A panel of independent judges recently selected ten Maine businesses from a pool of 88 applicants to vie for a $30,000 cash award in Gorham Savings Bank’s third annual LaunchPad business plan competition. The community is now being asked to vote for the entrepreneur they believe will best utilize the funds to help grow their business.
The public is encouraged to visit launchpad.gorhamsavingsbank.com from now through May 15 to view each business summary – describing the product or service, and how they would use the $30,000 award – and then vote for the semifinalist of their choice. The top five finalists will pitch their idea at the live LaunchPad event on June 18 at 5:30 pm at the University of Southern Maine’s Hannaford Hall.
Gorham Savings Bank designed and sponsored the inaugural LaunchPad program in 2013 as a competition open to existing Maine businesses or promising new startups that can demonstrate a solid business plan and compelling need and use for the funds.
Bixby & Co., an organic chocolate bar maker based in Rockland, won last year’s LaunchPad award after delivering a compelling pitch to the panel of judges – citing their need for funds to purchase equipment to scale up production to meet an immediate demand for orders allowing them to expand into the national market.
The inaugural Launchpad competition in 2013 was won by Pika Energy, a Gorham-based company that manufactures residential wind turbines – using the funds to move the business from a founder’s basement to a commercial space.
The final pitch event is free and open to the public – registration is now open on the LaunchPad website. A panel of judges will select the winning company, who will walk away that evening with the $30,000 award.
- Craig Denekas, president and CEO of the Libra Foundation
- Michelle Neujahr, entrepreneurial center director at Southern Maine Community College
- Melissa Smith, President & CEO of WEX
Beach Glass Transitions, South Portland – Provides personalized assistance to families, individuals, and employers to navigate senior care choices.
Biovation, Boothbay, returning semifinalist from 2014 – Designs and manufactures a portable, lightweight product that dries a pair of wet boots within 6-8 hours.
Casco Bay Butter, Scarborough – Makes all natural and organic flavored butters using cream from local farmers.
Close Buy Catalog, Portland – a school fundraising catalog featuring locally made, healthy, delicious, beautiful and useful products that people feel good about buying.
DemerBox, Portland – designs and manufactures rugged, great-sounding, Bluetooth boom boxes out of Pelican Brand cases.
Flowfold, Peaks Island, returning finalist from 2014 – produces everyday carry gear that allows adventurers to carry their belongings with confidence.
Green Bee Soda, Brunswick, returning finalist from 2013 – offers a healthier alternative to traditional soda, handcrafted from local honey and whole ingredients.
Portland Pudgy, Portland – an unsinkable dinghy that’s also a fun little sailboat and a dynamic lifeboat you can sail to safety.
Saco River Dyehouse, Biddeford, returning finalist from 2013 – dyes and finishes yarns and fibers creating local jobs and beauty worldwide.
Sentry EHS, Westbrook – an innovative web-based tool used by businesses to protect the environment and safeguard workers, all while lowering overhead costs.