Maine Entrepreneurial Conference Offers Equal Opportunity for Speakers and Presenters

PORTLAND, ME–(Marketwired – May 8, 2017) – The Maine Startup & Create Week (June 19-23, 2017) will showcase the best entrepreneurs from Maine and the best Maine can offer entrepreneurs. The weeklong conference features top speakers, networking, opportunities for entrepreneurs and more. In addition to the wide variety of events, this year’s conference has received a challenge — make the entire conference a showcase for diversity and gender-balance.
Innovation Women, an online speaker’s bureau for entrepreneurial, technical, and innovative women, has challenged the Maine event organizers to buck the trend around tech conferences and produce an entirely gender-balanced event. That means an equal number of male and female speakers, panelists, and founders pitching.
“Too many conferences and events rely on the same speakers repeatedly,” said Bobbie Carlton, founder of Innovation Women. “Innovation Women helps get fresh voices on-stage and offers women important business visibility. Visibility through a speaking engagement can connect speakers with potential customers, partners and investors. And, once the event is over, we’ll have enough local speakers to allow local event managers to keep finding female speakers and make Maine’s startup scene an example of diversity and gender-balance.”
“We’re excited to make our conference truly equal-opportunity and work closely with Innovation Women to demonstrate how others can do the same,” said Jess Knox, founder, Maine Startup & Create Week. “Events provide a very public way to demonstrate our open and welcoming attitude toward all entrepreneurs.”
Innovation Women has pledged several benefits to Maine if it meets the challenge.

  • Participating speakers will receive a free Innovation Women annual membership (value $100.) Ordinarily, speakers or their companies purchase memberships. Male speakers can transfer the membership to a female colleague or friend.
  • Each speaker will also receive two free Innovation Women passes for colleagues.
  • Innovation Women will promote Maine Startup & Create Week as the first event to take the challenge.

“The all-male, all-pale panels are a thing of the past,” said Carlton. “Every event manager can produce a high-quality event that offers visibility and opportunity for everyone. There are scores of women experts who are overlooked for speaking opportunities. The Innovation Women database helps showcase these speakers and connect them with top managers.”
“When we advocate for entrepreneurship in Maine, we encourage people to ‘think outside the rat race’ — this challenge is a great example of how we are different from most startup eco-systems,” said Knox. “We have a completely different approach to building a vibrant and diverse startup culture and this is just one more example.”
About Maine Startup & Create Week
Maine Startup & Create Week began in 2014 to highlight the vibrant entrepreneurial spirit in Maine. It is about growing enterprise and changing culture in the region, but it’s also about redefining the conventional wisdom of what an economic center looks like, and what energetic professionals can achieve outside of major metropolitan areas. For more information, Maine Startup & Create Week.
About Innovation Women
Innovation Women is a speaker’s bureau for entrepreneurial, technical, and innovative women — focused on providing great female speakers for everything from local meetups to the largest global conferences. We provide women with more visibility and opportunity to demonstrate thought leadership and allow event managers to find great female presenters. Our goal is to get more gender-balanced panels and speaker slates, especially at tech and business conferences and events. For more information, Innovation Women.


  • Media Contact:
    Bobbie Carlton
    Carlton PR & Marketing
    Email Contact
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