Gorham Savings Bank has selected finalists for its annual LaunchPad small business competition. From a diverse, statewide applicant pool of innovative small businesses, five rose to the top and will move on to the next round: a live pitch competition taking place on Tuesday, June 7 at 4:30pm at UNE’s Innovation Hall on Stevens Avenue in Portland. The social gathering prior to the competition begins at 3:30pm.
After hearing the pitches, a panel of three judges from the Maine businesses community will ask questions of the finalists and ultimately award the grand prize – a $50,000 grant from GSB – to one of the five entrepreneurs.
In addition to the five $50,000 LaunchPad finalists, five additional startups were chosen to submit 60-second pitch videos to compete for the Bank’s Emerging Business Award. The winner will earn a $10,000 grant from GSB plus $10,000 worth of in-kind business and marketing services from Creative Imaging Group, Grove Marketing, iBec Creative, Nu-Yar, and Philbrook PR. The Emerging Business Award winner will be announced at the June 7 live event, just before the $50,000 winner.
The 2022 LaunchPad $50,000 finalists are:
- Bookclubs – Camden – (Anna Ford, Ian Campbell, Nancy Brown): Bookclubs makes organizing a book club simple with tools to build community, choose books, schedule meetings, and discover what to read next. Walk away from that tangle of emails so your book club can focus on reading and being together.
- Gulf of Maine Sashimi (True Fin) – Portland – (Jen Levin): True Fin provides professional and home chefs with the best quality Maine seafood. It buys directly from harvesters and pays more so that its customers receive ethically sourced, fully traceable seafood that’s good for its customers, the ocean, and coastal communities.
- Maine Food Group – Brunswick – (Sam Miller): Maine Good Group is value-add ingredient processor and specialty food manufacturer that focuses on shelf-stable and frozen food. The company was founded on the concept that it can process fresh ingredients into finished products at scale.
- Erin Flett/Studio e Flett Design – Gorham – (Erin Flett): A returning finalist from 2021, Studio e Flett is a bold, colorful lifestyle brand with big ambitions. Erin Flett is a textile designer who hand-draws and prints all her own original designs and colors onto hand-sewn pillows, bags, home goods, and even wallpaper.
- Tanbark – Saco – (Melissa LaCasse, Christopher LaCasse, Bill Kerns): Tanbark says goodbye to plastic and Styrofoam and hello to custom, sustainable, molded fiber packaging. The company offers smarter packaging solutions that are better for the planet. Tanbark believes their product is the most earth-friendly solution available.
The 2022 LaunchPad Emerging Business Award finalists are: Eskuad (Portland; Max Echeveria), FibrWorks (Gray; Joseph Curcio, Will Kline, Mortiz Marchant, Brendon Bennett), NKENNE (Portland; Michael Odokara-Okigbo), Ocean Farm Supply (Brunswick; Erin Adams, Eric Oransky, Willy Leathers), and pumpspotting (Eliot; Amy VanHaren).
This year’s judges are Chris Claudio (co-founder and board member, Logically), Catherine Cloudman (president and CEO, CHC Advisors), and Kristine Delano (board member, Women in ETFs, and host of WE Talk Careers podcast). Business consultant Michelle Neujahr (owner, Nu-Yar) will emcee again this year.
There is no cost to attend the June 7 event. RSVP to save your seat and support the local small business community at LaunchPad.