Gorham Savings Bank will begin accepting applications on March 1 for its eighth annual LaunchPad small business competition, the premier event of its type in Maine, which will be a livestream event this year. In the competition, promising small businesses will compete for a $50,000 grant from the Bank.
“We’re truly excited to bring LaunchPad back this year and can’t wait to review the applications. We know we are going to learn a lot about how Maine’s small businesses have adapted and innovated to meet the new reality and address new needs and challenges,” said Steve deCastro, president and CEO of Gorham Savings Bank. “Innovation, agility and entrepreneurial thinking is critical to the economic vitality of Maine and we look forward to our grants helping a few small businesses launch themselves to the next level.”
The application period opens Monday, March 1 and closes on Thursday, April 1 at 5:00 p.m. Entrepreneurs, start-ups, and established companies can enter via a simple online application at gorhamsavings.bank/LaunchPad. Judging criteria includes viability and scalability, as evidenced by past winners Flowfold, Bixby & Co, and Pika Energy.
The application process is now easier than ever. Businesses can:
- Preview application questions before March 1
- Create an account, save a draft application, and return to finish it later
- Watch videos of preliminary judges discussing the competition’s criteria and what they look for on an application
- Access and update a previous submission if they applied to LaunchPad in 2019
Five finalists will be invited to compete live in-studio on Tuesday, June 1 at AV Technik in Scarborough, at which time the winner will be announced.
In keeping with Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines, each finalist will pitch to a three-judge panel while friends, family, and supporters watch via livestream from the comfort of their homes. The livestream URL will be included in an upcoming press release announcing the five finalists.
LaunchPad judges this year are:
- Kate McAleer, founder, Bixby & Co. and 2014 LaunchPad winner
- Catherine Cloudman, principal and board member, Village Fertility; co-founder, Apothecary by Design
- Ford Reiche, entrepreneur and founder, Safe Handling
More than 550 participants spanning 100+ Maine cities and towns and 25+ industries have applied to LaunchPad since 2013. Winners have received more than $300,000 in critical grant money from Gorham Savings Bank.
The LaunchPad competition also includes an additional $10,000 grant, and $10,000 of in-kind business and marketing-related, business development, and public relations services from iBec Creative, Creative Imagine Group, Grove Marketing, Philbrook Public Relations and pro-voke called the Emerging Business Award. Five additional finalists are selected to submit 60-second pitch videos to be shown during the livestream. All LaunchPad applicants are considered for both prize levels, and no separate application is required. MyBodyModel, a croquis app that makes custom fashion sketch templates with realistic body measurements, earned the distinction in 2019.
Visit gorhamsavings.bank/LaunchPad to watch a recap of previous competitions.