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November 6, 2023

Top Gun startup competition expands to Aroostook and Washington counties

3 people with oversize check standing in front of sign PHOTO / DAVE DOSTIE This year’s winners of the $25,000 Top Gun prize were, from left, ReachMyTeach team Helen Cohen, Aidan Blum Levine and Jeff Borland.

Maine's Top Gun business accelerator program will expand to Washington County for the first time in 2024 and will also be in Aroostook County for the first time in more than a decade.

Top Gun aims to fast-track the progress of promising early-stage, high-growth startups through a combination of in-person and virtual learning, mentoring and networking.

“Thanks to a generous investment through the SBA, Northern Maine Development Commission is proud to partner with Southern Aroostook Development Corp. and Sunrise County Economic Development Council to help connect rural entrepreneurs in Houlton and Machias to statewide business coaching and a chance at a $25,000 grand prize through the Maine Center for Entrepreneurs Top Gun program,” said Robert Clark, Northern Maine Development Commission's executive director. 

He added, “This program is a welcomed visitor to the region as, historically, Top Gun has been a once-in-a-decade opportunity for businesses in the region to gain skills and coaching to help their businesses scale up.”

The Northern Maine Development Commission has worked with the Maine Center for Entrepreneurship and Sunrise County Economic Council to bring the program to Aroostook and Washington counties. 

More about Top Gun

Top Gun begins with a 15-week intensive program that provides mentorship and other assistance to prepare businesses for regional pitch competitions. The winners of each competition move on to the statewide competition where businesses hope to bring home the grand prize a $25,000 cash prize, sponsored by the Maine Technology Institute.

The program has helped more than 350 startups since 2009. This year, the program’s locations were Portland, Lewiston-Auburn and Waterville.

An informational session has been scheduled for Aroostook County on Nov. 17 at Ignite Presque Isle. For more information, click here.

An informational session has been scheduled for Washington County on Nov. 16 at the MaineStreet Business Building in Machias. For more information, click here:

Applications are due Nov. 30.

The cost to participate is $600. Scholarships are available through Northern Maine Development Commission by contacting Jacob Pelkey at (207) 498-5065 or

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