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Janine Cary of the Maine International Trade Center

Janine Cary as Grow Maine Show Logo

In 2016: 2,264 Maine companies exported $2.8 billion in goods and services to 168 countries. International trade supports nearly 1 in 4 Maine jobs. The Maine International Trade Center, led since 2005 by my guest Janine Cary, makes it all happen by advising Maine companies on both the technical and the operational sides of exporting.

If your growing business is looking to begin exporting, Maine International Trade Day on May 25, 2017 presents a unique opportunity to get a rocket start. Sign up here.

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The Importance of Engineers in Growing Maine’s Economy, recorded at Maine State Chamber of Commerce Engineering Workforce Summit

Maine Engineering Workforce Summit

A little self-aggrandizing here, since I’m a chemical engineer myself, but I very much enjoyed this talk by Charles “Chuck” Lawton, well known newspaper columnist and consulting economist. The take is that engineers create jobs, and moving engineers into the Maine workforce is a good thing.

Special thanks to the Maine State Chamber of Commerce, who always put on good events, and Headlight Audio Visual, for the great work on the audio for the event.

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Flowfold Logo

One of the things I love about these pitches is that we get to hear the creation story of interesting Maine startups. Digging into what makes Maine businesses tick is essentially the mission of my podcast overall. Flowfold, in their second consecutive appearance at the Launchpad, gives a great presentation, including how the founders stitched the first 1,000 wallets themselves in their parents’ spare room.

Since founding the company, they have grown to 5 employees, automated and added equipment, and developed some of the highest rated products on Amazon.

In the audio, in an attempt to build suspense (since there are three more episodes coming), I don’t mention that Flowfold, the second of five pitches given that day, is the winner. But I can tell you here: see if you can pick out the elements that made the judges prefer this proposal, and enjoy and share this pitch that won $30,000!


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#24: Marada Cook of Northern Girl, Maine Food Entrepreneur

Marada Cook of Northern Girl

Marada Cook is one of Maine’s most remarkable entrepreneurs. She’s part owner and manager of three Maine food companies, Northern Girl, Fiddler’s Green Farm, and Crown of Maine Organic, that repurpose, distribute, and sell Maine produce across the northeast and have become core to the regional food system. Join me for a conversation with Marada where she describes – in her understated way – the development of these three companies to where they are today. Recorded onsite at the Slow Money Maine conference.

Marada Cook of Northern Girl

Marada Cook of Northern Girl

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#19: Angus King, US Senator from Maine, on growing business in Maine

This week we are pleased to welcome Angus King, former Governor and current US Senator, to the Grow Maine Show!  Angus was kind enough to invite me to his understated home in Brunswick for a great discussion about what he’s reading, the perspective he’s AngusKingGrowMaineStickergained from representing the Great State of Maine in Washington, D.C., and about Forbes Magazine and how they do their rankings.

So listen, share, and join the discussion in the comments below.  In fact, I’ll send a Grow Maine Show sticker – like the one Angus is holding – to everyone who posts a comment!

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#16: Pete Vigue of Cianbro

Pete Vigue is one of Maine’s most remarkable CEOs.  He’s led Cianbro Corporation, an employee – owned heavy construction firm

Pete Vigue 2013 - head shot

based in Pittsfield, Maine, through a period of remarkable growth, and he’s done it in an unexpected way.  In the lingo of these times, Cianbro has pivoted.

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On The Box!

DerekVolkBoxTalkRadioBox Talk Radio is a show hosted by Derek Volk of Volk Packaging.  Volk Packaging is this amazing company that has really diversified and serves many markets, from biotech to food to industrial all over the world, and Derek is the president.  He also hosts a weekly radio show on WLOB featuring Maine businesspeople from a diverse array of fields, and I was honored to have the chance to appear on it and post it here, so let’s take it away!

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#4: Clayton Kyle of Clynk

Clayton Kyle being escorted to the hockey rink

The remarkable thing about Clayton Kyle:  he has developed large-scale, successful businesses in two completely unrelated fields: commercial roofing insulation and beverage container recycling.  In between, he started a venture fund, and is skilled at recognizing opportunities.  When an insulation manufacturer consolidated, with no one left to serve the market, he put together a team and pursued the opportunity, developing a national business that still operates today.  When container recycling was frustrating (ever try “reverse vending”? – if so, you’re probably still in line), he licensed the technology to build Clynk, now processing more than 80 million containers a month. These startups were not based on specific technical knowledge, but rather upon Clayton’s ability to recognize an opportunity, and expertise in the business of growing businesses.

Clynk takes the frustrating out of recycling.  If you’ve seen Clynk’s branding, you know what I mean.  It’s eyecatching, and it conveys a key message: “we make recycling easy and fun”.  It even makes you feel a little virtuous (Clayton and I are both board members of The Upstream Policy Institute, which helps promote recycling legislation).  But the thing that surprised everybody (although it seems obvious now) is that a shopper is more likely to visit a store that offers Clynk.

Plus, you’ll learn things you didn’t know about deposit bottles; what to expect if your son builds a motorized bike; and the right kind of container to buy your beer in!

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