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June 17, 2024

Eight Maine businesses take home SCORE awards

award ceremony Photo / Courtesy, SCORE Maine Kate Hall, right, founder of Graze, won SCORE's Successful Agriculture Business award. She is pictured with her mentor, Nancy Strojny, assistant district director of SCORE Maine.

Eight Maine businesses were honored by SCORE Maine, a national nonprofit that connects entrepreneurs with mentors to help start and grow their businesses.

SCORE is a resource partner of the U.S. Small Business Administration. With chapters in southern, central and northern Maine, SCORE Maine has 111 certified mentors. The SCORE mentors helped clients create 360 businesses and 1,652 jobs.

This year's awards were presented at a luncheon June 12 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Freeport. More than 130 people attended. 

Nancy Strojny, SCORE Maine's assistant district director, said SCORE provided 8,503 services to Maine small business owners and entrepreneurs in 2023. SCORE mentors provide free face-to-face mentoring sessions, as well as virtual sessions with clients.

“SCORE leverages the talent of its mentors to deliver an exceptional client experience," said Strojny.

The 2024 SCORE awards

The businesses that received awards were:

  • Successful Veteran Owned Business: Sheila Foley, founder of Poland Provisions, which provides healthy food, goods and gifts and community space in Poland;
  • Successful Hospitality Business: Adam Woodfin, founder of Rum Runners, a former ambulance turned mobile bar on wheels;
  • Successful Health Care Business: Alain Icoyitungiye, the founder of Urugo Residential Services, offers residential care programs to provide Home Support to developmentally delayed and autistic adults in Cumberland County and the greater Portland.
  • Successful Agriculture Business: Kate Hall, founder of Graze, created Graze to address a nutritional deficiency affecting her immune system. Today, the farm grows and produces organic seasonal produce and wheatgrass, harvested and pressed onsite at the farm's bottle plant processing kitchen. These blended juices are offered at farmers' markets and wholesale/ retail stores around the state. 
  • Successful Diverse Business: Alli Harper, founder of OurShelves, a service that curates quarterly deliveries of high-quality diverse children’s books that feature racially and ethnically diverse, LGBTQ+, disabled, feminist and other characters and families currently under-represented in kids’ books; 
  • Successful Woman-Owned Business: Laura Anne Brown, founder of Trove, an artisan boutique and gift shop in downtown Searsport. Inspired by the artistry and beauty of Maine, Trove features a carefully curated collection of one-of-a-kind contemporary and functional handcrafted goods and original art;
  • Successful Innovative Business: Doug Andrews is one of the founders of Burgundar, a Harrison-based LARP Adventure Village. Burgundar is a live-action role-play host site that was featured on "Maine Cabin Masters." 
  • Successful Mobile Business: Cynthia Flores, owner of Labor-Movement.

“We deeply appreciate our collaboration with SCORE as they provide valuable insight and advice to our MTI portfolio companies as well as other small businesses throughout the state,” said Brian Whitney, president of Maine Technology Institute, a sponsor of the awards.

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