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March 14, 2016

Chocolate-maker among finalists for year-long fellowship

File Photo/ Peter Van Allen Kate McAleer, founder of Rockland-based Bixby Co. McAleer is among 30 national finalists for the Tory Burch Foundation's inaugural Fellows Competition

Rockland chocolatier and founder of Bixby & Co. Kate McAleer is among 30 national finalists for the Tory Burch Foundation’s inaugural Fellows Competition, a year-long comprehensive fellowship program that offers women entrepreneurs access to unique education, mentoring and networking opportunities.

“It was a long, intense application process, a lot of vetting,” McAleer said in a conversation Monday with Mainebiz. “It’s all about women entrepreneurs. I’m the only one from Maine. There are lot of people from New York.”

McAleer founded the organic chocolate bar company in 2011 and has won numerous awards, including the Gorham Savings Bank’s 2013 LaunchPad competition, the Small Business Administration’s Young Entrepreneur of the Year award in 2015, a Local Producer's loan through Whole Foods Market and a Mainebiz NEXT award.

The Tory Burch Foundation Fellows Competition seeks to identify 10 Tory Burch Foundation Fellows to become ambassadors for women entrepreneurs, while providing an opportunity for them to compete for a $100,000 grant investment for their business education.

The initiative includes a variety of components designed to support women entrepreneurs: a one-year fellowship program that includes a three-day workshop at the Tory Burch Foundation offices, a $10,000 grant for business education, as well as dedicated mentoring, networking and consultative support.

During the three-day workshop, the 10 fellows will pitch their business plans in front of a judging panel of successful entrepreneurs and influencers, including Chairman, CEO and designer Tory Burch. Based on these presentations, one fellow will earn a $100,000 investment in her business.

“We are excited to recognize these impressive women entrepreneurs looking to continue to grow their businesses and make an impact on their lives, families and communities,” said Laurie Fabiano, president of the Tory Burch Foundation in a statement. “These women are an exceptional group of leaders and we encourage everyone to vote and help us determine the 10 fellows by visiting our website to read about their hard work and innovation.”

Read more

Chocolate maker Bixby & Co. wins $30K startup prize

Organic ingredients, organic growth for Bixby chocolate bars

Six Maine companies receive Good Food Awards

Five companies in play for $50K ‘LaunchPad’ grant

Bixby founder wins Tory Burch Fellowship pitch competition, $100K grant

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