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