October 1, 2018
Biz Money

Pitch-contest season moves into high gear

Maine's start-up community seems to thrive on the annual pitch contests.

The contests involve a cash prize. But the longer-term gain for many participants may be the chance to hone their pitch, sharpening the ability to tell a company's story. There's also exposure to an audience of potential investors.

The Maine Center for Entrepreneurs is now accepting applications for its 2019 Top Gun competition for Maine's most promising early stage, high-growth potential companies between now and Nov. 9.

The highly selective program will accept between eight and 10 companies in Portland, Bangor, Lewiston-Auburn, Rockland and Waterville. It comes with a $25,000 cash prize.

The Waterville location will offer a new Top Gun Program specifically for companies in the food and beverage sector, including farmers, producers, processors and businesses that provide support services.

After completing a short online application, prospective companies are required to submit a pitch deck and present a live pitch to the interview committee in their location of choice. Optional "pre-flight workshops" will be offered before the November deadline to help applications prepare pitch decks and polish live pitches.

The contest culminates with two regional pitch-off events, and the top two semi-finalists in each region will move on to the statewide showcase to compete for a cash prize sponsored by the Maine Technology Institute.

The most recent Top Gun winner, selected in May, was Erica Schmitz, founder of Portland startup MyBodyModel, a web app that creates fashion-sketching templates unique to the user's body measurements.

Other pitch competitions coming up

Gorham Savings Bank's LaunchPad, with a $50,000 prize, usually has its application period from mid-March to mid-April. The most recent winner was North Spore Mushrooms, a Westbrook company that sells specialty mushroom kits on Amazon and directly to restaurants.

"Greenlight Maine," which airs statewide on WCSH6 and WLBZ2, typically takes applications in May. The $100,000 prize is coveted. The most recent winner was, like LaunchPad, North Spore Mushrooms.

Other resources include Maine Technology Institute (, New Ventures Maine ( and the Finance Authority of Maine (


Type your comment here:

Most Popular on Facebook