Startup Maine cancels annual conference because of COVID-19 worries

Written by Whit Richardson, Maine Startups Insider:

Startup Maine, the nonprofit organization that hosts a startup and innovation conference in Portland every June, announced today that it has cancelled its 2020 event in the face of the evolving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The organization’s board of directors has been monitoring updates about COVID-19 from federal and state authorities, and even though the future is unknown, the challenges of organizing a conference at this time seemed insurmountable, according to Katie Shorey, Startup Maine’s president.

“At this point in time, speakers cannot commit to travel, we are unsure if gatherings will be allowed in June, and it also feels insensitive to be planning and promoting a large, in-person event,” said Shorey. “With these things in mind, our board unanimously voted to cancel this year’s conference.”

Startup Maine plans to organize a variety of other ways to engage the startup community in 2020, including virtual events and live-streamed content. At this point, the organization has no plans to cancel next year’s event.

“Startup Maine will be putting the coming months to good use, redirecting the energy of its staff and volunteer leaders to planning SUM 2021,” Shorey said in a statement. “Our goal is to raise the bar, providing 2021 participants with a one-of-a-kind conference experience with expanded nonstop-education, inspiration and invaluable networking and social events.”

Startup Maine will be issuing refunds to all participants who have already purchased tickets.

See the original story by Maine Startups Insider here.