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June 16, 2015

Portland and Topsham firms in the running for $200,000 national cleantech competition

PHOTO / Courtesy of Stephen Davis Phillips
PHOTO / Courtesy of Stephen Davis Phillips
Don Gooding (left), executive director of the Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development, with Rapport CEO John Rooks and Rapport Chief Operating Officer Justin Jaffe and Rumena Manolova and Chris Pasko of Blackstone Advisory Group at the Top Gun Showcase on June 3.

Fresh off its win at the Top Gun Showcase, Portland-based sustainability software company Rapport has been selected as one of two Maine firms to compete in a regional cleantech business accelerator program that could ultimately lead to a $200,000 national prize.

Cleantech Open Northeast announced recently that Rapport and Topsham-based energy generation company Beltane Solar were among 34 companies selected. The companies represent various cleantech sectors, including agriculture, energy efficiency, information and communications technology and transportation.

Rapport walked away with a $10,000 prize from the Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development's Top Gun Showcase on June 3. It was also among three companies at the showcase to each receive $60,000 in in-kind software and services from Microsoft Corp.

"In 2015, the Northeast lead the country in accelerator applicants for the second year in a row, continuing our legacy as one of the strongest regional cleantech ecosystems in the country," Cleantech Open Northeast Executive Director Katherine MacDonald said in a prepared statement. "We look forward to supporting the Class of 2015 by focusing on their major business challenges and connecting them to the extensive professional network Cleantech Open and the New England Clean Energy Council have to offer."

The program kicked off last week with the two-day Cleantech Open East Coast Academy at Babson College in Wellesley, Mass., where companies were connected with mentors, entrepreneurship education and opportunities to access capital. It will continue into October, when eight semifinalists will be chosen to present at an awards gala in New York City, Ingrid Hartman, the program's spokeswoman, told Mainebiz.

The program will then choose four regional winners that will advance to Cleantech Open's National Final Judging and Global Forum, where the grand prize winner will walk away with $200,000 in cash and in-kind services from sponsors. There will also be runner-up prize, a sustainability prize and eight category prizes.

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