Thirteen. That’s the number of Maine companies in INC.’s annual list of the fastest growing 5000 companies in the US. Not a big number, but bigger than any year in recent memory by a factor of ten! Usually we have only one or two. So hurray for us!
They are Vet’s First Choice, Provider Power, aka Electricity Maine, CashStar, Health Affiliates Maine, Tilson Technology, Argo Marketing Group, KPI Direct, Putney, Bar Harbor Foods, ITS, WinXnet, Sage Data Security and Mailings Unlimited.
You might be wondering what these companies have in common.
What all of these companies have in common, besides working hard and being innovative, is that they thought to apply to INC. for recognition. That’s one thing that many people don’t know. If you want to be on the INC. list, you have to apply. You have to tell your story. You have to show your numbers.
So, when we have other states dominate the list (and other lists like it), it’s not so much because they have entrepreneurs who are so much smarter or better, but because their entrepreneurs see value in these listings and seek it out. They tell people their stories.
Mainers seem to be, by nature, a little laid back, unassuming, quiet, self-effacing. These are great qualities in many ways, but they are challenging when it comes to telling our story beyond our small community.
And we need to tell our story. Success begets success. Investors, customers, and mentors, have one thing in common. They like to work with winners. They like to be where there are other winners.
And so, if they don’t know our stories, they think, “There’s nothing going on in Maine but lighthouses, lobsters and LL Bean.” They don’t think tidal and ocean wind, advanced materials, IT, pet pharmaceuticals, and specialized food products.
And, if our elected leaders don’t know our stories, they think, “I don’t need to worry about those technology companies. They aren’t a real part of our economy like lobstermen, pulp and paper and tourism.”
Truth is, the fastest growing companies and the fastest growing sectors in Maine all depend upon technology, innovation and entrepreneurship. It’s time to tell our stories, and get the support and recognition that we deserve.