News & Articles

MCED's goal is to make a difference in the success of Maine scalable entrepreneurs, enabling them to accelerate their growth. Over the years, MCED's clients have emerged as leaders in their industries from world class tidal energy technology to web design to software applications.
News & Articles
Introducing the Top Gun Maine 2015 Class

(Portland, ME) The Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development (MCED) and University of Maine’s Target Technology Incubator are pleased to announce members of the Top Gun Maine 2015 Class. With the addition of a third location in Rockland, we are excited to introduce a statewide class of 33 of Maine’s most promising entrepreneurs representing the aquaculture, IT, and manufacturing sectors. The competitive selection process included both a written application and panel interview with Top Gun Advisory Board Members.

Winning entrepreneurs from three regional pitch-off events, to be held in May and will be offered a chance to compete for $10,000 in cash and an in-kind prize package* during the Top Gun Showcase in June.

The 2015 entrepreneurs are:

Abi Barnes - A Barnes LLC

Katherine Quinn - Ass over Teakettle

Andrew Katon & Vincent Lewis - L&K Manufacturing

Kymberly Dakin - Voice Into Learning, LLC

Brendan Riordan - Rockport Imaging LLC

John LeMole - Gemini Marine Products

Bruce & Kathy Chamberlain - Stone Fox Farm Creamery

Lisa Liberatore - Lisa's Legit Burritos

Chris Tweedie – Myfreighthub.com

Chuck Donnelly & Kat Taylor - RockStep Solutions

Cyndi Prince - LooHoo, LLC

Dominic Tracey - RUGBY.NET LLC

Don Parent - Parent Technology Group, LLC

Elizabeth Chabe - High Touch Courses

Emma Wilson - Zeomatrix

Greg Thayer - Bevy

James Gallagher - Whoopie Pie Cafe

John Rooks - RAPPORT IO

John Turner - Traps Eyewear

Kai Smith - Buoy Local

 

Matt James - CourseStorm

Nicole Klam - Maine Shellware

Paul DesJardins - Green Pod LLC

Paul Gurney - Expression Computing LLC

Peter Fischer - Maine Fresh Sea Farms LLC

Sara Rademaker - American Unagi

Tobin Slaven & Ross Lasley- TBD

Togue Brawn – Maine Dayboat Scallops, Inc.

Reuben Brown - Love Your Artist

Robin Tara - The Maine Shoe Project

Rosie Curtis - Need Shelter

Spencer Wood - S.W.Wood

Will Mitchell - NBT Solutions

Top Gun participants will attend bi-weekly classes at USM, the Target Technology Center, or University of Rockland and will work closely with a mentor or mentors who will help them apply what they have learned to accelerate their growth. Special thanks for the generous support of the Maine SBDC and UROCK as well as many local and corporate sponsors.

The Top Gun program is made possible by the Blackstone Accelerates Growth initiative, the Maine Technology Institute, as well as many local business sponsors, program advisors and mentors.

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About MCED and Top Gun Maine

Top Gun is an annual five-­‐month program for competitively selected entrepreneurs that combines mentoring with high-impact bi-weekly gatherings held in Portland, Bangor and Rockland

MCED is a business incubator in Portland, Maine that provides high-quality information, mentorship, world-class training, and expertise to encourage sustainable, Maine-based entrepreneurship in a global economy. MCED increases the success rate of scalable, innovative companies by leveraging the collective resources of Maine’s three technology centers and eliminating geographic barriers
statewide. For more information about the Top Gun Maine program or the Maine Center for Entrepreneurial
Development, please visit http://www.mced.biz


About Blackstone Accelerates Growth

Launched by the Blackstone Charitable Foundation, Blackstone Accelerate Growth builds an intentional community and culture of innovation and entrepreneurship throughout Maine.  The collaborative partnership catalyzes growth of innovative businesses by connecting companies and entrepreneurs with the resources they need. For more information, visit www.blackstonegrowth.com.

 

About the University of Maine’s Target Technology Incubator

The University of Maine’s Target Technology Incubator helps Maine-based startups and innovative companies grow their businesses.  The incubator offers discounted lease rates and business coaching, creates opportunities for new and seasoned entrepreneurs to connect, and introduces entrepreneurs to statewide resources such as grants, loan opportunities, mentors, programs, and investors. For more information, visit http://www.targetincubator.umaine.edu/

* As a condition of winning, the cash and in-kind prize must be used solely for the business described in the pitch. The cash and in-kind prizes awarded to the winning company do not represent an investment of any kind by the Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development, the University of Maine, the Maine Technology Institute, the Blackstone Charitable Foundation or GWI.

MCED welcomes new Board members

(Portland, ME) The Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development (MCED) welcomes 6 new members to its Board of Directors.

Says MCED Board chair, Catherine Reneault: "We're excited to add new Board members with substantial experience scaling businesses in Maine, as this is the next challenge that MCED wants to tackle

The new directors are Jim DaSilva, Vice President Business Development at GW & Wade, LLC,
Charlie Emmons, Senior Commercial Loan Officer at Finance Authority of Maine,
Sam Fratoni, Board Chair at Envision Maine and member of the Maine Angels, Fletcher Kittredge, CEO at GWI, Becky McKinnell, President, iBec Creative, and Chris Sauer, President & Chief Executive Officer of Ocean Renewable Power Company

About MCED

MCED is a business incubator in Portland, Maine that provides high-­‐quality information, mentorship, world-­‐class training, and expertise to encourage sustainable, Maine-­‐based entrepreneurship in a global economy. MCED increases the success rate of scalable, innovative companies by leveraging the collective resources of Maine’s three technology centers and eliminating geographic barriers statewide.

For more information about Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development, please visit the MCEDWebsite

MCED announces the Top Gun 2015 Portland Advisory Board
(Portland, ME) The Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development (MCED) is pleased to announce the Top Gun 2015 Portland Advisory Board. The group of Portland area professionals will be meeting with, and evaluating the readiness of, each applicant, for the 2015 Portland class beginning in January.

Our Advisory Board members are:

Gabe Weiss - Verrill Dana

Amy Steenstra - Emerson Fry

Kyle Glover - Pierce Atwood

Sandra Stone - Maine Angels

Tom Hall - Hall Marketing

Sarah Hines - Shines and Jecker

Trevor Jones - GWI

Sam Fratoni – Envision Maine

Geoff Lamdin – Introspective Systems

The Advisory Board has begun to review applications and will begin meeting with the applicants in the first week of December.

Top Gun has graduated 83 entrepreneurs have from the program.  In 2015, with the addition of the Rockland location, we anticipate a statewide class of an additional 25. It is directly because of the generous support of experience and time from our volunteers that makes Top Gun Maine so successful.

About MCED and Top Gun Maine

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Top Gun is an annual five-­‐month program for competitively selected entrepreneurs that combines mentoring with high-­‐impact bi-­‐weekly gatherings held simultaneously in Portland, Bangor and Rockland

MCED is a business incubator in Portland, Maine that provides high-­‐quality information, mentorship, world-­‐class training, and expertise to encourage sustainable, Maine-­‐based entrepreneurship in a global economy. MCED increases the success rate of scalable, innovative companies by leveraging the collective resources of Maine’s three technology centers and eliminating geographic barriers statewide.

For more information about the Top Gun Maine program or the Maine Center for Entrepreneurial

Development, please visit the MCEDWebsite

$10,000 Top Gun Maine Prize Announced
$10,000.00 MORE reasons to Love Top Gun
Esteemed Panelists to Participate in the 2014 Showcase Pitch Event

Esteemed Panelists to Participate in the 2014 Showcase Pitch Event

(Portland, ME) Blackstone Accelerated Growth (BxG) Hub partners, The Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development (MCED) and the University of Maine’s Target Technology Incubator are pleased to announce the panelists to participate in the 2014 Top Gun Showcase pitch event.

The June 4th event marks the completion of the fifth Top Gun Class and will feature pitches from 12 of the 20 companies who participated in the 2014 Top Gun program. The panelists will listen to pitches and provide both written and verbal feedback with an online tool.

The panelists provide invaluable feedback to the Top Gun companies by helping them refine their pitch and identify opportunities to highlight the most important aspects of a company.

 

The following panelists will be evaluating the entrepreneurs’ pitches:

Dave Anderson - Managing Director, Supply Chain Ventures

Gena Canning - Managing Partner, Pine Street Trading
Alicia DePatsy - Owner/Creative Strategist, Dragonfly Id Marketing

Taja Dockendorf - Owner and Brand Strategist, Pulp and Wire

Ian Kopp - President/COO, Kenway Corporation

Luke Livingston - Founder, Baxter Brewing

Rumena Manolova - Vice President, Blackstone Advisory Partners L.P.

Robert Martin - President, Maine Technology Institute

Chris Pasko - Senior Managing Director/Global Head of Technology Advisory, Blackstone Advisory Partners, L.P.

Jeffery W. Spaulding - Shareholder, Eaton Peabody

Chris Speh - Board Chair, Common Good Ventures

Bill Williamson – Maine State President, Bank of America Corporation

The occasion, for the Top Gun Maine Class of 2014, marks the completion of a comprehensive 16-week curriculum that emphasized targeted mentoring, Innovation Engineering and topic-specific learning sessions.  

This is the third year that MCED, in collaboration with the University of Maine’s Target Technology Center, expanded the program statewide to reach even more Maine-based companies. The 20 participating companies are based throughout the state of Maine.

 

The Top Gun program is made possible by the Blackstone Accelerates Growth initiative, the Maine Maine Technology Institute, as well as many local business sponsors, program advisors and mentors.

 

For more information about the Top Gun program or the Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development, please visit the MCED Website

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About MCED and Top Gun Maine

Top Gun is an annual five-month program for competitively selected entrepreneurs that combines mentoring with high-impact bi-weekly gatherings held simultaneously in Portland and Bangor.

MCED is a business incubator in Portland, Maine that provides high-quality information, mentorship, world-class training, and expertise to encourage sustainable, Maine-based entrepreneurship in a global economy. MCED increases the success rate of scalable, innovative companies by leveraging the collective resources of Maine’s three technology centers and eliminating geographic barriers statewide.

About Blackstone Accelerates Growth

Launched by the Blackstone Charitable Foundation, Blackstone Accelerate Growth builds an intentional community and culture of innovation and entrepreneurship throughout Maine.  The collaborative partnership catalyzes growth of innovative businesses by connecting companies and entrepreneurs with the resources they need. For more information, visit www.blackstonegrowth.com.

 

2014 Top Gun Class Announced

(Portland, ME) The Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development (MCED) and the University of Maine’s Target Technology Center are pleased to announce the 2014 Top Gun Maine class. The highly competitive program began five years ago and for the past two years expanded statewide to include Bangor area entrepreneurs. Most of the entrepreneurs in this year’s class participated in Top Gun Prep, a nine-week online course offered by MCED in both the summer and fall. 

For the first time, this year’s class will be divided into two tracks, one for high-growth potential companies and one for scalable, innovation-based companies.

“The group of participating companies is a great representation of Maine’s diverse entrepreneurial ecosystem,” stated Don Gooding, Executive Director for MCED. “High-growth potential businesses create a lot of jobs in this state and we wanted to support that. With resources like the Blackstone Accelerates Growth initiative, the Maine Technology Institute, the University of Maine system, and an active angel investment group, odds for success have never been higher,” he said. 

 Participating companies in this year’s class have developed technologies that range from beehive monitoring, to medical software development, to efficient genotyping and an unsinkable boat.  There is also an impressive group of specialized food product entrepreneurs and a high-end distiller.   

The following is a list of the Top Gun participants by class location:

 

Bangor Class:

Kat Taylor- Geno Typing Centers of America

Eliza and Wade Butler- Specialty Sweets

Chris Roberts- The Juice Cellar

Sandra Beaulieu- Sandra B. Dressage & Designs

 

Heidi Neal- The Loyal Biscuit Co.

Lisa Giulianelli-Oats Any Time

Jessica Jewell- Northern Maine Distilling Co.


Portland Class: 

Joel Alex- Blue Ox Malthouse

Alden Blease- Redd Energy 

Kate McAleer- Bixby Bars 

Bill Thomas- Q5 Labs 

Will Mitchell & Tom Landry- hazel

Abigail Carroll- Nonesuch Oysters

Heather Chandler- The Sunrise Guide

 

Alexander Jones- Apiara 

Jill McCormick- Simply Good Medical Software

Deb Paley- Portland Pudgy

Jay Lombard- Finest Kind Tea  

Tyler Frank- Garbage to Garden

Nicholas Ponticoloni- Owneraide

Emily Bernhard- BizzieMe

 

 

The Top Gun Maine program is made possible by the Blackstone Accelerates Growth initiative, the Maine Technology Institute, as well as many local business sponsors, program advisors and mentors.

 

 

 

Applications Now Open For Top Gun Maine 2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Applications Now Open For Top Gun Maine 2014 (Portland, ME) The Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development (MCED), Target Technology Incubator and the Foster Center for Student Innovation announced today that applications are now open for Top Gun Maine, the premiere entrepreneurship acceleration program that has helped more than 60 entrepreneurs since 2009.

Once again two classes will be offered simultaneously in Portland and Bangor, organized by the Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development and the University of Maine, and supported by Blackstone Accelerates Growth.

Top Gun accelerates the progress of Maine’s most promising early stage, scalable, innovation-based businesses through a combination of mentoring, curriculum and community. The highly-selective Top Gun Maine program will accept about 20 companies within two tracks: In Bangor, companies will be focused on innovation, steady growth and bootstrapping- while in Portland, companies selected will be focused on rapid acceleration, scalability and venture capital.

Online applications are due by close of business Monday, November 18. The program begins January 4, 2013 with classes and events running through May 21, 2014.

Past participants have included Jason Cianchette, whose company Liquid Wireless was successfully acquired in January 2012; Susan MacKay, whose second startup Cerahelix was funded in 2012; and Ben Polito, whose company Pika Energy successfully pitched the Maine Angels within two weeks of his Top Gun Showcase presentation.

Due to the generous support of Blackstone Accelerates Growth, corporate sponsors, the University of Maine, SBDC and DECD, Top Gun Maine is provided for a fee of only $500 per entrepreneurial team, a 90% discount from actual costs. The online application can be found at: http://www.topgunmaine.biz For more information, contact Susan Ruhlin at MCED -  sruhlin@mced.biz, 774-8111 or Jesse Moriarity at the University of Maine -  jesse.moriarity@maine.edu, 581-1427.

MCED Announces Seven Top Gun Prep Scholarship Recipients

The Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development (MCED) is pleased to announce the first half of their crowdfunding campaign goal on Indiegogo has been reached and surpassed. The original ask was to raise enough money to fund four entrepreneurs to complete MCED’s online Top Gun Prep training. MCED is happy to report that with great community support, enough money was raised to fund seven entrepreneurs.

Congratulations to the following scholarship recipients (with a description of their businesses):

  • Joel Alex / Blue Ox Malthouse: Bringing high quality craft malt processing to Maine from local and regionally sourced grains
  • Che Sweetland / Meadowfly Farm: Compassionate goat farm offering goat milk soaps and lotions
  • Bill Clarke: A repeatable, sustainable business model for the creation and distribution of "hyper local" news
  • Caroline Childress: An online farmers' market
  • Karina Napier / Sea Change: Sea Change produces an unrefined, non-bleached, locally harvested sea salt.
  • Neil Spillane / Urban Farm Fermentory: The first company to blend food and beverages into a hub concept and lower the veil between producer and consumer
  • Katie Grose / Richard Scudder Productions, LLC: Leveraging star power and social entrepreneurism to make a difference in the world by enabling global citizens to support disaster relief with a feel-good purchase

For more about MCED’s Indiegogo campaign please visit the MCED crowdfunding page: http://bit.ly/17wx333.

Top Gun Prep is an eight-week online class with open enrollment for up to 100 participants. The course is delivered weekly through interactive online webinars via Adobe Connect’s e-learning platform, and recorded for later viewing by busy entrepreneurs unable to make all the live sessions.

The Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development (MCED) is a private non-profit founded in 1997 that helps Maine’s most promising entrepreneurs to grow through innovation. Historically a traditional incubator that offered entrepreneurs space located on an academic campus, MCED is now a leading edge virtual resource for the most promising startups – those aspiring to be in the top 5% of all companies in their region - regardless of their Maine location.

Maine's Rising Stars to Pitch at Showcase Event

For Immediate Release

(Portland, ME) Imagine seeing your world the way you want to see it by virtually augmenting reality with a simple touch of your smart phone. Picture a non-invasive tool for diagnosing traumatic brain or sleep disorders. What if it was possible to plan a wedding reception with great music chosen by your friends eliminating the need for a DJ? Want to learn about a modern manufacturing process for an ancient beverage? These are just a few of the innovative business ventures pitching their companies to a panel of distinguished experts representing the New England venture capital, angel and business communities at the Top Gun Showcase Event on Wednesday, May 22ndat the University of Southern Maine’s Hannaford Hall beginning at 5:00 PM.

The occasion, for the Top Gun Maine Class of 2013, marks the completion of a comprehensive 16-week curriculum that emphasized targeted mentoring, Innovation Engineering and topic-specific learning sessions. This is the second year that the Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development (MCED), in collaboration with the University of Maine’s Target Technology Center and the Foster Center for Student Innovation, expanded the program statewide to reach even more Maine-based companies. The 18 participating companies are based throughout the state from Isle au Haut to York.

The following Top Gun companies will be participating in the event:

Bangor Class: Double Blue Sports Analytics - Dan Kerluke Activas Diagnostics, LLC - Dr. Marie Hayes Black Dinah Chocolates – Steve Shaffer Flourometrics - Jim Killarney & John Ahern The Armaid Company - Terry Cross

Portland Class: Black Lobster Academy - James Mahoney Maine Mead Works - Ben Alexander Chimani - Kerry Gallivan MiFILTER.com - Khristopher Lalemand Cloud 9 - Gordon Monk Mobile Magic - Rocco Sbardella FlowFold - Charles Friedman My Medical Best Friend - Kathy Fries LifeKite - Jasa Porciello PJ Coeur - Pamela Saunders Tide Creative - J Sandifer Rohrer Technologies - John Rohrer

The Top Gun Maine program is made possible by the Blackstone Accelerates Growth initiative, the Maine Technology Institute, as well as many local business sponsors, program advisors and mentors.

“Maine is experiencing a resurgence in entrepreneurship,” stated Don Gooding, Executive Director of MCED. “Maine’s new breed of innovators are high-growth entrepreneurs who continually demonstrate excellence in their commitment to building world-class companies across the state.”

For more information about the Top Gun Maine program or the Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development, please visit the Top Gun Maine website.

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About MCED and Top Gun Maine

Top Gun Maine is a five-month program that accelerates the progress of Maine’s most promising early stage, scalable, innovation-based businesses through a combination of curriculum, mentoring and community. MCED is a business incubator in Portland, Maine that provides high-quality information, mentorship, world-class training, and expertise to encourage sustainable, Maine-based entrepreneurship in a global economy. MCED increases the success rate of scalable, innovative companies by leveraging the collective resources of Maine’s three technology centers and eliminating geographic barriers statewide.

Contact:

Susan Ruhlin

774-8111

sruhlin@mced.biz

Searching for a slice of the pie? Entrepreneurs can vie for $30,000

By Timothy Gillis

Special To The Portland Daily Sun

Whether it’s a bid to earn a slice of the entrepreneurial “pie” in Maine or a chance at winning $30,000, up-and-coming business people are tapping into events that seek to use creativity to encourage new business ideas.

“It has captured the imagination,” said Don Gooding, executive director of the Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development, about Gorham Savings Bank’s upcoming LaunchPad competition (https://www.gorhamsavingsbank.com/launchpad). It’s a contest which aims “to recognize a viable business idea that has potential to benefit the Maine economy,” according to Gorham Savings Bank.

The kicker: a $30,000 prize.

An independent panel of judges will review all business applications and select seven semifinalists to go head-to-head at the live LaunchPad competition on March 21. On that night, competitors will be given 5 minutes to pitch their idea to a panel of judges, with three finalists moving on, the bank’s event website explains. “A video of each finalist’s presentation will be featured on our website, where the community will vote for their favorite candidate to win the $30,000 grand prize!”

Gooding will emcee this pitch event. The deadline to enter is Monday, Feb. 25.

Gooding said, “I have received calls from entrepreneurs up and down the coast and up north who are all very interested in how they can get a chance at the $30,000. I think Gorham Savings Bank has really hit a nerve here in Maine.”

Creativity helps reach out to the entrepreneurial community, Gooding confirmed.

On March 22-24, Startup Weekend Portland, Maine will invite designers, developers, marketing strategists and all types of entrepreneurs for product presentations and demonstrations. Held at PelotonLabs in Portland, the event is described as “a global grassroots movement of active and empowered entrepreneurs who are learning the basics of founding startups and launching successful ventures,” according to the website (http://portlandmaine.startupweekend.org).

“With MCED we are trying to help energize what we think of as the entrepreneurial ecosystem,” Gooding noted. Maine Entrepreneurship Week continues through Saturday, Feb. 23, and the Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development recently co-sponsored “Pitches, Pints, and Pie.” A light-hearted contest between 10 different fledgling companies, the event brought together these promising start-ups and possible investors. Casco Bay Tech Hub co-sponsored the contest, and held it in their new office suites on Danforth Street.

“No Powerpoints,” said Susan Ruhlin of the MCED. “It’s just entrepreneurs and their ideas. It’s a very light-hearted event, meant to say: ‘Hey, go ahead, take a chance.’”

One person pitching was in the venture capital round of funding, she added, so there was a broad range of proposals, from such an advanced idea to others that are still in early, formative stages, looking for support and guidance.

There were three categories of winners decided by a four-person panel: the judges’ winner, the audience winner (based on text votes) and the mystery judge winner.

Gooding was emcee for the evening. “Our focus is scalable, innovation-based companies that aspire to be big, and to bring something innovative to the marketplace,” Gooding said. “They could be big, but banks can’t (and shouldn’t) take the risk. That’s where we come in.”

MCED helps these fledgling companies move from their incubation stage to the acceleration stage, Gooding said. James Mahoney, of Black Lobster Digital Arts Academy, is in MCED’s Top Gun program.

“It’s a great group of people here,” said Mahoney, who moved from Seattle, Wash., and Los Angeles, Calif., before that. “It’s great to see that Maine has some similar support efforts going on.”

Joe Migliaccio, of the Maine Technology Institute in Brunswick, is an investor, and some of his portfolio companies were at Pitches, Pints, and Pies.

“It’s a low-key way to get practice pitching your idea, and maybe there’s an interested investor in the crowd,” he said.

Ned Swain, of Devenish Wines and Local Muscle Moving, was pitching for what he called a “crowd-source assistant.”

“I need a personal assistant, and I don’t want to hire someone full-time,” Swain said. “Portland is like a Shakespearean play when there are five actors for 15 parts so they all play several roles.”

Asked if his pitch was a comedy or tragedy, Swain said, “Romance.”

“There’s so much support for entrepreneurs in this state,” Ruhlin said. “Contrary to the Forbes article, which said Maine is not a good place to invest, I would say it’s quite the opposite. There are mentors giving of their time, and several examples of formal support: the Maine Technology Institute, and the UMaine system, in Orono, has the Target Technology Business Incubator, and at USM, there’s the Campus Ventures program, so if you’re manufacturing a product, you can contact (them),” Ruhlin said.“They have contacts, they can test products and do trials of them, even offer short-run production assistance. These are just some of the many resources in the state.”

One pitch was for a “coach,” or what Arthur Fink called a “hired nag,” someone to remind a person of their appointments. Another plug was by Sabine McElrath who helps write profiles for people looking to improve their relationship potential, “to keep you from that cold, naked 4 a.m. terror of regret.”

Chris Hallweaver drove all the way from Limestone to compete. His vegetable company, “Northern Girl, Bounty from the County,” offers a healthy alternative to French fries. He moved the audience with a plea to “go to your school and demand that they buy real Maine food from real Maine farms.” Hallweaver tied with the McDermott brothers, Ryan and Andy, for crowd favorite. The McDermotts make stand-up paddle boards and surf boards. They currently work out of a trailer but are looking for money to renovate the woodshop they recently inherited from their father.

Karl Rauch was the mystery judge, and he was moved by the brothers’ plea. “I’ve been an entrepreneur for 20 years, and I remember doing my first pitch. They had good enthusiasm. That’s what I looked for. If you can see and feel the passion.” For more information about this and other pitch events, visit www.mced.biz. Want to dive right in on business development?

Tuesday from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. businesses are invited to a SCORE Workshop: Writing a Business Plan at the SCORE offices, second floor, 100 Middle St., Portland. This event is open to all persons who need to write or improve their business plan, particularly to meet the requirements of commercial lenders. Visit http://portlandme.score.org.

Top Gun Introduces Maine’s Next Job Creators

(Portland, ME) The Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development (MCED) and the University of Maine’s Target Technology Center announced today the 2013 class for Top Gun Maine. The highly competitive program started four years ago and last year expanded statewide to include Bangor area entrepreneurs. Most of the entrepreneurs in this year’s class participated in Top Gun Prep, a nine-week online course offered by MCED in the fall.

This year’s class is among the most diverse in the four years the program has been in existence with technology ranging from water contamination monitoring, to ocean wave energy creation to mead making and medical devices that diagnose brain injury. Other Top Gun entrepreneurs have developed software to analyze goaltending statistics, filter blogs or plan weddings.

“Maine really is a great place to start a scalable company,” said Don Gooding, Executive Director for MCED. “With resources like the Blackstone Accelerates Growth initiative, the Maine Technology Institute, the University of Maine system, an active angel investment group and a world-class mentor pool, odds for success have never been higher.”

The following is a list of the Top Gun participants by region:

Bangor Class:

Double Blue Sports Analytics - Dan Kerluke

Activas Diagnostics, LLC - Dr. Marie Hayes

Zeomatrix, LLC - Josh Hayward

Flourometrics - Jim Killarney & John Ahern

The Armaid Company - Terry Cross

Portland Class:

Black Lobster Academy - James Mahoney

Maine Mead Works - Ben Alexander

Chimani - Kerry Gallivan

MiFILTER.com - Khristopher Lalemand

Cloud 9 - Gordon Monk

Mobile Magic - Rocco Sbardella

FlowFold - Charles Friedman

My Medical Best Friend - Kathy Fries

Lifekite - Jasa Porciello

PJ Coeur - Pamela Saunders

Tide Creative - J Sandifer

Rohrer Technologies - John Rohrer

The Top Gun Maine program is made possible by the Blackstone Accelerates Growth initiative, the Maine Technology Institute, as well as many local business sponsors, program advisors and mentors. For more information about the Top Gun Maine program, the Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development, or the class of 2013, please visit the Top Gun Maine website.

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About Top Gun Maine Top Gun Maine is a five-month program that accelerates the progress of Maine’s most promising early stage, scalable, innovation-based businesses through a combination of curriculum, mentoring and community.

Applications Now Open For Top Gun Maine 2013

(Portland, ME) The Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development (MCED), Target Technology Incubator and the Foster Center for Student Innovation announced today that applications are now open for Top Gun Maine, the premiere entrepreneurship acceleration program that has helped more than 40 entrepreneurs since 2009.

Top Gun Maine accelerates the progress of Maine’s most promising early stage, scalable, innovation-based businesses through a combination of mentoring, curriculum and community. The highly selective Top Gun Maine program will accept about 20 companies. Online applications are due by close of business Friday November 16. The program begins January 9, 2013 with a dozen classes and events running through May 22, 2013.

Once again two classes will be offered simultaneously in Portland and Orono, organized by the Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development and the University of Maine, and supported by Blackstone Accelerates Growth.

Past participants have included Jason Cianchette, whose company Liquid Wireless was successfully acquired in January 2012; Susan MacKay, whose second startup Cerahelix was funded in 2012; and Ben Polito, whose company Pika Energy successfully pitched the Maine Angels within two weeks of his Top Gun Showcase presentation this past May.

Due to the generous support of Blackstone Accelerates Growth, corporate sponsors, the University of Maine, SBDC and DECD, Top Gun Maine is provided for a fee of only $500 per entrepreneurial team, a 90% discount from actual costs. The online application can be found at: http://www.topgunmaine.biz/topgunapplication For more information, contact Susan Ruhlin at MCED (sruhlin@mced.biz, 774-8111) or Jesse Moriarity at the University of Maine (jesse.moriarity@maine.edu, 581-1427)

MCED Announces New Board Members

(Portland, Maine) The Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development announced the appointment of four new members to its board of directors.

GWI Signs Top Corporate Partner Deal With Leading Maine Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programs

Biddeford, Maine – Maine-based GWI, Inc. and the Maine Center For Entrepreneurial Development (MCED) today announced a partnership whereby GWI will become a top Maine corporate sponsor and Technology Innovation and Mission Partner for all of MCED's economic development efforts across the state. Over the next three years, GWI will provide both cash to fund programs and industry leading Internet and cloud computing resources for MCED and participating entrepreneurs. In return, MCED will connect GWI to the growing community of scalable innovation based companies across Maine.

The announcement is the latest sign that innovation and entrepreneurship is rebounding in Maine. MCED was part of the Blackstone Charitable Foundation recent announcement of a three-year, $3 million partnership of innovation and entrepreneurship programs. In addition, MCED recently announced a partnership with two other Maine technology incubators to develop the Maine Business Incubation System.

GWI was responsible for bringing the 1,100 mile high-speed fiber optic Internet network known as the Three Ring Binder to Maine in 2009. With this new network superhighway on schedule for launch statewide in 2012, GWI has created a new partnership with MCED to insure that new businesses in every part of Maine can take advantage of the technology infrastructure to grow and create jobs.

"With disciplined and rigorous attention to the process of Innovation Engineering, MCED is creating a world class business mentoring and job creation program," said GWI CEO Fletcher Kittredge. "GWI is committed to creating economic opportunity in every part of Maine, and we know that requires both access to the physical infrastructure of the Three Ring Binder, and human capital – entrepreneurs – who will now be able to learn how to build successful companies by using the network. We are pleased to become MCED's Technology Innovation and Mission Partner and help make that happen across Maine."

"GWI has a long track record of technology innovation, business growth and passion for creating economic opportunity in Maine" said Don Gooding, Executive Director of MCED. "They have the exact expertise we need to help MCED and the companies we are mentoring build best-in-class Internet and cloud computing functionality that will allow them to scale up great business ideas and create jobs. We are proud to welcome GWI as MCED's Technology Innovation and Mission Partner, and look forward to working together to build a 'killer app' for the Three Ring Binder network."

As MCED's Technology Innovation and Mission Partner, GWI will be a lead Maine corporate sponsor of MCED programs including:

  • The Top Gun Entrepreneurship Acceleration program that combines mentoring, curriculum and community to classes of competitively selected entrepreneurs.
  • The Maine Business Incubation System (MeBIS) provides focused, in-depth support to entrepreneurs by utilizing networks and expertise both inside Maine and beyond to create jobs and sustainable enterprises. MeBIS will serve 240 statewide entrepreneurs by late 2014. Many of these startups will now receive discounted internet and cloud computing services as a result of the new partnership announced today.
  • Co-sponsorship of MCED's monthly Lunch and Learn Program (with Norway Savings Bank).

About GWI

Founded in 1994 and headquartered in Biddeford, Maine, GWI is a leader in Northern New England's telecommunication industry offering innovative and cost effective telephone and Internet solutions designed for residential and business customers. The company has been named one of Inc. Magazine's fastest growing private companies in America four times – and in 2011, CEO Fletcher Kittredge was named Maine's Business Leader of The Year by the state's leading business publication, MaineBiz. With friendly 24/7 Maine-based customer support and best-in-breed technology to ensure fast, secure, and reliable access, GWI makes the Internet easy for business and residential customers. GWI is the local, independent company that knows Maine people. If you're looking for a local alternative, a company that listens to you and will respond quickly, connect with GWI. Call toll free 866-494-2020 or www.gwi.net to get connected now.

About MCED

The Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development (MCED) is a private non-profit that assists entrepreneurs building scalable innovation based Maine businesses. With roots as a traditional incubator that offered entrepreneurs space located on an academic campus, MCED is now a leading edge virtual resource for the most promising startups, regardless of their Maine location. Current key programs include:

  • 'Top Gun Maine' Entrepreneurship Acceleration Program – a five month program that combines mentoring with weekly entrepreneurship and innovation classroom training for 20 competitively selected entrepreneurs;
  • Campus Ventures – a program that provides early stage companies with paid student interns (provided in collaboration with the University of Southern Maine);
  • Incubation – a program that provides direct and virtual customized assistance to companies on a growth path that may lead to equity financing;
  • Lunch and Learn – a seminar series that provides two-hour lunchtime presentations to a broad entrepreneurial audience on topics that provide actionable information for growing businesses.

Visit www.mced.biz for more details about MCED programs.

For more information or to speak with GWI leadership, please contact Tom Janenda at  or 207/590-8815.

To speak with Don Gooding at MCED, please contact Don at 207/774-8110 or .
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Tech Centers Combine to Create Maine Business Incubation System (MeBIS)

MeBIS to provide business assistance to entrepreneurs across the state while building a technology infrastructure and leveraging new and existing resources

(Portland, Maine) The Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development (MCED), the University of Maine's Target Technology Center and the Maine Aquaculture Innovation Center (MAIC) announced today the formation of the Maine Business Incubation System (MeBIS). With funding from the Maine Technology Institute and the recently announced investment from the Blackstone Charitable foundation, MeBIS will provide appropriate, focused, in-depth support to entrepreneurs by utilizing networks and expertise both inside Maine and beyond to create jobs and sustainable enterprises.

"Maine does a good job of starting companies, but very, very few break through to over ten employees. We expect the number of scalable entrepreneurs served by this program to increase from the 40 currently served to 240 statewide by late 2014 generating 1,000 new jobs over time," says Don Gooding, Executive Director of MCED.

MeBIS builds upon existing infrastructure and investments, and leverages new resources, most notably the Three Ring Binder fiber optic network that will be completed in 2012. As an innovative application of Maine's new telecom superhighway, MeBIS will create a cloud technology network, to improve and augment the existing incubation and entrepreneurial support system. This expansion and augmentation will allow the system to provide focused, appropriate and in-depth assistance to scalable entrepreneurs across the state, erasing the geographic distances that have challenged these efforts in the past.

The MeBIS system will integrate a common intake and assessment of all entrepreneurs, and quickly assign them to the most appropriate source of assistance. Basic and Advanced levels of assistance services will be available including coaching, mentoring, lunch and learns, peer-to-peer networks, expert seminars, faculty resources, student interns and an on-line curriculum. The suite of services integrates with and complements those provided as part of Blackstone Accelerates Growth, the latter including Top Gun Maine and Innovation Engineering™.

"It's very significant that our three organizations will not only be networked technically, but collaborating operationally on a daily basis," says Renee Kelly, director of economic development initiatives and the Foster Center for Student Innovation. "This is a major first step towards a system that can help grow scalable companies in partnership with other organizations across Maine." The initial MTI funding is for an 18-month pilot; full deployment after that will potentially connect other universities, research organizations, real estate developments and economic development entities.

Implementation of the latest computing networking technology will help companies grow faster and will enable the statewide MeBIS partners to work effectively and seamlessly together to serve their clients., mentors, counselors, experts, and entrepreneurs will be able to meet virtually as well as in person, increasing both the number of entrepreneurs served, and increasing access to experts from away. In time, entrepreneurs will be able to use the network to sell, buy and connect with markets, experts, and opportunities outside of the state.

About MCED

The Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development (MCED) is a private non-profit founded in 1997 that assists entrepreneurs building scalable innovation based Maine businesses. Historically a traditional incubator that offered entrepreneurs space located on an academic campus, MCED is now a leading edge virtual resource for the most promising startups, regardless of their Maine location.

About MAIC

The Maine Aquatic Innovation Center (MAIC) manages the Maine Aquaculture Business Incubator Program, promotes applied aquaculture research, assists in the formulation of policies favorable to industry growth, serves as a clearinghouse for aquaculture information, and liaises with government organizations, aqua farms and the general public.

About The Target Technology Center

The Target Technology Incubator is operated by the University of Maine and is located within the Target Technology Center in Orono, Maine. The facility provides a superior environment for technology commercialization activities. In addition to the Incubator, the facility houses University of Maine researchers and private sector technology firms. The Incubator provides early-stage firms with the space, support services and resources necessary to become successful. The Bangor Target Area Development Corporation developed the facility in partnership with the University of Maine.

Media Contacts

Don Gooding, Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development, (207) 774-8110,

Renee Kelly, University of Maine/Innovation Engineering, (207) 581-1401,

Chris Davis, Maine Aquaculture Innovation Center, (207) 581-2263,
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