ENTERING THE COMPETITION:
Q. Can I preview the application questions before it opens on March 1?
A. Yes! Our goal is to make it as easy as possible for entrepreneurs to apply, so we’ve provided the questions in advance. You can preview the 2020 application here.
Q. I applied last year—can I update my application, rather than starting from scratch?
A. If you applied to LaunchPad in 2019, your application will be available once you log in on or after March 1. Unfortunately, applications submitted prior to 2019 will not be available.
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 April 1 deadline.
Q. I know the deadline is April 1, but what time? Do I have all day to put the finishing touches on my application?
A. The deadline for entry to the 2020 LaunchPad competition is 5:00pm on Wednesday, April 1. If you have any issues with the application or uploading processes, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 grant, so it does not need to be paid back. The mission of LaunchPad is to help fund the growth of Maine 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. Who can I contact with a question, or about an issue I’m having with the website or application?
A. Email email@example.com 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 2020 LaunchPad finalist?
A. All applicants will be notified by Friday, May 8, 2020. 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 pitch event?
A. All finalists will be notified three weeks before the live event, which is on Tuesday, June 2, 2020 at USM in Portland. We will also host a Finalist Orientation the week before the event to help familiarize them with the event space and the night’s 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 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 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, May 8, 2020. If selected as a finalist, the Emerging Business Award pitch videos will be due to GSB a week prior to the live event on Tuesday, May 26, 2020.
THE LIVE LAUNCHPAD EVENT:
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, so the more the merrier—but seating is limited. (That’s why you should really RSVP.)