Now in its seventh year, LaunchPad helps Maine’s innovators and entrepreneurs reach the next level
Gorham Savings Bank has selected five Maine businesses as the finalists of its seventh annual LaunchPad small business competition.
From an applicant pool of over 150 businesses, Casco Bay Creamery, CourseStorm, GO Lab, Sidewalk Buttler, and Vintage Maine Kitchen rose to the top and will move onto the next round – a live pitch competition to be held the evening of Tuesday, June 4 at USM’s Hannaford Hall in Portland.
There, in front of a live audience, an independent panel of judges will decide which of these small-but-promising Maine businesses will be awarded the $50,000 grant from Gorham Savings Bank. LaunchPad judges are entrepreneur and co-founder of Safe Handling Inc., Ford Reiche, Logically CEO and co-founder Chris Claudio, and Catherine Cloudman, shareholder and board member, Village Fertility Pharmacy. Business consultant Michelle Neujahr will emcee again this year.
Entries for this year’s competition were submitted via an online form during the entry period of March 1—April 1.
“Our preliminary judges selected an extremely diverse group of small businesses this year,” said Steve deCastro, president and CEO of Gorham Savings Bank. While each of this year’s finalists operates in a different niche, common threads among them highlight what Maine is known for nationally, its natural resources, sustainable products, and innovation.
Casco Bay Creamery (Portland – Jennell Carter, Alicia Menard, Andrew Menard, Sue Konkel) , a returning finalist from 2015, provides creamy, delicious butter and cream cheese to customers who want to make breaking bread a joyful occasion.
CourseStorm (Orono – Brian Rahill, Matt James) provides simple online tools for class registration that help educational organizations save time and money while increasing enrollments.
GO Lab (Belfast – Joshua Henry, Matthew O’Malia) makes nontoxic, renewable, wood fiber insulations that cost the same and perform better than commercially available insulations.
Sidewalk Buttler (Scarborough – Mike Roylos, Nan McLaughlin) designs, manufactures, and distributes the leading cigarette litter receptacle, which removes, reduces, and recycles cigarette waste.
Vintage Maine Kitchen (Freeport – Kelly Brodeur) makes small batch Maine potato chips that transport boomers with nostalgia, wow millennials with flavor, and impress chefs with technical proficiency.
deCastro continued, “The entrepreneurial spirit is clearly alive and well in Maine – we really do have such talented entrepreneurs working hard to make our state an attractive place to work, live and eat. We’re looking forward to learning about the story and people behind each business next month.”
In its third year, the Emerging Idea Award is a $10,000 grant that comes with an additional $10,000 worth of in-kind marketing, business development and public relations services. This year’s Emerging Idea finalists, selected from LaunchPad applicants are Friday (Portland – Luke Thomas), Kinotek (Orono – David Holomakoff, Justin Hafner, Jon Gagnon, Patrick Breeding), Lobster Unlimited (Brewer – Cathy Billings, Dr. Robert C. Bayer, Stewart Hardison, Mathew Hodgkin), MyBodyModel (Portland – Erica Schmitz), and OpBox (Portland– Emily Davis, Ben Davis) Each finalist will have the opportunity to submit a 60-second pitch video, which will be played at the event. The Emerging Idea Award winner will be announced just before the LaunchPad winner at the live event at Hannaford Hall.