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May 9, 2023

Rockland maker of prefab buildings wins Dirigo Labs pitch contest

people holding check Photo / Courtesy Dirigo Labs Rockland-based Croft, a maker of carbon-negative prefab buildings, will use its $25,000 prize money from the Digiro Labs pitch competition to start an apprentice program.

Croft, a Rockland-based maker of carbon-negative prefab buildings, beat 10 fellow contestants to take home the $25,000 prize in a pitch competition by Waterville-based accelerator Dirigo Labs.

The contest, held last week at the Maine Film Center in downtown Waterville, was the culmination of a 12-week program for 11 startups in the cohort.

Skowhegan Savings Bank sponsored the prize, which Croft will put to use by launching an apprentice program.  

Croft, which employs three people full time and 10 part time, sells its panels and pre-designed buildings to residential and commercial customers, builders and developers.

Evan Ryan, co-founder and principal at Croft, told Mainebiz the company plans to launch its apprentice program in January 2024.

"We're aiming for four- to eight-person cohorts on a 12-month duration cycle," he said. "The program will offer one-to-one mentoring, rotational training on all aspects of shop and site work, trade specialization and post-program job placement."

Brunswick-based rocket startup bluShift Aerospace won the inaugural pitch contest in 2022.

Besides the cash prize from this year's contest, Croft was awarded a two-year dedicated desk membership to Bricks Coworking & Innovation Space in Waterville, while the other cohort members all received a two-year floating-desk membership to Bricks.

"Croft's dedication to manufacturing eco-friendly building envelopes and creating apprenticeships aligns perfectly with our mission of helping Maine-based startups launch successfully and become next-generation job creators," said Susan Ruhlin, managing director of Dirigo Labs. "We are thrilled to see them win the $25,000 prize."

The audience choice award went to SledTRX, a Waterville-based snowmobile trail mapping application created by 2022 Thomas College graduate Jake Warn while he was still in school.

Jake Warn standing outside a building with reflection
File photo / Jim Neuger
Jake Warn of SledTRX




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