Students Credit UMaine’s Foster Center for Their Entrepreneurial Success

Sam Dorval and Max Burtis are among the undergraduates benefiting from the Foster Center for Student Innovation’s business incubator. The two sophomores are part owners of Ferda Farms, an aquaculture farm on the New Meadows River in Brunswick. Ferda Farms produces fresh oysters sustainably, and the owners have brought innovation and automation to the industry.

“The Foster Center has played a huge role in our development, both for the business and as students,” Dorval explained. “The business incubator offers resources that covered our most basic needs from pitch advice to licensing laws, while making sure we were in control of the decisions the entire time. Advice came from every faculty member we could imagine, and it was a huge help due to their vast experience in the business world. 

“What seemed to be the most helpful part of the incubator was the dedication the Foster’s Center has to want their students to succeed. They would go out of their way to schedule business meetings with Max and me, as well as mentor us to make sure we had the right plan. Another monumental step that helped us grow were the business connections provided by the Innovation Center. Due to their prior business experience, the faculty knows countless people who can help with any challenge you might have, which also enabled us to branch out and partner our business with innovators from other areas.”

Upcoming events at the Foster Center include September 25 ”How to Start Your Own Side Hustle” at 4:00 pm with panelists Daniel Finnemore, CEO of Box of Maine; Spencer Wood, CEO of Tip Whip; and George Budri, founder of Budri Clothing. Attendees should RSVP here.

On October 30th, Alden Blease, founder of Redd Bars, will be speaking as part of the Young Entrepreneur Series at the Innovation Center at 4-5:30 pm.