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October 28, 2014

Top Gun to award $10K at pitch showcase

file PHOTo / Tim Greenway
file PHOTo / Tim Greenway
Jay Lombard, founder of Finest Kind Tea, shows his liquid concentrate drink mix at this year's Top Gun event.

The Top Gun entrepreneurship acceleration program will offer a $10,000 cash prize to the winning entrepreneur of next year's pitch event, the organizers announced Monday.

This is the first time the program will offer a cash incentive, along with a business services package from Internet provider GWI, since it was first started in Portland in 2009 by the Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development. The program expanded in Bangor in 2012 and will expand to Rockland in 2015, with help from the Blackstone Accelerates Growth Initiative.

The winners from the three regional events held in May 2015 will have a chance to compete for the cash prize and business services package, which must be used to support the business described in the pitch. The organizers said the prize does not represent an investment of any kind from MCED or any of its partners.

"Top Gun graduates have gone on to win MassChallenge, Gorham Savings Bank's LaunchPad competition, CleanTech Open as well as [receiving] funding from the Maine Technology Institute, Maine Angels, Maine Venture Fund and other outside investors," Susan Ruhlin, Top Gun's program manager, said in a prepared statement. "The time seemed right to offer a cash incentive to one of the standout companies."

The Top Gun program is supported by the Blackstone Accelerates Growth Initiative, MTI and a number of partner business organizations and businesses.

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