Don Gooding

Former executive director of the Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development

Don Gooding has been on the frontline of entrepreneurship in Maine, leading the Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development and its Top Gun startup accelerator program for the past five years. Gooding left his position in June, but says he’ll continue to work with the organization and mentor entrepreneurs. Gooding also served as vice chair of the Maine Angels, a group of individuals who pool their resources to invest in and mentor early-stage companies, from 2011 to 2015. A report from the Angel Resource Institute at Willamette University last year found that Maine Angels was the third most active angel investment group in New England between 2010 and 2015. Before joining MCED, Gooding founded the world’s first a cappella music catalog and expanded it to three divisions: a sheet music publishing company, an online source for a cappella music, and Varsity Vocals, which later ran the college singing competition in the movie Pitch Perfect. Innovative entrepreneurship, Gooding says, is key for the United States to maintain its standard of living and for Maine to reinvent its economy. He says economic and infrastructure struggles in rural Maine are challenges, but Maine has great resources, like an inventive population and its brand of authenticity. “As an entrepreneur, I see Maine’s challenges as opportunities for innovation,” Gooding says. “We have nowhere to go but up.”

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