Notes from Innovation Policyworks


Thirteen. That's the number of Maine companies in INC.'s annual list of the fastest growing 5000 companies in the US. Not a big number, but bigger than any year in recent memory by a factor of ten! Usually we have only one or two. So hurray for us!


And, all of these companies are technology companies. So are the companies in clean technology, probably the fastest growing sector in Maine. Truth is, the fastest growing companies and the fastest growing sectors in Maine all depend upon technology, innovation and entrepreneurship. It's time to tell our stories, and get the support and recognition that we deserve. MORE



Clean Technology in Maine Report Released


A new report, The Clean Technology Sector in Maine 2013, indicates that Maine experienced 31% growth in Clean Technology employment from 2003 to 2010 with an annual economic impact of more than $2.3 billion and 20,000 jobs. According to the report, prepared by University of Maine economists Todd Gabe and Caroline Noblet and Innovation Policyworks' Catherine Renault on behalf of the Environmental and Energy Technology Council of Maine (E2Tech):

  • Almost one-half of Maine's clean technology sector companies have expanded more than 10 percent in the last year, and 60 percent plan to expand and/or purchase new equipment in the next 3 years.
  • The average salary of clean technology occupations in Maine is $48,769, 24 percent higher than the 2012 per capita income.
  • One half of the fastest growing clean technology occupations require a Bachelor's degree in a science or engineering field.
  • Maine has a robust policy climate with regard to environmental and energy issues. In the last decade, this support was expanded to R&D in new technologies, especially in renewable energy.
  • Maine Technology Institute has invested $2.4 million in clean technology projects since 2007.
  • Maine has significant research assets in clean technology:
    • Advanced Structures and Composites Center (UMO)
    • Forest Bioproducts Research Institute (UMO)
    • Cellulose NanoFiber Pilot Plant (UMO)
    • Climate Change Institute (UMO)
    • Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences
  • A strong professional support services and nonprofit community enables the sector

To read the rest of the report, including details about our assets in this sector, click HERE.

Quote of the Month 


"If you think of it in terms of the Gold Rush, then you'd be pretty depressed right now because the last nugget of gold would be gone. But the good thing is, with innovation, there isn't a last nugget.  Every new thing creates two new questions and two new opportunities." 


Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon

How to Name Your Startup


Ever wonder where all those crazy names come from that you see on the pages of INC. and Fast Company? It turns out that there are scores of services on the web designed to find an entrepreneurs just the right name that is catchy, evocative of the benefit of the new product, and has a URL that hasn't been taken. The process involves quite a few steps. This blog lists them all, and helpful websites in the search for the perfect name --click HERE.

Wal-Mart and US Manufacturing Revival


In late August, Wal-Mart hosted a summit in Orlando to announce a huge push to buy an additional $50 billion in American-made products over the next 10 years. Wal-Mart's leadership framed this goal as a way to rebuild the middle class (and therefore their customer base?). Or, it may be that Wal-Mart executives have read the recent data showing that the US is becoming a low-cost producer, especially when compared to Europe, where labor and energy costs are soaring. You will also be interested to know that only certain Governors were invited to attend: Florida, South Carolina, Texas, Maine among them. What do these Governors have in common? They share a Tea Party approach to economic development - lower regulations and taxes. 

McKinsey Global Institute Names Five Opportunities for US Growth and Renewal


McKinsey's latest report details five game changers that can change the US economy. They are: (1) Capturing the Shale Oil opportunity that would revitalize the oil and gas industry and have downstream benefits for energy-intensive manufacturing. (2) Increasing US competitiveness in knowledge-intensive industries, by sustaining a commitment to R&D, innovation and improving the business environment through tax and regulatory reform. (3)Harness big data to drive labor productivity. (4) Building and repairing our infrastructure and (5) Investing in America's human capital. Read more HERE.

New SEC Rules on Raising Money

If you are in the market to raise money for your company in the equity markets, better check with your attorney, as the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) has issued new rules for Rule 506 private placements. Greg Fryer and Gabriel Weiss of Verrill Data explain these rules in a new memo HERE while Pierce Atwood is sponsoring a seminar on this issue on September 17 (info HERE). 

MA Tech Tax Attacked


Last spring, MA legislators enacted a new software services tax that imposes a 6.25 percent sales tax on a wide range of IT services. MA technology executives have already started a campaign to get the tax repealed, claiming that it is stifling their ability to expand. Several prominent companies have threatened to move to nearby NH. The complaints appear to stem from the size of the tax, especially compared to CT's 1 percent tax on all computer services. But economists claim that to balance out steep cuts in income taxes and corporate taxes, sales taxes on services will need to increase. 

In This Issue - September 2013
Clean Tech Report
How to Name Your Startup
Wal-mart and US Manufacturing
Five Opportunities for Growth
New SEC Rules
MA Tech Tax Attacked
IE Workshop Offered

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Want to see your company here? Send me your press releases and news!


To Top Gun graduate Planetary Emissions Management who has had its foundational patent allowed, and it will be issued shortly by the USPTO.


To Beltane, whose lightweight, high-capacity solar power generator is paired with desalination technology to make the unit even more useful in the developing world. They recently received another MTI award.

Innovation Engineering Workshop Offered

  • Is your company or organization growing?
  • Or are you just hanging on, hoping to beat the competition by offering lower prices? Are you leading your industry, but wondering how to keep that lead intact?
  • Are you frustrated because you have lots of new ideas, but they never get implemented in your company or organization?
  • Or are new ideas the ones that worked on Friday afternoon, after all the week's crises are taken care of?

Many organizations don't know how to build a system to reliably support innovation. While we have systems for manufacturing, purchasing, quality and even sales, few of us have a system for innovation.


Introducing Innovation EngineeringTM, a scientific system for growing a culture of never ending innovation with increased speed (up to 6X) and decreased risk (30-80%).


Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development and Innovation Policyworks announce a series of three intensive workshops introducing the concepts of Innovation Engineering.


When you are finished the three workshops, you will:

  • Have the tools to change innovation in your organization from a random event into a reliable, repeatable system.
  • Be able to create meaningfully unique ideas that customers will pay more for.
  • Communicate these ideas succinctly to customers, investors, partners and others in your company.
  • Get these ideas into the marketplace six times faster than what you are doing now.
  • Reduce the risk associated with new ideas by 30-80 percent.

The workshops are October 8, November 12 and December 10, from 5:30 to 7:30 pm at the Casco Bay Tech Hub, 30 Danforth Street, Portland, ME. Seating is limited, first come, first served. To signup, 

contact Laurie Johnson at ljohnson@mced.biz

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96 Maine Street, Suite 183 Brunswick, ME 04011 207.522.9028

Innovation Policyworks, LLC, is an innovation strategy firm focused on innovation policy and practice. Dr. Catherine S. Renault has been delivering innovation-based economic development results in rural states for over 22 years, most recently as science advisor and Director of the Office of Innovation for the State of Maine.  She is a Certified Innovation Engineering Black Belt.

Cathy is continuing to work with E2Tech on a strategy for the trade association to look at an expanded role as a cluster development organization.  For a list of projects, see www.innovationpolicyworks.com/projects.