Maine’s first food, beverage, and agriculture scale-up accelerator program.
What to Expect
Participants are led by a full-time program manager with 20+ years of food industry experience, who works directly with member companies to understand their business, and closely monitor company needs and progress. Cultivator companies can expect the following upon acceptance:
Cultivator is a 12-month program. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.
Applicants should be food, beverage, or agriculture companies who:
- Have a proven value-added product
- Have a scalable business model
- Are ready to grow and scale
Participants in the program are competitively selected scalable companies. Applicants are required to undergo an intense application process, followed by an in-depth panel interview, to ensure we are providing our expertise and resources to companies with the heart and destination to succeed. All ages and experience levels are welcome to apply.
Main Program Elements
Cultivator elements include an initial business assessment, definitive action plan, coaching and mentoring, access to technical assistance funding & consultant support, and industry-focused workshops and events.
Individual Company Business Assessment & Prioritized Action Plan
The program begins with an internal and 3rd party assessment to identify gaps and needs to allow businesses to scale-up to the next level.
Based on assessment results, an agreed-upon action plan and ongoing milestone tracking will be developed to ensure accountability for deliverables.
Tailored Coaching & Mentoring Through MCE’s Maine Mentor Network
MCE’s Maine Mentor Network (MMN) is made up of over 200 seasoned entrepreneurs and business professionals from a range of industries (including food and beverage) with a variety of business experiences. MMN mentors are matched to appropriate participants to address difficult client needs.
Access to Technical Assistance Funding & Connection to Additional Fee-based Consultant Support
MCE will provide up to $2,000 in Technical Assistance funding for projects identified through the business assessment process and will aid in sourcing any contracted expertise needed beyond the general Maine Mentor Network base coaching and mentoring.
Targeted Cohort Workshops & Learning Events
Participants will attend industry-focused workshops and learning events tailored to meet specific Cohort needs and interests.
Increased Visibility to Business Community
Participants will also receive increased exposure to the business community through program marketing, networking events, and the annual Showcase Event.
Annual Showcase Event
Cultivator participants will showcase their business to an audience of potential investors, business leaders, and journalists at the end of the program. Click here for the June 2022 Showcase.
The Cultivator program offers remarkable value to businesses looking to scale and grow, and at an affordable price. Through the support of MCE’s generous sponsors, we offer this 12-month program at a reduced cost of $2500 per company.
The Cultivator Program was launched in April of 2018. To date, 35 companies have participated in the program, resulting in 197 new jobs and $95M+ in revenue.
“The Cultivator program is so well designed with a mix of coaching, workshops, events, networking and referrals. Best money we ever spent.”
– Marada Cook, Crown O’Maine
“We are miles ahead of where we were, thanks to the Cultivator Program. We were able to get a different perspective of our business that really opened our eyes. MCE was also instrumental in helping us get the funding needed to execute on our plan.”
– Christopher Campbell, Maine Cap N’ Stem
“Being a part of the Cultivator Program felt like I had my own board, a new team of support. The program provided us with a wealth of knowledge, industry experience, business connections, and a plan built specifically for our business.”
– Sam Mangino, Pemberton’s Gourmet Foods
“The biggest thing the Cultivator Program gave me was the competence to move forward with building my business.”
– Ryan Wilson, Common Wealth Poultry
“The BEST Program I have found.”
– Stacy Begin, Two Fat Cats Bakery
Participating Cultivator companies are located across the state of Maine and represent multiple different product categories:
Amolitta Pasta, Aurora Mills & Farm, Avena Botanicals, Bangs Island Mussels, Belle Cove, LLC, Bigelow Brewing, Blackstone Point Oysters, Blue Lobster Urban Winery, Blue Ox Malthouse, Coffee Hound Coffee Company, Common Wealth Poultry, Crown O’Maine, Downeast Dayboat, Farm Drop, Foulmouthed Brewing, Hall Brook Farm, Islesboro Marine/Marshall Cove, Maine Cap N’ Stem Mushroom Company, Maine Homestead, Mousam Valley Mushrooms, Mug Buddy Cookies, New England Distilling, North Spore, Papous Kitchen, Pemaquid Mussel Farms, Pemberton’s Gourmet Foods, Ragged Coast Chocolates, Shovel and Spoon, Stone Fox Farm Creamery, Thirty Acre Farm, Three of Strong Spirits, Two Fat Cats Bakery, Vena’s Fizz House, Wilbur’s of Maine Chocolate Confections and Zen Bear Honey Tea
Cultivator Council of Advisors
The Cultivator Council of Advisors is comprised of C-level executives with food, beverage or agriculture experience. These executives are connected to various resources that are critical to the growth and scale-up of Maine food companies and serve as ambassadors supporting the Cultivator program and member companies.
Steve Culver, Two Lights Group Consulting
Taja Dockendorf, Pulp + Wire
Mark Dvorozniak, Marketing Strategy Decisions
Sue Hanson, Maine Center for Entrepreneurs
Darrell Pardy, Brown Dog Carriers & Logistics
Anthony E. Perkins, Bernstein, Shur, Sawyer & Nelson
Tom Rainey, Maine Center for Entrepreneurs
Meghan Stasz, Grocery Manufacturers Association