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Updated: March 2, 2023

Gorham Savings will move LaunchPad event to fall

Contest on stage Screenshot Melissa LaCasse, co-founder and CEO of Tanbark Molded Fiber Products, delivering her winning pitch to judges and a live audience at last year's Gorham Savings Bank LaunchPad event in Portland.
The pitch-off showcases innovative small businesses that compete for a $50,000 grant and the Emerging Business Award, which is a $10,000 grant plus another $10,000 worth of in-kind services.  
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Maine entrepreneurs keen to compete in the annual Gorham Savings Bank LaunchPad business-pitch competition will have to wait a bit longer due to a scheduling change.

The event, traditionally held every spring, is being moved to October, though a date for this year has not yet been finalized, the organizer announced Wednesday.

“Over the years, our historic June event date has proved to be difficult on a number of fronts,” said Steve deCastro, president and CEO of Gorham Savings Bank. “This shift will give GSB some breathing room between several other events while providing applicants and finalists more time between pitch competitions and other small business events.”

The annual pitch-off showcases innovative small businesses that compete for a $50,000 grant from Gorham Savings. The bank is ranked No. 11 among banks with the largest market share in Maine in the 2023 Mainebiz Book of Lists.

Recent LaunchPad winners include Casco Bay Creamery, which won in 2019; Portland-based industrial software startup HighByte, which won in 2021 when the event made a comeback after 2020's cancellation during the pandemic; and Tanbark Molded Fiber Products, which won in 2022.

The LaunchPad competition also includes the Emerging Business Award, which is a $10,000 grant plus another $10,000 worth of in-kind marketing, business development, and public relations services.
Since 2013, more than 550 businesses representing 25 industries and more than Maine cities and towns have applied to LaunchPad.
“We’re committed to continual improvement of the LaunchPad experience for Maine’s early-stage small businesses and believe this move will make LaunchPad more accessible for applicants, as well as our dedicated and enthusiastic supporters,” deCastro said.
Over the last decade, the annual pitch event has provided more than $450,000 in growth capital to help Maine small businesses reach the next level, according to Gorham Savings.

More information

Find out more about the annual pitch competition here, where interested contestants will be able to apply starting mid-summer.

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