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November 4, 2020

Small businesses from Hancock, Washington counties vie for pitch-off prize

Five small businesses from Hancock and Washington counties on Friday will pitch their plans for the chance to win up to $8,000 in cash and in-kind services.

The inaugural Downeast Business Boot Camp, organized by Coastal Enterprises Inc., the CEI Women’s Business Center and the Maine Small Business Development Center, culminates in the live pitch-off from 4:30-6 p.m. Winners will be selected by a panel of judges and a vote of show-down’s virtual audience members.

Selected and coached during a two-week boot camp in October, the competitors are:

  • Dulse & Rugosa, of Gouldsboro
  • Sarah Brandon, of Steuben
  • Maine Maker 3D, of Hancock
  • Poppy & Polka Dot Boutique, of Ellsworth
  • Fogtown Brewing Co., of Ellsworth. 

“We are excited to have the community join us in celebrating and supporting these small businesses,” said Shannon Byers, director of the Maine Small Business Development Center at CEI, in a news release. “Owning and operating a small business is challenging and this is an opportunity for the community to help pick a deserving business to receive the audience choice award.”  

Prior to the finale, the “mini-MBA” boot camp included workshops on topics such as “Understanding Your Customer” and “Telling Your Story,” designed to help small businesses in the two counties develop skills necessary for growth, according to CEI.

Overall, the new program aims to encourage, engage and create community for Downeast entrepreneurs. Also collaborating on the initiative are Heart of Ellsworth, the Ellsworth Area Chamber of Commerce and Mount Desert 365. The event was made possible through a grant from the Maine Community Foundation and sponsorship from Machias Savings Bank.

In 2021, the Downeast Boot Camp will take place in Machias and will again be open to enterprises from Washington and Hancock counties.

There's no charge to attend the pitch-off virtually. For more information, click here.

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