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Topher Mallory of Mexicali Blues, Split Rock Distilling and Royal Rose Simple Syrups

Topher Mallory

Topher Mallory has three roles: he’s CEO of Mexicali Blues, and co-owner and co-founder of Split Rock Distilling, which also owns Royal Rose syrups. So it’s three interviews in one, for Maine entrepreneurs! We recorded the interview at Topher’s office at Mexicali Blues in Newcastle, after a quick visit to one of the Mexicali Blues stores.

And if you’d like to put a startup guy in US Congress, learn more about me at martygrohman.com

And here are those great coupon codes: RoyalRoseSyrups.com for 20% off simple syrups: growmaine

And one for MexicaliBlues.com (online only) coupon is 15% off: growmaine

And as promised, here’s a link to Rich Brooks and Agents of Change conference; a link to Tim Ferriss and Tools of Titans, and a Link to the Book Essentialism.


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Gorham Savings Bank 2017 Launchpad Recap with Pitching Tips

GSB Launchpad Logo

Ok, so this episode is really amazing. It’s just the five pitches from last year’s GSB Launchpad and the judges questions, that’s it. Nothing in between, all killer no filler, with the winner announced at the end. Be sure to register for this year’s Launchpad, which is June 6. And stay tuned to the end, when I’ll give my pitch tips based on having listened to hundreds of pitches now. Add your own pitch tips in the comments, too, I’d love to compile a fuller list.

Now, register! It’s free and not to be missed:

Watch Five Maine Businesses Compete for $50,000.

Live LaunchPad Event


Interested in my campaign for US Congress? Learn more and get involved at martygrohman.com.

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Kay Aikin, CEO of Introspective Systems

Kay Aikin

Kay Aikin is CEO of Introspective Systems, a developer of electrical grid management software based in Portland, Maine. The company takes on complex systems and makes them simpler. Somewhere between the internet of things and artificial intelligence, there is an immense opportunity to reduce costs and gain efficiency in electrical systems, communications, medicine, and smart homes. And just about everything else.

This is clearly an immense opportunity. What is not immediately obvious is that Introspective Systems doesn’t seek to take on those complex problems themselves, but rather to build the systems that let others do it. It’s like running the trading post at the gold rush.

If this topic is for you, Introspective Systems is convening a series of artificial intelligence and cutting edge software tech get togethers called ‘Edge Talk’. Kay and others will lead the discussion. The next Edge Talk, “AI is the New Bacon” will explore differences between general and specific artificial intelligence applications and some of the many ways it can be used to solve complex problems in business. The event will take place on May 15 at noon. For information and to register click here.



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Entrepreneurial Motivation in the form of Poetry

Breakout Room

It might seem odd, but I saw this poem by Gretchen Berg in the Sunday paper, and thought it would make a good episode of The Grow Maine Show. It’s part of a column by Portland, Maine’s poet laureate, Gibson Fay-Leblanc.

As I read it, I thought of all the flip charts and breakout rooms I’ve been a part of, and how it feels like a road to nowhere. Maybe you feel the same way too.

So I put that together as a quick episode, together with some updates on upcoming events from ScratchPad Accelerator, Gorham Savings Bank Launchpad, and StartupMaine.

I’m taking my own advice too – I’m running for US Congress for Maine’s 1st district – and that is going to take all of the entrepreneurial chops I’ve got and more. See my launch video.

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Maddie Purcell of Fyood Kitchen

Maddie Purcell cooking

Fyood Kitchen of Portland, Maine is a social cooking competition. Maddie Purcell is founder and ceo. Fyood’s team sets you up in a professional kitchen with a full pantry and gives you a mystery basket with four secret ingredients. Your challenge is to make it into something that will impress your friends.

If you’ve never participated, you’ve really got to give it a try – either as a judge or as a cook, it’s a blast.

This episode is brought to you by The Dunham Group. To get on that Inc 500 list, you need to grow your business fast. That means a good office, a good building. Don’t wait around – visit our custom link to straight to the property listings.

Please subscribe to the podcast on iTunesGoogle Play Music, or Stitcher.

I love how Maddie is #allin on this concept of Fyood Kitchen. I think it’s especially valuable how she talks about doing everything herself, when it could better be done by someone who is a specialist. Man, I made that same mistake getting this podcast going. I continually make the mistake of not asking for help – I think we all do. My ask today is that if you enjoyed this episode and got something from it, share it with one other person who will benefit from it too!



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Zak Ringelstein, Democratic Candidate for US Senate

Zak Ringelstein

Zak Ringelstein is a former teacher who has a strong background in entrepreneurship, and now he’s running for US Senate. While I generally don’t do politics on the Grow Maine Show, I’ve had Angus King on twice, and so it’s only fair I have Zak on. I will have the Republican candidate Eric Brakey on as well if he asks.

Today’s episode is brought to you by The Dunham Group. Buying my own building was the single best thing I ever did in entrepreneurship. If you’re outgrowing your space, follow my custom link to get you right to the property listing page.

Please subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Google Play Music, or Stitcher. My next guest has the highest Inc 5000 listing of any Maine company ever… if you subscribe, the next episode will show up automatically so you won’t miss a thing.

Back to Zak. Zak’s got a passion for entrepeneurship. He’s a good listener, too – an unusual attribute in a politician (and I’m a politician).

Do you agree with his take on Amazon? Why or why not? Let me know in the comments, and learn more about Zak at ringelsteinformaine.com.

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Listen to Bisson

Betsy Biemann and Keith Bisson

Keith Bisson is president of Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI) in Brunswick. If you’ve heard of a startup in Maine, they probably had a hand in getting it going. They are willing to take a risk on early stage innovators that conventional lenders and investors won’t, calculating good jobs and environmental benefits in addition to dollars, as core to return on investment. He’s pictured here with ceo Betsy Biemann. Together they lead this organization that is core to Maine’s entrepreneurial community.

Never miss a show: subscribe to the Grow Maine Show on Apple Podcasts , TuneInRadio or Stitcher.


In 2017, CEI or its subsidiaries assisted almost 2,000 Maine entrepreneurs to grow their businesses, including these high profile examples: Paul and Theresa Lancisi of Dove Tail Bats in Shirley Mills; Julie Swain of Dog Not Gone in Skowhegan; Jim Chattley of Meineke Topsham Car Care Center; Ten Ten Piè in Portland; and Corrin and Shirley Conforte of Kindred Farms Market and Bakery in Casco, and of course my favorite, Hyperlite Mountain Gear in Biddeford.

The community nonprofit helped to finance the completion of eight historic redevelopment projects from Biddeford to Waterville, made a first-in-the-nation loan from the innovative USDA Community Facilities Relending Program to support the expansion of a YMCA in Central Lincoln County, supported the design and commercialization of innovative technologies at companies such as Pemaquid Mussel Farms and Ocean Renewable Power Company, and successfully exited an equity investment in the software company Certify. They’ve been busy.

But we don’t talk about any of that stuff. Instead, we learn about Keith’s first bike, his passion for taking on investments that others turn away, personal guarantees and second positions, plus a little bit of gelato.

Forty years ago, remarkably, CEI was a startup too. Now it’s time for their 40th Anniversary Celebration, which will be held on April 25, 2018 at Brick South on Thompson’s Point in Portland. I hope you will register and I hope to see you there. I expect it will be the #1 entrepreneurial event of the year in Maine.


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Kevin Cain of MaineSole

Kevin Cain

MaineSole is bringing handcrafted shoemaking back to Dexter, Maine. It is a remarkable startup story of founders that had no factory, no customers, and nothing but the idea that the proud heritage of a Maine town deserves to be handed down to the next generation.

It’s like we entrepreneurs do, jump off the cliff and put the airplane together on the way, right?

Enjoyed this episode? Please subscribe to the podcast on iTunes here, ….or Stitcher here.

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Ben Davis of True Course Yachting and Portland Container Co.

Ben Davis

This is our second time having Ben Davis on. His first visit was one of our most popular episodes ever and we’re glad to have him back to talk about his new venture Portland Container Company.

What I think is amazing about Ben is that he seeks advice and counsel, and he listens to it, and pivots. Frankly, I don’t think I did that well enough as an entrepreneur, so it makes me really appreciate it when I see it. Ben has been relentless in seeking out advice and wisdom, and has done it in an a really egoless way, which is a lot harder than it looks, isn’t it?

What advice are you looking for, what are the challenges you’re stuck on right now? Let me know at [email protected], and subscribe and follow on Facebook. Don’t be afraid to be awesome!

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