Application questions and general inquires should be directed to IGNITE’s Program Manager, Bill Giordano. Email: ignite@feedtheengine.org


Engine is piloting a competitive nine-month program for creative entrepreneurs called IGNITE. We designed IGNITE as an arts business incubator program that supports makers, manufacturers, artists, and creative service providers. This year’s program will run from February through October 2022.

Engine’s Business Incubator workshops, a key component of IGNITE, will support participants in their efforts to fund and sustain their projects beyond this year’s IGNITE program. Participants will also receive support in concert with their business goals and material grants up to $5,000 each. Each applicant should demonstrate how material grants, production space/studio rent relief, or a combination thereof can benefit their project. Awards will be based on clearly demonstrated need and the overall ability of Engine to support your project. The 2022 IGNITE Cohort will also have opportunities to collaborate and integrate with Engine’s programming, especially its public events and summer street festival Fringe Fest, held every August in Biddeford’s Downtown.

Existing businesses or individuals with new business ideas are encouraged to apply. The application deadline is January 17, 2022 .

Artists working in an art studio
Two adjoining studios at Engine’s Makerspace at 163 Main St, Biddeford


Applicants selected for the IGNITE 2022 Cohort will receive up to $5000 in material support for your idea. IGNITE’s program team and Engine’s network will also leverage connections in the regional entrepreneurial ecosystem to provide mentoring, networking opportunities and featured roles among Engine’s programming. Additional benefits include:

IGNITE Maine Arts Entrepreneurship Workshops: The 2022 IGNITE cohort will participate in a business development funding course convened by Engine and with collaborators such as the University of Maine’s Foster Innovation Center. We an anticipate offering these workshop sessions from Engine’s IGNITE Program Headquarters at 163 Main St., Biddeford. However, we are reserving the option to deliver workshops virtually (via Zoom) with respect to the capacity of the 2022 Cohort participants and to the Maine CDC recommendations for public health and safety.

Production Space/ Rental Offsets: IGNITE’s selected participants will be encouraged to occupy studio/production space at Engine’s 163 Main St. studios and Makerspace for the duration of the program. If selected to the cohort your business is eligible for a rental subsidy for the duration of the nine-month program. IGNITE’s program team may support alternative sites (when/if appropriate), but the ability to travel to Biddeford’s downtown district to execute portions of your work plan is a requirement. Please reach out to the IGNITE Program team with questions about how this works for your idea.

Engine’s Makerspace arranged as a wood turning shop; consider your business or idea launching at this or a similar space at Engine’s Main St. Biddeford location.

Fringe Fest and Public Engagement. In addition to leadership opportunities among Engine’s network of studio artists, and seasonal open studios, the IGNITE 2022 Cohort will be supported to develop a part of their vision in the form of an installation, pop-up shop, performance, or other appropriate medium for Engine’s 2022 Fringe Fest —a downtown Biddeford street festival scheduled for mid-August. 

Fringe Fest is an annual summer street festival hosted by Engine that features regional creative innovators.


Engine serves an arts and cultural mission. This work requires leadership in social, environmental and economic equity for Maine and the region. IGNITE will prioritize applicants whose business concepts demonstrate equitable leadership within their business plans. 

Social and ecological integrity are fundamental to any sustainable economic future. Therein we acknowledge historic disempowerment of indigenous citizens of Maine’s past and present tribal nations, as well as black and brown people and people of color. We are especially seeking to support the safety and excellence of citizens from these historically marginalized demographics, and those from majority demographics who provide regional leadership and grow the value of socially just business missions for the public benefit of all Mainers.




Why is Engine offering this program?

IGNITE is a pilot program designed to support the growing network of career minded innovators in Southern Maine to pitch their value to the community and grow and develop their ideas through community engagement. Engine provides a series of resources that can equip innovators useful decision making tools for individuals, small groups and larger teams. Additionally, participants will be encouraged toward a featured performance, gallery, retail installation or public art role at Fringe Fest – Engine’s downtown art and community festival held every August.

We believe this can be a win-win for potential applicants and Engine alike.

What do you mean by “business, project or idea”?

IGNITE 2022 Participants are expected to commit to a general scope of work that is reflected in their application proposals. This can look a variety of ways, but it should be career-oriented pursuit or business workplan that is more than a hobby. At minimum applicants should be planning to use 2022, and potentially the benefits associated with participation in IGNITE, to catapult their work from a part-time or less than part-time hobby toward a career. However, established organizations with full time work plans may also apply.

Is Engine looking to collaborate in running my business?

No. The Engine team designed IGNITE to support the free agency of applicants with their own preexisting goals and work plans. IGNITE Programming doesn’t provide council or direction for your decisions. It does provides the option of space, business training for creative entrepreneurs, and a supportive environment to test, develop and grow your own ideas. IGNITE provides participants a framework for measuring a proposed goal (and its identifiable value) using social and ecological, financial analysis, and some resources to accomplish this work while simultaneously growing an audience.

Do I need to live in Biddeford to participate?

No, however this years program is focusing or businesses or individuals who are willing to engage Biddeford’s arts and cultural movement. Participants should be able to travel to Biddeford periodically between March and October. Remote applicants residing in Maine may be considered.

What kind of budget are you looking for in the application?

We want to see how you have thought through anticipated expenses and revenues related to bringing your work to your audience. This can be on a range from notes on a napkin to an itemized excel spreadsheet to an official financial report. We’ll be working on budgets in our IGNITE workshops, but for the application your budget is simply there to help contextualize your written narrative.

What are the expectations and time commitment from IGNITE Cohort participants?

Participants are expected to participate in a business incubator period from March 1st – October 2022. The Cohort will convene as a group for two 8 week workshops, in a 1 hour per week format. The first runs from March 4 – May 17, and guides participants through Business Model Canvas training. The second runs from August 30 – October 25, and supports participants in pitching and presenting their whole business concept, and in developing follow on funding or development proposals. (Workshops will be held in person with a virtual option. Convening in person is pending Maine CDC and local guidance for downtown Biddeford businesses and with respect to the safety of our most vulnerable citizens)

As mentioned above, participants will also be expected to develop a portion of a public event that features their work, with Engine in 2022. Participants are expected to have, at minimum, one major event collaboration however more may be considered depending on the style, medium and presentation format of your work. If this type of public engagement isn’t a core part of your work, you may not be a good fit for the IGNITE 2022 Program.

If you have questions about what kind of event feature Engine can work with you on, or any other questions related to IGNITE applications please contact ignite@feetheengine.org and expect a reply within a few hours.

I’m a BIPOC innovator who has experienced micro-agressions from fellow citizens when I present ideas. Is Engine really a good place for me to pursue my work?

We are striving to improve the safety and excellence of anyone having a minority experience. Therein we acknowledge historic disempowerment and land theft of indigenous citizens of Maine’s past and present tribal nations, as well as black and brown people and people of color. We are especially seeking to support the safety and excellence of citizens from historically marginalized demographics, and those from majority demographics who provide regional leadership and grow the value of socially just business missions for the public benefit of all Mainers.

We seek to actively oppose injustice and discrimination for all individuals regardless of age, gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, culture, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, socioeconomic status, or beliefs.


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