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June 16, 2022

12 Maine startups to compete in Dirigo Labs pitch competition

Sascha Deri in rocket manufacturing facility. Photo / Fred Field BluShift Aerospace, whose founder Sascha Deri is shown here at the company's Brunswick Landing headquarters, will participate in the Dirigo Labs pitch competition at Colby College in Waterville.

Maine's business-pitch contest calendar remains in full swing, with Dirigo Labs next up. The Waterville-based accelerator will host a pitch-off for the 12 companies in its inaugural cohort next week.

The competition will take place Tuesday, June 21, from 5-7 p.m., at Colby College in Waterville. Each company will have five minutes to formally present before judges and a live audience, in hopes of taking home a $25,000 cash prize sponsored by Skowhegan Savings Bank. 

Judges will evaluate each company's pitch delivery, capital strategy and impact on entrepreneurship in Maine.   

“Dirigo Labs’ pitch competition will bring the most promising entrepreneurs together in one event that will display the businesses they are building from the ground up,” said Susan Ruhlin, managing director of Dirigo Labs. She previously told Mainebiz that participants in the accelerator's debut cohort were chosen from about 40 applicants.

Dirigo Labs operates under the Central Maine Growth Council and is supported by several organizations, academic institutions and investment firms.

“Leveraging both local and national mentors, Dirigo Labs has continued to empower its startups to refine their pitches, highlight their unique value propositions, and celebrate their contributions to Maine’s entrepreneurial landscape,” said Garvan Donegan, Central Maine Growth Council's director of planning innovation and economic development, who was honored on the Mainebiz Next List in 2021.

“We invite the community to attend this competition to meet our cohort companies and commemorate their incredible growth and development.” 

Steve Thomas, a senior vice president and senior commercial lender at Skowhegan Savings, said it's exciting for him as a lender and his bank to see what may become of what he called "very impressive entrepreneurs."

"I think that the Dirigo Labs program will help develop central Maine, and our foundation looks forward to presenting the winner with that $25,000 check to take their business to the next level," he added.

At other Maine business-pitch contests, Tanbark Molded Fiber Products won the Gorham Savings LaunchPad $50,000 grand-prize winner last week, while Finsulate, a Dutch cleantech startup establishing its U.S. headquarters in Portland, won the $25,000 Top Gun Showcase award in May.

Full list of participants

  • MaineNerve, Alfred
  • bluShift Aerospace, Brunswick
  • GenoTyping Center of America, Waterville 
  • The Good Crust, Canaan
  • Hussey Medical LLC, Waterville
  • Maine Float, Winthrop
  • Ocean Farm Supply, Brunswick
  • Phoebe’s Call, Rockland
  • Prospector Portal, Waterville
  • SlicPix, Dresden
  • TrustedRentr, Milford
  • Wingspans, Providence, R.I., and Waterville

More information

For those interested in attending, more information about the event is available here. Entrepreneurs and potential mentors can find out more about Dirigo Labs here

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