ELLSWORTH — City, state and federal officials came together Tuesday to officially open the Union River Center for Innovation, projecting that the business incubator facility will be a success and a key part of the city’s economic development future.
“The city of Ellsworth will be beneficiaries of the opportunities for these young entrepreneurs,” said Karen Stanley, chairwoman of the Ellsworth Business Development Corp. (EBDC).
The city bought the former Community Health and Counseling Services building on Water Street in the fall of 2015. Now that the business incubator is open, it will be run as a partnership between the city and EBDC.
U.S. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said the incubator will provide small businesses with a space to get started and grow. That, in turn, means young people will be able to find good jobs here instead of having to leave the state when it comes time to look for work.
Her colleague, U.S. Sen. Angus King (I-Maine), said companies such as Google, Apple and Amazon all “started in a place like this” — a place for a few people with an idea to come together and turn it into something real.
King cited four P’s that are necessary to make projects like this one succeed: plans, partnerships, perseverance and passion. He said the people who made the incubator a reality, including Ellsworth Economic Development Coordinator Micki Sumpter, incorporate the four P’s into their work.
U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R-Maine) said government needs to “support job creators at all levels, and that’s exactly what you folks have done here.”
Echoing what King said, Poliquin said the incubator facility will help people who have good ideas get a start in the business world. He said it is important to make sure future generations have a better world to live in, and that this is one way to help ensure that.
“More jobs, more opportunities, better lives for our kids,” he said in summary.
John Butera, senior economic adviser to Governor Paul LePage, spoke on behalf of the Governor and thanked the different agencies and government agencies that helped make the incubator facility a reality.
Speakers also recognized GenoTyping Center of America (GTCA) as the incubator’s first official tenant. Kat Taylor, director of business development for GTCA, is an EBDC Board member.