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Updated: July 10, 2023

'Clyk' and win for UNE grad on 'Greenlight Maine'

Two women holding prize check Photo / Courtesy "Greenlight Maine" From left, Julene Gervais, co-executive producer and host of "Greenlight Maine," presents the $10,000 grand prize to collegiate winner Abbie Anderson, representing the University of New England.

Abbie Anderson, a 2023 graduate of the University of New England, has big plans for her $10,000 prize money from the "Greenlight Maine College Edition" televised business-pitch contest.

The 22-year old, who recently earned an undergraduate degree in sustainability and business, was crowned the Season 8 winner last week for developing Clyk, a social media platform that aims to help college students connect with like-minded peers. The app invites users to meet other students with similar interests and find new places to hang out both on and off campus.

This year's $10,000 prize was sponsored by the Finance Authority of Maine.

"With the money I won from 'Greenlight Maine," I will be funding the development costs of the software so that in the fall of 2023 Clyk can be launched at the University of New England as a beta product," she told Mainebiz.

In practice, that means that all 3,500 undergraduates of the Biddeford-based private university will have access to the beta version of Anderson's platform as she works with students over the next year to develop and update the app.

By summer 2024, Anderson aims to launch the finished version of the platform, targeting between 50 and 100 universities signing on with Clyk.

Anderson was crowned the first place finisher in "Greenlight Maine" after a final round against entrepreneurial peers from the University of Southern Maine (Jacob Curtis, Tymur Sabirov and Andry Sermeño, of Refilla) and the University of Maine (Alexander Mehre, Dyllon Dunton and Jacob Wildes, of My Pocket Workshop).

Refilla, a subscription-based service focused on recycling and distributing 3D printer filament, received a second-place prize of $7,500. 

My Pocket Workshop, an online platform for streamlining product design and supporting aspiring entrepreneurs, won a third-place prize of $5,000.

Record number of applicants 

The show, broadcast on Maine Public Television, kicked off Season 8 in April with 10 contestants, out of more than 30 applicants.

“We had a record number of applicants for both the college and flagship series this season," Julene Gervais, the show's co-executive producer and host, told Mainebiz. "The companies continue to innovate and solve problems to improve the environment and sustainability.”

Asked what she learned from her experience, Anderson said, "Being able to practice pitching to a panel of judges and receive questions and feedback has been an integral part of the development of my company as it has helped me solve new questions and problems regarding how I am going to be successful with Clyk."

After spending this summer at home with her family in Amesbury, Mass., Anderson plans an August return to the Portland area, "where I'm really excited to plant my roots as I start my professional career."

Anderson's "Greenlight" victory comes three years after fellow UNE alumna Jillian Robillard was crowned the 2020 collegiate winner for her Green Bait business venture.

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