developing and managing relationships with a variety of organizations, startups, founders, and business professionals across New England, catalyzing entrepreneurship and innovation for both the mid-Maine region and the accelerator to ensure successful use of the Dirigo Labs platforms and suite of services.
“Maine has always felt like home to me,” states Couture. “I grew up here, went to school here, and I’m so excited to be back in the state I love and have the opportunity to work for Dirigo Labs to support the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the central Maine region.”
CMGC designed and led the initiative to create Dirigo Labs, encouraging the establishment of a vibrant startup hub for the mid-Maine region. In 2020, CMGC received a federal grant from the U.S. Economic Development Agency’s Build-to Scale Venture Challenge to implement the $1.2 million project. Core to the initiative will be the development of an innovation hub model that combines an entrepreneurship center, coworking space for remote workers, and an accelerator platform that empowers and connects entrepreneurs and startups with the innovation ecosystem, venture funding, and an entrepreneurial community to aggressively scale and master their business.
Emalee previously served as an associate officer at the Massachusetts Institute for Technology Technology Licensing Office where she was responsible for evaluating and protecting inventions and working with entrepreneurs and established companies to execute on intellectual property agreements, enabling the commercialization of MIT inventions. Emalee graduated from the University of Maine at Orono in May 2018 with a bachelor of science in engineering physics with a concentration in mechanical engineering.
“Emalee is a perfect example of a ‘boomeranger’ who has returned to Maine with much-needed experience that will ultimately help build a stronger economic future for our state,” said Susan Ruhlin, managing director of Dirigo Labs. “Her expertise in technology licensing and intellectual property assessment will be pivotal for the Dirigo Labs’ startup community; we are thrilled to have her on our growing and dynamic team.”
Applications for the Accelerator will open in late 2021, with an anticipated launch in early 2022. The cohort of innovation-based startups will participate in an entrepreneurship-focused curriculum, targeted mentoring sessions, and leverage the academic expertise from the accelerator’s partner institutions, student interns, and the region’s general business community. For more information about Dirigo Labs and Central Maine Growth Council, please visit http://www.centralmaine.org/region/dirigo-labs/.
Central Maine Growth Council, located in Waterville, is a public-private collaborative regional economic development partnership funded by municipalities and businesses who share a common vision of economic prosperity for our region. CMGC is committed to fostering a robust regional economy. We believe that a vibrant, healthy economy best serves our citizens’ standard of living and quality of life.
As a public-private economic development partnership fostering a robust
mid-Maine economy, CMGC is organizing the tech industry’s ability to transition the post-manufacturing economy through the Dirigo Labs initiative. Through this initiative, Dirigo Labs will galvanize mid-Maine’s unique diversity of academic institutions and tech firms to develop a startup accelerator that harnesses the entrepreneurship and digital skills of our students, graduates, academic faculty, and business owners to build a sustainable tech and innovation hub that powers a thriving rural economy.