GSB News - 04.11.14

Winner of $30,000 LaunchPad Award – Bixby & Co. of Rockland

After presenting their business idea to a live panel of judges as part of the Live LaunchPad event, Bixby & Co. of Rockland was chosen as the $30,000 winner. Kate McAleer, founder of Bixby & Co., will use the $30,000 to purchase capital equipment to prepare for a national launch. The award will help improve quality, manufacturing speed, and consistency of their product, and according to McAleer, “is exactly what we needed to boost our product to the next level.” Bixby & Co. offers organic chocolates blended with dried fruits, nuts, organic brown rice crisps and selected spices.

After narrowing the original entries down to 12, over 8,000 votes were cast on Gorham Savings Bank’s website and 5 finalists were chosen by a public vote to compete at the April 10th event. The event was emceed by Don Gooding, Executive Director for Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development.  The other 4 finalists certainly brought their “A-game” to this competition. It was a tough decision for Judges Paul Ferguson, President of the University of Maine, Craig Denekas, CEO of the Libra Foundation, and Michelle Neujahr, Entrepreneurial Center Director at Southern Maine Community College. Congratulations to Chimani of Yarmouth, Orono-based Double Blue Sports Analytics, Flowfold from Peaks Island and Portland’s Garbage to Garden for making it this far in the program, and we wish them the best as they continue forging ahead with their business ideas.

At the live competition, two additional awards were presented to LaunchPad participants.

$5,000 Maine Technology Institute & Blackstone Accelerates Growth Technology Award – presented to one of the 12 LaunchPad semifinalists, Invisible Intelligence  for demonstrating the best use of technological innovation as the basis for creating a new business in Maine. Invisible Intelligence developed a new technology called a General Audio Recording Device. It is similar to a commercial airplane’s “black box”, but is for use at small general aviation airports. Maine Technology Institute & Blackstone Accelerates Growth will connect Invisible Intelligence with various resources needed to bring their new product or service to market. Because technology-based businesses often encounter more challenges in the development cycle, more resources are needed to resolve technology and engineering design issues, develop prototypes, or conduct testing. This award will help address those needs.

$5,000 Emerging Idea Award – PJ Coeur, voicekite.com

Gorham Savings Bank introduced an additional award for one LaunchPad applicant outside of the finalist and semifinalist group. Our panel of judges felt that one idea stood out among the 130 submissions we received. We are pleased to recognize the efforts and entrepreneurial spirit of PJ Coeur with this $5,000 cash award. PJ Coeur developed a service called Voice Kite, an innovative technology designed to pair a voice with a photograph, preserving a memory in sight and sound. The $5,000 award will enable Pamela and her team to build the graphical user interface for the Voice Kite website and also allow her to get the Voice Kite name trademarked.

An opportunity for all 5 finalists!

We would also like to extend a special thanks to the Maine Venture Fund for providing additional opportunities to the 5 LaunchPad finalists in the 2014 competition. All five of this year’s LaunchPad finalists will be invited to submit materials to Maine Venture Fund for review and written feedback, and the winner of LaunchPad will have the opportunity to present their business plan to Maine Venture Fund’s Board of Directors. For more information, visit maineventurefund.com.

 

For more information about LaunchPad, please visit launchpad.gorhamsavingsbank.com

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GSB News - 03.31.14

ANNOUNCING THE FIVE LAUNCHPAD FINALISTS

One hundred and thirty Maine entrepreneurs submitted an application to the 2014 LaunchPad program. An independent panel of judges spent countless hours reviewing each submission, and ultimately selected twelve semifinalists to compete. Nearly 9,000 public votes were cast, and the results are in.

These five finalists will pitch their idea at the live LaunchPad Competition on April 10th, where a panel of judges will award $30,000 to the winner!

To everyone who voted for the LaunchPad candidates, thank you for supporting Maine entrepreneurs!

Click here to witness the five finalists compete at the live event on April 10th at 5:30 pm at the University of Southern Maine in Portland.

 

LaunchPad’s Mission - to help fund a business idea that may not otherwise take flight.

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GSB News - 03.11.14

LaunchPad Semifinalists Selected!

The semifinalists for the 2014 LaunchPad program have been selected. Congratulations to these twelve Maine entrepreneurs!  Visit our website March 18th – 27th to view their business ideas and vote!

  • Biovation, Boothbay
  • Bixby & Co., Rockland
  • Chimani, Yarmouth
  • Double Blue Sports Analytics, Orono
  • Eepybird Studios, Buckfield
  • Flowfold, Peaks Island
  • Garbage to Garden, Portland
  • Introspective Systems, Peaks Island
  • Invisible Intelligence, West Gardiner
  • Litl’ Squirts, Cumberland
  • The Holy Donut, Portland
  • Wag Rags, Readfield

In it’s second year, there were 130 LaunchPad entries from Maine entrepreneurs, which continues to showcase the great talent and ingenuity that exists throughout Maine.  Our independent panel of 7 judges–comprised of community business leaders–spent many hours considering each application.  They were very impressed with the number of creative and innovative ideas, making their choice a challenge.

From March 18th – March 27th, the semifinalists will be featured on our website, and the community will have the opportunity to vote for the top 5 finalists.

The 5 finalists will pitch their idea at the live LaunchPad Competition on April 10th at the University of Southern Maine in Portland, where a panel of judges will award $30,000 to the winner!

To everyone who submitted an application, we thank you for participating!  Maine needs fresh new ideas and with your contribution you could play a key role in our State’s future economic success.

Please visit gorhamsavingsbank.com/Launchpad to vote and to register for this exciting event.

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GSB News - 03.03.14

Bank Volunteers Help to Improve Household Financial Stability

Gorham Savings Bank was recognized for its five-year commitment to the community by United Way of Greater Portland and the Greater Portland CA$H Coalition (CA$H). Gorham Savings Bank employees have dedicated at least 2,000 volunteer hours to help improve household financial stability at CA$H free tax preparation events since the partnership began. The announcement was made during the busiest day of Gorham Savings Bank’s “Make the Most of Your Money” week.

More than 500 individuals and families have been assisted by bank volunteers at the free income tax preparation and asset building events. At least $500,000 in income tax refunds and tax preparation savings have been reinvested into the community and thousands more have been realized through asset building resources.

“Improving the financial well being of our customers and the communities we serve continues to be our long-term commitment and collective effort,” said Chris Emmons, president and CEO at Gorham Savings Bank. “This partnership with CA$H is one more way that the Bank and our employees can help those who need greater financial stability.”

CA$H Greater Portland event participants receive free federal and state income tax return preparation and filing by an IRS-certified volunteer tax preparer; information about free and low-cost money-saving resources; individual assistance obtaining free credit reports and conducting unclaimed property searches; and a voucher to help fund higher education for their families.

Gorham Savings Bank’s “Make the Most of Your Money” week is in partnership with the Greater Portland CA$H Coalition: AARP Tax-Aide, Casco Federal Credit Union, CEI, Community Financial Literacy, Goodwill Industries of Northern New England, Gorham Savings Bank, Internal Revenue Service (IRS), KeyBank, Pine Tree Legal Assistance, Portland Housing Authority, and Women, Work and Community. For more information, visit www.cashgp.org. To find a free tax preparation and asset building event in Maine, dial 2-1-1.

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GSB News - 02.27.14

MTI & BxG to present $5,000 technology award to one LaunchPad semifinalist.

Maine Technology Institute (MTI) and Blackstone Accelerates Growth (BxG) will present a Technology Award of $5,000 worth of services to one LaunchPad semifinalist that shows the best use of technological innovation as the basis for creating a new business in Maine. The MTI / BxG Technology Award will be based on the innovativeness of the technology, the scale of the business opportunity and quality of the business plan presented.

The recipient of the award will be determined by the same independent panel of seven judges that select the LaunchPad semifinalists. As the Technology Award is based on criteria different than LaunchPad, it may be awarded to an applicant that is distinct from the winner of the LaunchPad competition. The MTI/BxG Technology Award will be presented at the live LaunchPad competition on April 10th.

Technology Award details:

The award provides a maximum amount of $5,000 in services from MTI and various partners including the University of Maine, the Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development (MCED), the Maine Business Incubation System (MeBIS) and the following organizations:

  • Campus Ventures (USM, Gorham)
  • Advanced Manufacturing Center (UMaine, Orono)
  • The Maine Patent Program (MPP)
  • Manufacturing Applications Center (USM, Gorham)
  • Laboratory for Surface Science and Technology (UMaine, Orono)
  • Process Development Center (UMaine, Orono)
  • Advanced Structures and Composite Center (UMaine, Orono)
  • Food Science and Human Nutrition Laboratories (UMaine, Orono)
  • Center for Cooperative Aquaculture Research (Franklin, Maine)

In addition to the services described above, the winner of the MTI/BxG Technology Prize will receive a two-hour coaching session to review funding options with some or all of the following individuals:

  • Joe Migliaccio, Maine Technology Institute Business Innovation Program Director
  • Don Gooding, Maine Angels Vice Chairman and MCED Executive Director
  • An investment professional from Maine Venture Fund (formerly Small Enterprise Growth Fund)
  • A representative from Blackstone Accelerates Growth

We are excited to have MTI and BxG offer these additional funds to Gorham Savings Bank’s LaunchPad program. Because technology-based businesses often encounter more challenges in the development cycle, more resources are needed to resolve technology/engineering design issues, develop prototypes, or conduct testing. This award will help address these needs.

Click for more information about Gorham Savings Bank’s LaunchPad program.

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GSB News - 02.17.14

Announcing the Promotion of Eric Andrews, Cheryl Brandt, Julie Case and Jeremy Clough.

Eric Andrews, chief banking officer. Andrews will be responsible for several lines of business, including residential and consumer lending, retail banking, small business banking, credit and collection functions, and cash management. Prior to joining Gorham Savings Bank as chief risk officer in 2012, Andrews was senior vice president and loan officer at Kennebunk Savings Bank. He has 26 years of banking experience, and earned a MBA at University of Southern Maine and a B.S. in business administration from University of Maine Orono.

 

 

 

 

Cheryl Brandt, executive vice president, retail banking. Brandt, previously senior vice president, director of sales, has been in banking for 25 years. She came to Gorham Savings Bank in 1999 and has been in senior management for the last 10 years. Brandt is a graduate of the National School of Banking at Fairfield University, and earned a B.S. in finance from University of Baltimore. She serves on the board of directors at Community Counseling Center.

 

 

 

 

Julie Case, vice president, senior risk and compliance officer. Case joined Gorham Savings Bank in 2011 and has been in banking for 25 years, most recently with Machias Savings Bank. Case is a certified regulatory compliance manager and earned a B.A. in political science at University of Maine.

 

 

 

 

 

Jeremy Clough, vice president, information security officer. Clough was with TD Bank before joining Gorham Savings Bank in 2006 as a database programmer. He holds multiple technology-related certificates, including certified information security manager. Clough earned a B.A. in economics and international relations from Boston University.

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GSB News - 02.12.14

An Interview with Pika Energy, Winner of Gorham Savings Bank’s LaunchPad 2013

I caught up with Pika Energy’s Director of Business Development, Andrew Hickok, for an update since receiving $30,000 from the 2013 LaunchPad competition. I also asked what advice they would give to this year’s LaunchPad applicants. Note, the entry period for LaunchPad 2014 ends February 14th at 11:59pm, E.S.T. For complete details, rules, and entry form, visit www.gorhamsavingsbank.com/launchpad.

You used the $30,000 LaunchPad award to move into a new building. How is that going? Any new/big developments you can share with us? Our recent focus has been building up our production capacity and continuing product testing.  We’re now a team of 10 and counting, so we’ll soon be running out of space in our new facility.  Personally, I’m logging miles to grow a national network of dealer/installers of Pika products.

You have sought out (and received) multiple funding sources for your product/company. What advice would you give others about applying to receive funding from LaunchPad and other similar programs? Pika has been successful in fundraising by pursuing many different sources. There can be a snowball effect where one funding award, such as winning LaunchPad, can help leverage funding from other sources.   

To win Launchpad in 2014, an entrepreneur will need to successfully do 3 things:  1) in your application, you must present a compelling case that your company has developed a differentiated and scalable product or service; 2) as a semifinalist, you must convince your customers, friends, relatives, and strangers to vote for you online; and 3) as a finalist, you must deliver a compelling presentation that brings to life your product or service.

Has winning the LaunchPad competition provided any leverage for obtaining additional funding? Winning LaunchPad didn’t directly lead to funding but it gave Pika a shot in the arm in a few ways.  It was a major psychological boost to our team and investors.  The LaunchPad funding allowed us to move into a commercial facility, which enabled Pika to make a better case to future investors that we were on the right path.

What would you say to entrepreneurs on the fence about entering their idea into a public competition, or hesitant to share a business idea they have not yet taken steps to patent/protect? I don’t believe there’s much downside with entering LaunchPad, and there’s a lot of upside.  The format of the competition doesn’t require proprietary information to be shared.  For entrepreneurs who might be on the fence, a competition like LaunchPad can provide valuable feedback that the entrepreneur can use to sharpen their business plan to present to future audiences.  Pika participated in several pitch competitions in Boston before the LaunchPad competition, and our presentation definitely improved with practice.

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GSB News - 02.01.14

Welcome Newest Board Member Paula Silsby

Gorham Savings Bank is pleased to announce the appointment of Paula Silsby to the board of directors.

Paula D. Silsby (Portland) has joined the Gorham Savings Bank board of directors. Now retired, Silsby is active in the community, adjunct professor at University of Maine School of Law, and a corporator at Gorham Savings Bank. She spent her career handling civil and criminal cases in the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Maine; serving as United States Attorney from 2001-2010, chief of the criminal division and senior litigation counsel. In addition to her work at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Silsby co-founded Pine Grove Child Development Center in Falmouth. She is a graduate of University of Maine School of Law and Mount Holyoke College.

“We are very fortunate to have Paula join our board. Her strong passion for community stewardship is a perfect match with Gorham Savings Bank’s mission,” said Chris Emmons, president and CEO.

About Gorham Savings Bank

Gorham Savings Bank is a progressive, growing community bank based in Gorham, Maine with offices in Cumberland and York counties. The bank’s reputation for solid management and excellent customer service has made Gorham Savings Bank a premier banking organization for more than 140 years. Our tagline, a “Breath of Fresh Banking”, is a brand that you can see and feel whether you visit in person or online at www.gorhamsavingsbank.com. Gorham Savings Bank is a member of the FDIC.

 

 

 
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GSB News - 12.16.13

And the Anything is Possible winner is…

Chris Emmons presents $1,000 check to Lydia and her teacher, Mrs. Weaver. Lydia’s parents are on the left.

Last week, on a cold December morning, Gorham Savings Bank President & CEO Chris Emmons surprised Lydia Pinard of Gray-New Gloucester Middle School with the news that she won $1,000 for her class in the Anything Is Possible poster contest.  Lydia was being recognized at a “Student of the Month” assembly, so it was the perfect opportunity to present the $1,000 award to Lydia amongst her peers.  Lydia’s parents were also in attendance to surprise her (and to stand in the back of the room as extremely proud parents).

“I was totally surprised today and was so happy that I won the Anything is Possible contest,” said Lydia.  “I already have some ideas on how my class can use the money – including ideas on some fun and educational field trips.”

Lydia’s poster design

Lydia has always been someone who dreams big and wants to give back.  At the young age of 3, she decided that instead of birthday presents, she would like friends and family to donate to her local library.  This has continued ever since and now even some of her friends participate.

“In the contest’s third year, we continue to be inspired by the dreams and ambitions of these young fifth graders,” said Chris Emmons, President and CEO of Gorham Savings Bank.  “This program gives us an opportunity to see what students think is possible with hard work and dedication.  We enjoyed surprising Lydia and her classmates today and are thrilled to be able help provide additional resources for Lydia’s classroom to expand their educational programs.”

The Anything Is Possible poster contest invited fifth graders from local schools to participate by creating a poster showing what is possible with hard work, dedication and imagination.  Nearly 350 entries from 26 local schools were submitted, and a panel of judges chose one poster from each participating class to move on to public voting on the Bank’s website.  Over 8,000 votes were cast by friends, family and community members, with Lydia’s poster receiving over 1,100 votes.

In addition to winning $1,000 for her class, Lydia’s poster is featured on drawstring bags, available at our branches while supplies last.

For more information about the contest, visit www.GorhamSavingsBank.com/AIP.

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GSB News - 11.29.13

LaunchPad Taking Flight Again Soon – An Update from Last Year’s Winner, Pika Energy

Pika Team in shop with blades, August 2013

As both a spectator and (frequently) self-proclaimed intellectual I can attest that last year’s Launchpad competition was an engaging presentation of innovation and salesmanship. Besides the inescapable backdrop of competition, LaunchPad offered us an inspiring glimpse of progressive Maine business, human interest stories, and infinite more reasons I belong in audiences and not on stage.

More than 200 applications were whittled down by judging panels and popular vote; in the end Pika Energy of Gorham, Maine and their home wind turbines were selected as the first-ever winner of LaunchPad and the $30,000 award.  True to their original answer on the LaunchPad application that asked what their intentions were with the potential prize money, the clean energy gurus used it to help them move to a bigger space for production.

“LaunchPad came at a turning point for development,” explains Director of Business Development Andrew Hickok, “we were based out of a basement. It gave us the resources to make a move we’d been talking about and galvanized the team.” With the money, Pika Energy was finally able to attain a space that could house the heavy machinery needed to put their idea into production for consumers. This year, the team is in early production of 30 turbines; at this time in 2014 they hope to triple that number.

As a competitor and presenter, Pika Energy set the bar very high for the 2014 LaunchPad hopefuls. “We are passionate about what we do. We were uniquely well-positioned to bring the product to the market,” Hickok explains.

As for the nerve-wracking, lightning-fast-five-minute-presentation in front of hundreds? “Ben [Polito, President and Co-Founder] had been in front of audiences; he had honed his presentation…you have to show and tell why your product is viable.” This is exactly LaunchPad’s point and why Pika Energy was so deserving of the win. Their presentation was excellent and their product is undeniably something Maine should feel fortunate to have.

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