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June 5, 2015

'Greenlight Maine' pitch show dangles $100,000 prize for entrepreneurs

Image / Courtesy of Greenlight Maine
Image / Courtesy of Greenlight Maine

Maine entrepreneurs can vie for a chance to become one of 26 prospective companies participating in a weekly TV show called "Greenlight Maine" and aim to win a minimum prize of $100,000 and possibly more through crowdfunding.

Casting calls are in progress statewide to identify entrepreneurs, who can register via GreenlightMaine.com and upload their 3-minute video clip pitch. Applications will run now through midnight on June 13, Jess Knox, founder of Maine Startup & Create Week, told Mainebiz.

Greenlight Maine has partnered with Knox, Blackstone Accelerates Growth and Don Gooding, executive director of Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development, to lead the initial selection process.

Knox said the group will initially choose 30 to 40 quarterfinalists, who will pitch in person on June 26 in Portland during Maine Startup & Create Week. The final 26 will be chosen that evening and move on to the TV show, which will be in a format similar to ABC's "Shark Tank."

Mainebiz mentioned the new show and casting call in a story Thursday about the 11 innovation events in June, which has been dubbed "Maine Entrepreneurship Month."

MCED's Gooding referred to the new show earlier this week as a "kinder, gentler 'Shark Tank.'"

Greenlight Maine is the brainchild of Portland Media Group, a custom content and production company founded by Brian Corcoran, who also is president of Shamrock Sports & Entertainment; Nat Thompson, former president of Maine Radio and Television Co. and former owner/producer at WCSH6; and Con Fullam, an executive TV producer and music composer.

Corcoran said the weekly, 30-minute program will start airing on WCSH6 and WLBZ2 on Sept. 12 at 7:30 p.m. on Saturdays after "Bill Green's Maine."

It will consist of two companies, each pitching and talking back and forth with judges for about five minutes. The judges will be entrepreneurs, service providers and people from the business community.

The third segment of each show will highlight a pre-recorded interview with an executive of a Maine-based company talking about its bootstrap-to-success story. Among them are L.L.Bean Chairman Shawn Gorman, as well as top executives from MEMIC, Bangor Savings Bank and others.

"As small business owners ourselves, we are excited to pay it forward and pave the way for a new chapter of businesses to tap into the awareness, insights, mentoring and financial resources Greenlight Maine brings to the table," Corcoran said in announcing the new show.

One winner will be chosen per show by a panel of judges. After the candidates are narrowed to 13 during the initial 13 weeks of shows, the next 13 weeks will reair and update all of the companies. One last run of 13 shows will be live and offer a chance for the business community and others to ask questions of the 13 companies. The winner will then be announced at the live final pitch event in June 2016 at an as-yet-unspecified date.

"This gives them two more [series of] televised events to support their growth," Knox said.

During the entire process, the companies will have the option to raise money by crowdfunding on the show's website.

The show aims to have corporate partner support, and is seeking funding from foundations, companies, individuals and others.

Read more

'Greenlight Maine' charges into second season

Greenlight Maine picks 26 semifinalists to vie for $100,000 prize in entrepreneur contest

Portland's 'Shark Tank' open call gets date

With 11 events, MCED dubs June 'Maine Entrepreneurship Month'

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