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April 2, 2018 BizMoney

Gorham Savings readies LaunchPad for another season

Gorham Savings Bank's LaunchPad program was started six years ago as a way for the bank to help startups who aren't in a position to get traditional bank financing.

The program “really puts the spotlight” on the state's entrepreneurs and startups, says Caitlin Ouellette, marketing specialist at the bank.

“[It was started] because we see so many come in the doors who have an access-to-capital issue,” says Julie Viola, vice  president-business banking lending manager. “We believe in what they're doing and we want to be there for them.”

The bank gets about 150 applicants for the program, which offers a $50,000 grand prize and, beginning this year, an emerging ideas prize that includes a $10,000 grant and $10,000 of in-kind services.

The deadline for applying is April 15, and applications may be done in writing or by video.

Five finalists are chosen to pitch before a panel of judges on June 5.

The emerging ideas winner will be picked from those who aren't among the five finalists.

Kim Donnelly, vice president and director of business banking, says that applicants should also keep in mind that the panel of judges is looking at all the applications, and while each one doesn't get feedback, it may draw attention despite the fact they don't win. She says the more information an applicant provides, the more it will help them, even if it's not in the contest.

She also says any of the applicants are welcome to meet with a lender at Gorham Savings to discuss how to proceed with a business plan and ultimately be in a position to move their business forward.

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