We’re fortunate to work with entrepreneurs across the state who inspire us everyday through their passion and persistence in growing their businesses and bringing their products and services to customers in Maine and beyond. We’re proud to be a part of their journey and are excited to share their stories!
Meet Carrissa Hankins, The Sleep NP
Carissa Hankins is the owner and founder of The Sleep NP, LLC. The “NP” stands for nurse practitioner. Carissa believes that sleep apnea is everywhere and wanted to create a space where she could accelerate continuous positive airway pressure machine (CPAP) success. The company started in 2021 as an education business for her side gig as a medical education lecturer for healthcare providers. When burnout caught up with Carissa in 2022, she decided to go full time with her company and pivot to offer online courses for health consumers.
Carissa began taking care of people with sleep apnea in 2011 as a certified family nurse practitioner. She realized there’s a not-so-secret CPAP success recipe that people with sleep apnea are desperately searching for. When her patients didn’t find it, their sleep apnea usually went untreated.
Carissa designed The CPAP Success Accelerator Course (currently in production) to meet this need and bring sleep apnea education to CPAP users on their schedules and on demand. The Sleep NP’s mission is to use the power of on-demand education to help CPAP users win the war against sleep apnea so they can have better tomorrows. To learn more about Carissa’s company and journey, click here.
Meet Alicia Valcaniant, The Hungry Gains
Alicia Valcaniant has been in the culinary industry for over 13 years. She realized she had a love of cooking at a young age and found herself cooking for her family regularly. She decided to use her passion and make cuisines to promote healthy eating. She prides herself in working closely with the community here in Maine and has worked with Beacon Fitness, Portland Farmers Market, CEI Women’s Business Center, and more.
Thirteen years ago Alicia created The Hungry Gains, a healthy prepared meal service with a focus on locally sourced ingredients and clean eating while providing a variety of cuisines that make eating healthy, fun and convenient. The Hungry Gains provides a convenient and exciting way to fuel your body with nutritious ingredients. To learn more about Alicia and her menu and wholesale options visit, here.
Meet Charles Kanozak, Technica, LLC, Portland Maine
Technica, LLC accelerates access to justice for all by empowering remote legal proceedings and simplifying the process of taking depositions, arbitrations, and conducting court trials. They do this by providing the legal market with in-person and remote videography that’s both legally compliant and admissible in court. Technica offers a team of virtual meeting technicians or VMTs who have skills to provide a smooth transition into the legal environment and virtual world.
After the pandemic, Beth Gaige and Michelle Feliccitti owners of Gaige & Feliccitti began to explore ways to bring their business forward into the virtual world. Beth, being a nationally certified reporter, realized the importance of another person in the meeting and deposition of IT issues and sharing of documents and Technica was developed. To learn more about Technica, click here.
Meet April Elaine Powell, ID. + Collective, Portland Maine
April Elaine Powell is the principal and creative director of ID.+Collective, providing commercial interior design services for small-medium businesses. April’s experience has infused her design process with a pace and vibrancy that shows her project design style today.
April and her team’s goal is to provide their clients the design and business support they need to grow and develop their dreams. Each project is unique and their hope is to leverage the tools and resources available to reach the ultimate aesthetics and functional results for their clients. This year, ID. +Collective is launching a local resource library and shared studio that will be available on a subscription basis for multi-discipline designers and business owners to utilize. Their services include interior design, sourcing and procurement, project strategy and management, as well as drafting and planning. Learn more here.
Meet Tomer and Courtney. Co-owners, Shovel and Spoon, Limington, Maine
Israeli-born Tomer Kilchevsky, and his life and work partner Courtney Jean Perry, own Shovel and Spoon, a Limington-based operation where they farm sustainably using practices they learned at the now-closed Green Mountain College in Poultney, Vermont, and produce catered events primarily using the food they grow, always with a bent toward the dishes they learned to make while working in kitchens in Tel Aviv. Just before the pandemic, an event attendee, smitten with the hummus the couple made, asked to buy some. He came back weeks later to buy more and encouraged the couple to make it more widely available.
They did that, first selling their Middle East Coast Hummus at the Portland Co-op, then expanding their distribution to over 50 stores and restaurants throughout Maine and New Hampshire. The couple next launched Middle East Coast Tahini Dip, a garlicky sesame spread. In 2022, in what Tomer and Courtney say is a natural progression of the line, they started to make and sell Labneh Cheese. In June of 2022, Shovel & Spoon’s Labneh Cheese was awarded Maine’s first Golden Fork Award for Best New Product at Maine Center for Entrepreneurs’ Food Producer Showcase. Their newest (and cutest) business partner, Dolev Blue, also debuted at the Showcase.
Tomer and Courtney’s love for sharing good food with others is evident through their Shovel and Spoon catering menu and Middle East Coast product offerings. And, that’s not all…they’ve also written and published The Edible Camino, a guidebook which features 77 wild edible plants and mushrooms found along the Camino de Santiago in Spain, packed with detailed plant descriptions, photographs, and 50 shared wild vegetarian and vegan recipes perfect for the backpacker’s journey.
Learn more about Shovel and Spoon here.
*Parts of this story were previously published in the Portland Press Herald: Green Plate Special
Meet Justin Hafner and David Holomakoff, Kinotek, Portland Maine
What happens when a kinesiology student and a biomedical engineer meet? You get a new digital platform called Kinotek. Founded in 2018 by Justin Hafner and David Holomakoff, Kinotek allows individuals to better understand their bodies’ health, especially after being injured. With new, immersive technology, to visualize the entire musculoskeletal system the opportunity to grow their business was discovered.
Justin and David’s inspiring business was born with the mission of giving every human access to better movement health. Kinotek is a digital health platform for musculoskeletal (MSK) and movement health. The platform is able to access human movement in 3D and provide actionable insights while using artificial intelligence. Their goal is to positively impact the lives of many people by creating a new standard of care for MSK and movement health assessment.
Justin and David’s favorite part of their day is the morning when they ground themselves, meditate, do yoga, and set goals to complete before the workday even begins.
Kinotek officially became an FDA-registered medical device on August 5th, 2022. This milestone is something they’ve worked towards since being founded in 2018. Justin and David have found that many people want to help them succeed, which has been their biggest surprise while growing their company. Since 2020 they’ve managed to raise over $2.5M in investments and have been rewarded over $500,000 in grants to successfully launch their innovative digital health platform. Kinotek’s success has landed them to be named to the national list of rising stars by Front Office Sports. They are one of six companies selected to lead sports and health accelerators. They were the first company from all of New England to be selected for the program which represents the top 1% of seed-stage health tech companies in the world.
Learn more about Kinotek here.
Meet Stacy Moore and Ashley Lenz, Healing Harbors, Brunswick Maine
Healing Harbors is a veteran founded and women owned company on a personal mission. A mission you’ll find right up front in their logo, and deep in their hearts: CARE FOR EVERY BODY™
Healing Harbors makes Hemp-based and CBD infused products that are redefining what’s possible in treatment, what’s possible in result, and what’s possible beyond what Stacy and Ashley imagined starting their business almost seven years ago.
After serving on a base in remote Alaska as a Coast Guard helicopter mechanic, Stacy came back home to Maine to continue to serve her community via a career in home healthcare. She soon noticed that many of her clients were using cannabis infused topicals for relief from their pain and limitations, and curiosity took hold. After taking classes in medicinal cannabis and the endocannabinoid system, Stacy developed her first product: a cannabis infused salve. On seeing how effective it was, Stacy quickly shifted her focus to legal hemp and its most beneficial and prevalent cannabinoid — CBD — realizing that without the legal restrictions associated with THC and “marijuana” she could help many more people. She started making her own hemp-based products, offering them to friends in need, and getting invaluable feedback in return. The results spoke for themselves, and Healing Harbors was born.
At the same time, Ashley, a marketing director from a successful Atlanta startup, was helping care for her father, a brilliant mathematician who was lost to Alzheimer’s. Over a long and painful goodbye, it became clear to Ashley that she wanted to honor her father’s legacy by continuing to care for others and was questioning, “Why do we need to exist in the world? How are we truly helping people? Does our work actually matter?” they would remind her how much money everyone was poised to make. It didn’t sit right with her soul.
She moved to Maine and started making the transition to becoming an entrepreneur, and a mom.
As fate would have it, Ashley soon met Stacy through a mutual friend and Stacy was listening to her customers’ feedback, making smart changes, while working with good, clean ingredients. Ashley knew that she had finally found what she was looking for, and that she could make a big impact on Healing Harbors with her background and skills. Together, they continue develop, create and distribute some of Maine’s most highly regarded CBD personal care and pet products
Today, Healing Harbors uses the best natural ingredients, sourced locally whenever possible. They create products in craft-sized batches and maintain strict control over strengths and purity backed by third party lab testing.
Running and growing a startup business in a highly regulated industry is tough, even in the best of times, during a pandemic, some may say impossible; but Healing Harbors has managed to thrive. Stacy and Ashley credit their customers for motivating them to keep going each day, with stories of how their products have helped them or a loved one. They’ve made smart moves, like reinvesting in their company and employees to attract and build the best team.
Check out Healing Harbors exciting line of Hemp-based and CBD infused products for yourself and your pets here.
Meet Krista Gagne, Maine Homestead, Lyman Maine
Krista made her first pickles for her grandparents in 2011 with extra cucumbers from their garden. After realizing they could never eat the 100 jars of pickles they produced themselves, Krista decided to try her hand at farmers markets and craft shows. Based on her success, Krista launched Maine Homestead the following year and has expanded her product line of pickles, jams, jellies and relishes and sells to over 300 retail and specialty stores throughout the US and also sells direct to consumer. Maine Homestead also owns and runs a small local specialty food and gift market (Maine Homestead Market) focused on supporting local producers on the same property as their production facility in Lyman, Maine.
In addition to cooking and bringing good, local foods to the community by supporting other Maine producers, Krista loves dogs and the outdoors.
If you haven’t tried Maine Homestead’s small batch pickled vegetables, relishes or jams yet, you don’t know what you’re missing! The Maine Homestead Market on 1773 Alfred Road in Lyman is also a treat and a real treasure for homemade, local Maine foods, beverages and gifts.
Krista is currently in MCE’s Cultivator Program and is working on scaling up her business, which means more of her delicious foods for more of us! Learn more about Maine Homestead here