PHOTO: Lisbon Town Manager Diane Barnes, left, and Mason Toby Williams sign a memorandum of understanding between the town and Ancient York Lodge 155 to develop a coworking and entrepreneurship hub at the lodge building at 703 Lisbon St. (Submitted photos)
LISBON — A local entrepreneurship hub and business incubator will be developed in town through a partnership between the town and Ancient York Lodge 155.
Lisbon Town Manager Diane Barnes and Mason Toby Williams signed a memorandum of understanding during a community open house at the Lodge, 703 Lisbon St., on July 14 to formalize the partnership and launch the Moxie Hub.
The open house was attended by more than 30 local entrepreneurs and community champions. The incubator will support local entrepreneurs by creating business development spaces at affordable rates, potentially including coworking office space, a retail area for pop-up markets and short-term kiosk rentals, maker space and commercial kitchen to support a café, caterers and artisan food ventures.
“It takes real moxie and tenacity to bring a business from concept to reality,” Barnes said. “The Moxie Hub represents a terrific partnership to create this new home for local innovators and product developers in Lisbon and throughout the Androscoggin Valley at a convenient, centralized location right on Route 196 that is walkable to many village amenities.”
Development of the Moxie Hub is part of an entrepreneurship ecosystem initiative in Lisbon, funded by the Maine Community Foundation in partnership with the Maine Development Foundation’s Maine Downtown Center and Main Street America. Lisbon was selected through a competitive application process as a pilot community for the initiative last year, along with Monson and Skowhegan last year.
Maine Community Foundation has provided $60,000 and technical planning assistance from Maine Downtown Center and Main Street America.
The Moxie Hub will offer approximately 2,300 square feet of versatile floor space on the first story of the Ancient York Lodge at 703 Lisbon Street. Planning is underway to subdivide the floor space into a diverse mix of uses to meet different needs of local entrepreneurs and remote workers.
“The Ancient York Lodge is proud to partner with the town, local entrepreneurs, and our generous funders to develop this community asset,” said Mason John Wierzbicki. “The Lodge has historically been a community gathering place, and the Moxie Hub concept will continue in that tradition.”
This fall, a free digital advertising boot camp for entrepreneurs in the region will take place at Moxie Hub in partnership with Dream Local Digital of Rockland, with additional funding from the Maine Community Foundation through the Start Up Scale Up program.
“We’re excited to activate the space this fall,” Economic and Community
Development Director Brett Richardson said. “The partners envision the hub as a place where entrepreneurs can access trainings, share ideas together and host community events to celebrate local business leaders in Lisbon.”
Lisbon is a Maine Downtown Center Main Street Affiliate Community. Development of the Moxie Hub represents downtown revitalization and place-based economic development. The town-owned former Worumbo Mill site is nearby and is another focus of community development efforts. The momentum behind the two projects epitomizes the growth of Lisbon as prized location with high quality of life.