September 2020 Edition
Sponsored by People's United Bank
5 Qs with Paul Gurney, Jr.
Co-founder and CEO of MaineNerve LLC
You co-founded a startup that provides a foundation for what you refer to as the “wind tunnel testing of ideas,” could you expand on the basic premise of the company?

[Paul]: Imagine what you could do with a million minds in your pocket! That is our slogan, and our mission is to connect the most innovative, ingenious minds here in Maine into a world-wide imagination grid. Built in the style of an ongoing idea tournament game, people and organizations of all types can post their pressing creativity problems as “idea challenges” for our community of creative thinkers to browse and enter. Using a double-blind rating and mentoring system, participants will benefit from the proven wisdom-of-the-crowd to both source new ideas and vet their existing products, messaging, and ideas.

The ongoing tournament format encourages fun competition which also improves the quality of thinking through mutual feedback loops. Participants can earn prize money for their efforts, and eventually do “ideation work” full-time. We envision MaineNerve as a place for creative people and projects to get funded as the state’s first crowd-sourced think tank.

What kind of education/skills prepared by for this venture? What advice would you give to entrepreneurs that are growing a startup and/or raising capital?

[Paul]: I always followed my own path in life, from studying subjects that interested me in college to seeing opportunities for solopreneurship when I was 23. I founded a web firm in 1996 that has allowed me and my agile teams to build over a hundred custom web software projects for companies large and small. I was never afraid of taking risks, and as the saying goes, luck favors the prepared. I never traded “job security” for the freedom to follow my interests and build projects that could help others. That is how I met Cameron our co-founder and how a “web project” became a passion to impact the world.

The best advice I could give to new entrepreneurs is to test and vet your ideas before committing significant time or money to them. The people closest to you may not believe in your ideas, but someone must see what you see– whether it is a business partner, a seasoned advisor, or a peer group. If you cannot persuade one other person, your idea needs work. Read as much as you can from experts to have more mental models (viewpoints, frameworks) in your head so you can test your own ideas thoroughly, and maybe even discover unsolved opportunities to work on.

To someone trying to raise capital, you have probably heard this before: do not stop at the first (or hundredth) “no”. Do your own reality checks (test your ideas at MaineNerve!) but, do not be discouraged with no’s. Not all angels or VCs have the same appetite for risk, or level of expertise, or far-vision that you may have for your new concept or market. When you find the right investor, the friction will evaporate. They are out there! And it never hurts to show traction with an early prototype.

What value did crowdsourcing add to your venture?

[Paul]: We continually run our own “how can we improve” challenge questions to solicit fresh feedback and improvement ideas from our community. We are amazed at the insights they have in what would make the platform more useful and engaging for them.

When we set out to build the platform, we didn’t ask any specific kind of user what they wanted; we identified a set of problems that we recognized in the world, and then devised the experience with a set of prototypes, and are now seeing our assumptions get validated (thankfully!). But we never must stop innovating on the initial vision, and our user community is the ideal resource to learn from, since we built this for them.

What is the best application/advice your company would have for area businesses looking to grow their business, working alongside MaineNerve?

[Paul]: We believe companies should take a portion of their product and advertising budgets to fund their own think tank home on, so they can build an engaged following of insightful, clever thinkers who will provide them with crowd-ranked suggestions, ideas and feedback. Think of us as a better suggestion box. The money you budget each month for sourcing fresh, outside innovative thinking will help your internal teams test their concepts or service/product ideas faster (without the big budgets and hit-or-miss nature of consultants and traditional expensive think tanks). The fun tournament format will also help bring in new players, and can promote your brand in a virtuous loop, in ways advertising could never achieve. And if you think you are not in the “innovation business”, think again!

What is the “next big thing” on the horizon for MaineNerve? What challenges and opportunities do you see in moving forward within the context of today’s economy, including impacts related to COVID-19?

[Paul]: The pandemic has shocked our country and economic system so tragically. We think the timing right now is actually beneficial to launch our platform widely, as soon as possible. MaineNerve enables work-from-home and remote collaboration; it connects struggling businesses with a broad audience for ideas on how to adapt or pivot to survive; and it can channel funding to the clever, ingenious people who might have been laid off or furloughed recently. There is no other platform like ours that is structured to effortlessly pull the best ideas from the market for organizations and influencers, while also recognizing and funding these clever, insightful people as a new mode of work. We are the democratization of think tanks, for everyone.

We are finishing our platform over the next 3 months, but we’re engaged in various pilots now and nurturing our fledgling community. 
September Tech Night: MaineNerve: A Wind Tunnel for Ideas
September 10 | 1:00pm | Click here for Zoom link

The central Maine area needs to capture the most innovative, ingenious minds in Maine. Paul Gurney, Jr., CEO & Co-founder of MaineNerve LLC, will share his perspective on connecting thinkers to explore idea challenges for our area.
About MaineNerve: MaineNerve is a forum which utilizes a tournament format to encourage fun competition and quality of thinking through mutual feedback loops. MaineNerve serves as a place for creative people and projects to get funded as the state's first crowd-sourced think tank.
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.

August CMTN: Telehealth: More Than Just Video

July CMTN: When Remote Work Is Part of Your New Normal

June CMTN: Fiber Mapping & Broadband with VETRO FiberMap
12-Week Salesforce Boot Camp - Courtesy of CGI and Thomas College
Interested in earning one of the hottest and most marketable certifications - with a chance to be hired by one of the largest IT and business consulting services firms in the world?

If you are, this opportunity might be for you!

CGI is partnering with Thomas College to conduct a free Salesforce boot camp. Selected candidates will go through a rigorous 12-week training program and upon successful completion will earn their Salesforce certifications.

About the Boot Camp:
The CGI Salesforce boot camp will be conducted virtually and is currently scheduled to begin on Wednesday, September 23, with an estimated completion date of December 16, 2020.
The boot camp will be led by CGI Salesforce trainers with years of experience in Salesforce development. The class size will be limited to 12 students.
There are two Salesforce tracks that can be taken; functional consulting and Salesforce developer.

Successful completion for functional consulting will be passing the Salesforce Admin 201 certification exam, Sales Cloud certification exam, and Salesforce Vlocity training. Developer trainees will be required to pass the Salesforce Admin 201 certification exam, the Platform Dev 1 exam, and Salesforce Vlocity training.

To apply: email your name, contact info and brief summary of why this opportunity is right for you to Seating is limited.
Small Business Know-How
Remote Deposit: There Are Lots of Ways
To Get Paid

Small business owners face a number of challenges in growing and operating their companies, but advances in technology have simplified one facet of business – payments. Digital and mobile technology provide business owners quick access to capital, freeing up time, expanding growth options and cutting “paperwork” down to a few clicks of the mouse.
Historically, payments and collections have been time consuming. All of the essential cash management chores such as recording payments, preparing deposits, driving to a bank branch, waiting in line and reconciling the books cost companies money. However, through the use of remote deposit and payment technology, payments are received and processed digitally via computer, smart phone, tablet and a variety of payment gateways. The result? Less time and money needed to track and manage cash flow.

For more business banking tips read more here.

Remote deposit and payment capture is the way business is done…and done right.

Right NOW!
Business Investment
Maine Department of Economic & Community Development Issues CDBG Program Statement for Micro-Enterprises
As part of the CARES Act, Maine received approximately $11 million for its Community Development Block Grant program for non-entitlement communities. Of this funding, $2 million will be made available through the Micro-Enterprise Program in partnership with the Small Business Development Center (SBDC).

Eligible business owners may apply for up to $5,000 in grant funding. Eligibility criteria include, but are not limited to: five or fewer employees including the owner; owner's household income is low/moderate as defined by HUD (80% of county median income); and business must show revenue loss as a direct consequence of COVID-19.

Follow SBDC and contact your local SBDC advisor to determine eligibility and apply.
Top Stories of August 2020
Small business grant programs pick up slack across Maine - While Maine's small businesses continue to struggle with the challenges of staying open and surviving during the COVID-19 pandemic, public and private sector grant programs continue to evolve to pick up the slack. Read more for recent grant programs providing support in specific areas and statewide.

Make Maine 'work-at-home state', fix broadband challenge, King says- as remote work gains traction during the pandemic, U.S. Senator Angus King sees a real opportunity for Maine to become the go-to place for employers to build a workforce - as long as it can solve the broadband access challenge.

Mills launches $200 million grant program for small businesses hurt by COVID-19 - Small businesses that have fallen through the cracks or run out of relief money are eligible for this grant program announced by Gov. Janet Mills. This program money comes from federal CARES Act Coronavirus Funds and will provide for business disruptions. Grants are for businesses with 50 or fewer employees and can be for up to $100,000.
Contact: Don Plourde
Central Maine Real Estate Spotlight
Featured Commercial Property:
31 Water Street, Waterville, ME 04901
Building Size: 1,075 sq.ft.
Sale Price: $135,000
Unit Price: $125.58 PSF
Property Features:
  • Good property visibility
  • Aluminum siding
  • Single tenant building
  • Free-standing building, mixed use
  • Lots of possibilities
  • Proximity to Interstate 95
Workforce Investment
Workforce training has not stopped at Kennebec Valley Community College.

With the signing of Executive Order 25 FY19/20 by Governor Mills in March, KVCC and the Maine Community College System has been responsive to the training needs in the healthcare industry in Maine by setting up online and hybrid training programs with less restrictive access to Maine Quality Center (MCQ) funds.

KVCC will be offering CNA, EMT and Advanced EMT training programs starting in late May. KVCC's Workforce Training and Professional Development will continue delivering a summer schedule which includes BLS Healthcare Provider CPR, Ductless Mini-Split Heat Pump, National Electrical Code Upate and other great training programs.

Maine Quality Center funding can also provide training grants to Maine employers interested in hiring new employees or training their current workforce.  If you're an employer with training needs let KVCC be your training partner, please call Elizabeth Fortin, Dean of Workforce Development to discuss.

KVCC is eager to ensure that the businesses of mid-Maine are best positioned to jump start our local economy as soon as possible. Tel: (207) 453-5858. For more information on our professional development offerings visit us at
Quality of Place
Sponsored by MaineGeneral Health
COVID-19 hasn't erased the need for cancer care
MaineGeneral’s signature events of Cancer Survivors Day and the Walk for Hope are now combined into one exciting Day of Hope!
Join us virtually Oct. 3 for inspiration and education. Make a donation to support our local cancer patients. Since this year’s event is virtual, you can start your Day of Hope journey today!

MaineGeneral Health Services Are Open
Receiving the right care, at the right time, at the right place has never been more important. MaineGeneral Health has reopened, making sure you are safe as you get the health care services you need.

Call your primary care practice to:
  • Help you manage your chronic medical conditions;
  • Address your acute concerns; and
  • Discuss medication refills.

MaineGeneral Express Care, now with Save My Spot, is here to help when you:
  • Need non-emergency care;
  • Cannot see your primary care provider; or
  • Don’t have a primary care provider.
  • We’ll treat you and help you find a PCP.

Learn about your health care options and COVID-19 precautions here.
Stay connected with CMGC:
If you are an investor in CMGC and would like to submit content to
 CMGC Intelligence, simply reply to this email.
Board of Directors:

Chris Gaunce, chair – Central Maine Motors Auto Group
Beth Gibbs, treasurer – Thomas College
Lucille Zelenkewich, secretary – Bar Harbor Bank & Trust
Teresa Vieira – Northern Light Health - Inland Hospital
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
Paul Fongemie - Town of Winslow
Brian Clark – Colby College
Michael Runser – Valley Beverage
Allan Rancourt – Kennebec Federal Savings
Donald Plourde – Coldwell Banker Plourde Real Estate
Tom Meucci - Huhtamaki
Ryan Poulin - New Dimensions FCU

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