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Inclusion in the

Blue Economy

Inclusion in the Blue Economy is a sponsorship program created for entrepreneurs from demographics traditionally underrepresented in the marine space. It provides awardees with a place to work at the Hús, mentorship opportunities, and continuous access to a collaborative community of ocean-minded people and organizations.  The NEOC connects entrepreneurs with its network of academic and industry partners, key business development services in the state, and experts in the marine space, helping to make the blue economy more inclusive and facilitating greater diversity in Maine’s workforce. 

Now Recruiting for our Spring 2024 Cohort

A track record of success!

Since the program launched in 2020, 10 interdisciplinary, women-led companies have joined the entrepreneurial community at the Hús across 4 half-year cohorts. The hard work put in by the dynamic and inspirational leaders during their time in Inclusion in the Blue Economy and afterwards has led to:

  • Incorporation

  • Job creation

  • IP and product development

  • Grant awards

  • Brand development

  • Client acquisition


We're also excited to share that we're now recruiting for the first cohort of 2024. If you or someone you know is an entrepreneur from a demographic underrepresented in the Blue Economy, shoot us a note. All you need is a viable idea to apply!

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Coelle Travel

Khadija Elbarkaoui

Past Participants

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Libby Davis

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Katie Weiler

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Jesse Baines, Zoe Croft, and Briana Warner


Nikki and Taylor Strout

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Jennifer Bush

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Innovation Cohort at Maine Medical Center

Kate Haroff and Dr. Jenn Monti

We hope you might be next!
Who is IBE for?
  • Entrepreneurs with a collaborative mindset and a strong desire to be amongst like-minded people

  • Founders with a credible idea, opportunity, or startup that is actively in development

  • Must be a primary operator or project leader from an underrepresented demographic in the Blue Economy; women, BIPOC and LGBTQ+, or from industries outside the marine space 


What to expect.
  • A 6-month residency at the Hús inclusive of 24-7 access to the building

  • Being part of an engaged and interested entrepreneurial community

  • Access to research support from USM and UMaine students when appropriate

  • Introductions to relevant ecosystem builders and entrepreneurial support organizations that presently support Blue Economy startups

  • Monthly breakout and conference room allowances for meetings

  • High-speed internet, printer, fresh coffee, assorted common areas, and more

  • Strategic development meetings with the NEOC team

  • Awardees will be asked to sign a “conduct and liability contract” explaining usage policies, etiquette, and how to mitigate risk for yourself and others when using the building

  • Application is completed through a conversational interview with NEOC team members

Is there a Cost?
  • ​Thanks to our Transforming the Blue Economy Partners, there is no participation fee and no minimum revenue requirements. 

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