December 2020 Edition
Sponsored by People's United Bank
5 Qs with Jonathan Godbout
Co-Founder and Chief Innovative Officer (CIO), iBUILD
1. How did you conceive the idea for an app such as iBUILD?

I first met my fellow co-founders while I was running a pro-bono consulting program at IBM. At the time, Ronald Omyonga (one of our fellow founders), was working with Habitat for Humanity in East Africa on a program called Housing Support Services (HSS). In short, HSS is used to refer to all the technical support a future homeowner requires to build a home such as architectural services, contractor, and engineering services. Ronald had the idea to deliver these services via mobile application, and he began talks with my other founders (Lew Schulman and Nancy Welsh) to explore the possibilities. I was introduced to the three of them and over a six-month period, I help them architect and lay out a strategy for developing and bringing to market their concept in Kenya. At the end of the 6 months and many interviews with contractors, developers, financiers, homeowners, and workers, I helped them successfully pitch MasterCard’s Innovation Lab in Nairobi. Once we had gotten accepted, I left my job at IBM to start the company with them as the Chief Innovation Officer.

2. What kinds of services does iBUILD provide to consumers?

Designed as a virtual marketplace connecting customers with hardware stores, architects, lenders, workers, and contractors, iBUILD enables small scale construction markets in developing nations to scale to the exponentially growing demands by providing access in a “one-stop shop”. The iBUILD mobile phone application is designed to lower the transaction costs of construction, whilst also providing households with access to affordable financing and technical support services. We have expanded our solution to connect real estate developers and large program management entities into the ecosystem by offering both our mobile application as well as our web application and USSD phone app.

3. In your Tech Talk at Central Maine Tech Night this month, you will be speaking about how iBUILD was founded. What are your plans for growth within the next few years?

We are currently in the middle of closing our Series B round which is expected to close in Q1 of 2021. With this funding, we expect to scale up our marketing spend and grow our current user base in East Africa, and enter our target strategic markets of Nigeria, India, and Indonesia. Furthermore, we plan to add new social features to our mobile application in the coming year to assist homeowners with planning their construction, sharing ideas, and connecting with local professionals via a social feed. We have strategic partnerships with Mahindra Finance (India), World Bank (Indonesia), Family Home Funds (Nigeria), Shelter Afrique (pan Africa Real Estate developer), and Miyamoto (global disaster assistance engineering firm).

4. What resources, partners, and companies have been helpful to iBUILD as the company has continued to grow?

Habitat for Humanity has always been critical to our success both as an investor and their market entry and strategic partner support. Our capital partners that provide financing and subsidy to our end users have been extremely helpful for driving usage in the market. For example, Mahindra finance plans to launch with us next year in India where they will start us off with over 130,000 of their existing home loan recipients, and World Bank is integrating us into a home retrofit program in Indonesia expected to scale to over 100,000 households. From a technology development standpoint, we have an in-house engineering and testing team located in Kenya. I have taken on local interns (5 since COVID started), and I look forward to building a team locally to work with Kenya counterparts as the company looks to grow in the future. Finally, we are always grateful for our many other partners that have allowed us to make strategic connections as we grow which includes MasterCard Innovation Labs, Center for Affordable Housing Finance Africa, World Bank, IBM, Shelter Afrique, Safaricom, Mahindra, and Miyamoto.

5. How do you plan to expand iBUILD's services into other countries or markets?

We are focused on preparing for internationalization and establishing strong partnerships with organizations that have cross-border presence. We only enter new markets when we know we have a strong partner in the market that can drive user growth onto the platform and assist with market entry. Habitat for Humanity, World Bank, and other international entities have been great for helping us across all markets we plan to enter. Finally, we believe it is always key to have a local operations manager and team in every market that has a deep understanding of technology, construction, and housing finance.
November Tech Night: iBUILD: Empowering the World to Build
December 10 | 1:00 p.m. | Click here for Zoom link

Listen in to hear about how iBUILD is creating open and fair access to meaningful work through a localized construction marketplace coupled with a transparent ecosystem of support that improves consumer access to mortgages and micro finance, construction plans and a dynamic marketplace of contractors, workers and suppliers to all.
About iBUILD: IBUILD is a Citizen-To-Citizen (C2C) market tool connecting people in need of shelter with masses of construction-related people looking for work.
Virtual Central Maine Tech Night (CMTN) Recordings
By moving to the virtual Zoom platform to comply with social distancing recommendations, Central Maine Tech Night (CMTN) has made its presentations available for viewing anytime. You can watch recordings of past CMTNs on the Tech Night web page.

November CMTN: Federal Reserve Bank of Boston: Working Cities Challenge (WCC) Initiative

September CMTN: MaineNerve: A Wind Tunnel of Ideas
Article by People's United Bank
In these unprecedented times, there are actions you can take now to help you prepare, protect and continue to run your business. Here are some important tips to help maintain operational continuity during this COVID-19 crisis. As always, People's United Bank is ready and prepared to support your business.

For more important tips to help maintain operational continuity during the COVID-19 crisis, click here.
Business Investment
Top Stories of November 2020
Exhibits at the museum will include a maker space for tinkering, experimenting, and building; a city with a hardware store, auto shop, restaurant and more; and a nature-inspired area, with a large tree, campsite and research cabin. The exhibits are being designed to embody four elements: play, flexibility, Maine and wellness, according to Keys, who said the museum is working with a Maine-based firm, Field Magnet Design, on the design and fabrication of the new exhibition hall.

Cheesemaker Karen Getz earned awards for her farmstead cheese and placements on prestigious restaurant menus when she and her husband, Steve, ran a dairy farm in Vermont’s Champlain Valley. Getz is also an accomplished bread baker. The couple lives in Maine now and launched a line of gluten-free crackers, Maine Crisp.

The octagonal shaped Pressey House has five suites that sleep between two and four people. Fowler occupies one of the suites. The innkeeper’s quarters and Fowler’s suite are totally separate from the guest suites, which is an added plus for the family’s privacy. The other three suites, which all have kitchenettes, are long-term rentals until May, which Nicole Goodheart said helps her find a routine and get her bearings as an innkeeper.

When developed, the contemporary art gallery and center for art and film will promote art and culture in a distinctive hub for visual arts, performing arts, arts education and film for children and adults, according to organizers.
Contact: Don Plourde
Central Maine Real Estate Spotlight
Featured Commercial Property:
189 Main St, Waterville, ME 04901
Building Size: 1,235 sq. ft.
Lease Price: $1,235/month
Lease Rate: $12 PSF (annual)
Property Features:
  • Good property visibility
  • Brick, stone siding
  • Multiple tenant building
  • High-traffic area
  • One level with open space
  • In the heart of downtown Waterville
Workforce Investment
Workforce Training & Professional Development:
Spring professional development classes are open for registration

Workforce training has not stopped at Kennebec Valley Community College.

Kennebec Valley Community College spring professional development classes are open for registration. The schedule includes Heat Pump Installer Training, EPA 608 Certification, 3D Print Beginner to Advanced, Healthcare Provider CPR, Basic EMT, Welding, High Pressure Boiler and more. We will continue to provide online or hybrid training models for many of our classes. To see more great offerings or register for a class go to And don’t miss the many FREE training classes available at KVCC or other Maine Community Colleges available on our website.
KVCC is still supporting the business community with customized training options. To learn how you can grow your workforce or train your existing team please call 207.453.5083 or visit us online at  

To learn how you can train your team or to register for a class please call 207.453.5083 or visit us online at
Quality of Place
Sponsored by MaineGeneral Health
Whether you’re managing a chronic illness or have a new ache or pain, don’t delay getting needed health care. MaineGeneral primary care offices have openings throughout the Kennebec Valley.

Don’t have a primary care doctor? Call our information line at 1-855-4MGH-INFO (1-855-464-4463). See how we’re with you today and every day at
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Board of Directors:

Chris Gaunce, chair – Central Maine Motors Auto Group
Beth Gibbs, treasurer – Thomas College
Lucille Zelenkewich, secretary – Bar Harbor Bank and Trust

Terri Vieira – Northern Light Health - Inland Hospital
Erica Lacroix - Town of Winslow
Ryan Poulin - New Dimensions FCU
Elizabeth Fortin – Kennebec Valley Community College
Paul Stein – MaineGeneral Health
Michael Roy – City of Waterville
Gary Bowman – Town of Oakland
Michelle Flewelling – Town of Fairfield
Brian Clark – Colby College
Michael Runser – Valley Beverage
Allan Rancourt – Kennebec Federal Savings
Donald Plourde – Coldwell Banker Plourde Real Estate
Tom Meucci - Huhtamaki

Ex-Officio Board Members:
James Dinkle – Kennebec Regional Dev. Authority / FirstPark
Joel Greenwood - Kennebec Valley Council of Governments
Christian Savage - Somerset Economic Development Corporation