“My advice is to tell your story. Home in on what makes you unique and innovative. Be specific about how you will use the funds.”
ENTERING THE COMPETITION:
Q. Can I preview the application questions before it opens on July 17?
A. Yes! Our goal is to make it as easy as possible for entrepreneurs to apply, so we provide the questions in advance. You can see the 2022 application questions here. If you’re considering applying, listen to our 2021 winner, HighByte, talk about the value of going through the application process.
Q. How can I make my LaunchPad application stronger?
A. Review the Judging Criteria and watch our “Before You Apply” video to learn more from the LaunchPad Judges themselves about what they look for in an application. Also, be sure to validate any statements or claims with financial information whenever possible.
Q. I don’t have the resources or time to film a video for my application. Will that hurt me?
A. Absolutely not. We want to give all applicants equal opportunity, which is why it’s your choice to answer the question with either a video or a written response. However we strongly encourage submitting a video, even an iPhone video gives judges valuable insight into you and your business.
Q. Can I save my application and come back to it later?
A. Yes! We know small business owners are pulled in lots of different directions, and we want to be sensitive to that. Get started by creating your account. Just don’t forget to submit your application before the August 24 deadline.
Q. I know the deadline is August 24, but what time? Do I have all day to put the finishing touches on my application?
A. The application deadline for the 2023 LaunchPad competition is 5:00pm on Thursday, August 24, 2023. If you have any issues with the application, email email@example.com.
Q. I know the award is $50,000—but what is that? A loan? Will I need to pay it back?
A. The $50,000 award is a no-strings-attached grant, so it does not need to be paid back. The mission of LaunchPad is to help fund the growth of Maine’s most innovative small businesses by providing one of the most critical ingredients—capital. It’s one tangible way that Gorham Savings Bank can show its support for entrepreneurs and new businesses in Maine.
Q. I applied before—can I update my application, rather than starting from scratch?
A. Unfortunately, previously submitted applications are no longer available. We plan to re-instate this feature in 2024.
Q. Who can I contact with a question, or about an issue I’m having with the website or application?
A. Email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’d be happy to help.
THE REVIEW PROCESS:
Q. Once I apply, when will I hear whether I’ve been selected as a LaunchPad finalist?
A. All applicants will be notified by Friday, September 29, 2023. We greatly appreciate your patience as our preliminary judges diligently review the applications.
Q. If I’m selected as a finalist, how long do I have to prepare for the live event?
A. All finalists will be notified three weeks before the live event, which will be held on Tuesday, October 24, 2023. We will also host a Finalist Orientation for the $50,000 finalists the week before the event to help familiarize them with the event agenda.
THE EMERGING Business AWARD:
Q. My business is very early-stage. Can I apply for the Emerging Business Award?
A. We know you’re busy running your business, so we kept it simple. All LaunchPad applicants are automatically considered for both prize levels, the $50,000 grant and the $10,000 Emerging Business Award. No separate application is required.
Q. What do judges look for in an Emerging Business Award finalist?
A. The judging criteria for the Emerging Business Award is the same as for our $50,000 grant: viability, scalability, uniqueness, management, and impact. Additionally, our judges look for a promising, innovative small business at a stage where the business and marketing-related services could help launch them to the next level.
Q. If I’m selected as an Emerging Business Award finalist, how long do I have to prepare my pitch video?
A. All finalists will be notified by Friday, September 29, 2023. If selected as a finalist, the Emerging Business Award pitch videos will be due to GSB by Friday, October 13, 2023.
THE LAUNCHPAD live EVENT:
Q. Where and when is the 2023 live event?
A. The event will take place on Tuesday, October 24 in-person at Innovation Hall on UNE’s Portland Campus and online. Replay the 2022 livestream.
Q. Do I have to RSVP to attend the live event?
A. We strongly encourage you to RSVP in advance, although it is not required. There is no cost to attend LaunchPad. The event is about celebrating Maine’s entrepreneurial spirit.