After close to 140 applications and countless hours to narrow down the finalists, LaunchPad, the small business pitch competition created by Gorham Savings Bank, named the five startups to compete next month for a chance to win $50,000.
Meet the Five Finalists
- Good To-Go (Kittery) – makes dehydrated gourmet meals designed for active adventurers. cofounder Jennifer Scism is a chef who once defeated Mario Batali on Food Network’s Iron Chef.
- Jellux (Saco) – produces year-round “plug-and-play” marine and outdoor lighting that the average homeowner can install.
- North Spore (Westbrook) – produces gourmet mushrooms and spawn for both retail and commercial use.
- STARC Systems (Brunswick) – has developed a temporary containment system that prevents debris and noise from disseminating throughout an occupied building during construction or renovation.
- UniteGPS (Portland) – leverages GPS to create CrossWalk, an app that helps parents and students know when the school bus will arrive each day.
Good To-Go and UniteGPS return to the line up as both were finalists at last year’s Launchpad competition. Winners from previous years include Fluid Farms (2016), Bixby & Co. (2015), Pika Energy (2014) and Flowfold (2013).
In addition to the $50,000 grand prize, Gorham Savings Bank will also have the Emerging Idea Award, with prizes including $10,000 in cash and an additional $10,000 in in-kind marketing, business development and public relations services. The winner will be selected from the remaining applicants and announced at the live event, according to the bank.
“Maine’s economy is made up of thousands of small and innovative businesses. We’re constantly inspired by the success stories we hear from entrepreneurs,” Chris Emmons, Gorham Savings Bank’s president and CEO, said in a statement. “Not only do we want to see those numbers grow; we want to see more of those businesses succeed. The excitement around the competition only demonstrates the strength of entrepreneurship in Maine.”
The final Launchpad pitch event will take place June 6 at the University of Southern Maine’s Hannaford Hall in Portland.
Returning this year to judge the final LaunchPad competition include: Melissa Smith, WEX’s president and CEO, Chris Claudio, co-founder and CEO of Winxnet, and Michelle Neujahr, director of Southern Maine Community College’s Entrepreneurial Center.
Read about more startups in Maine here.