47 Maine Companies chosen to participate in Statewide Top Gun Class

January 3, 2019

Maine Center for Entrepreneurs Announces 2019 “Top Gun” Class

(Portland, ME) The Maine Center for Entrepreneurs (MCE) along with its partners, the University of Maine, the Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, MaineStream Finance, and the Harold Alfond Institute for Business Innovation at Thomas College, announced today the 47 businesses selected for the Top Gun 2019 Class. Beginning in 2009, Top Gun has helped over 200 Maine entrepreneurs launch and grow their companies.

Entrepreneurs selected for each region completed a rigorous application process that included submitting a pitch deck, pitching their business, and one-on-one interviews with program staff and volunteer business leaders. Before the program begins in early February, each business will be matched with a mentor. Top Gun consists of “hands-on” training and group learning exercises taught by subject matter experts in finance, business law, marketing, and other critical aspects of business development.

“As we celebrate Top Gun’s tenth anniversary, MCE is energized by the number and high caliber of applicants to the 2019 Top Gun program. We look forward to working with this exciting group of entrepreneurs” said Laurie Johnson, Top Gun Program Manager. “The fact that we had 57 applications for the 2019 program is a strong testament to the entrepreneurial spirit in Maine” said Tom Rainey, Executive Director.

Top Gun is supported by corporate and non-profit sponsors, the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development, the U.S. Small Business Administration, local businesses, partner economic development organizations, and dozens of volunteer advisors and mentors around the state. Additionally, the Maine Technology Institute has provided a $25,000 cash prize to be awarded at a final statewide Showcase pitch-off to be held in May 2019.

MCE is pleased to announce this year’s Top Gun participants:

Portland – Regional Sponsor: Preti Flaherty

Bartlett Yarns – Susan & Lindsey Rice                                  Sticky Sweet – Kelly Dow  

Beachstone Sustainable Products – Aron Buterbaugh      Tiny Homes of Maine – Corinne Watson

Hornet Water Sports - Vince Kott                                        Upbed - Aron Semle

KB Thern, LLC – Kelly Burden                                              Variable Gravity Products - Michael Marks

Little Red Sauna - Hannah Hamalainen                                 Victorieux Champagne - Thomas Brems

Bangor – Regional Sponsors: First National Bank, Rudman Winchell, and City of Bangor

Aerial Sports Marketing - Dennis Mullins & Brian Potter      MariFarm LLC - Isaiah Mansour

ClearWater Data - Zachary Dalrymple                                          Neuright- Magdalena Blaszkiewicz

Compliant Provider- Wendell Scott                                               OutInMaine LLC - David Burke
Healthy Hives - Nuri Emanetoglu                                                   Vigilance Software- Jeremy Boutot

KinoTek - Justin Hafner                                                         Zephyrus Simulation - Patrick Breeding

Lewiston/Auburn – Regional Sponsor: Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, City of Lewiston and Brann and Isaacson

Boba - Zachary Pratt                                                             My Waffle - Kevin Cunningham Jason Bucknam

Fashionuji - Sahro Hassan                                                  Oprezo - Misty Edgecomb and Brett Bisesti

i-Tell Alert - Heather Desjardins                                       Spa Voyage- Elizabeth Conley-Lepene 

Mayo Web Design and Marketing Services – Carrie Mayo   Virtual Walkaout – Michele Praught

Rockland – Regional Sponsor: MaineStream Finance

Affinity Guides – Joshua Moore                                           Gusco Consulting, Inc. - Gus Natale

Custom Skills Development - John DiFrancesca          Green with Envy Salon - Marlene Cohn                          

Heal Accounting - Jodie Heal                                               Victory Chimes INC. - Cara Lauzon

Global Packing & Shipping - Sarah Mclean                      Willow Moon Ventures - Jenn Brown


Waterville – Regional Sponsor: FocusMaine

Dandelion Spring Farm - Beth Schiller                                MugBuddyCookies, Inc. - Märgen Soliman

DuneBar - Dunia Khudair                                                        The Maine Crisp Company – Karen & Stephen M. Getz

Gert & Lil's, LLC - Alyson Mayo                                              The Maine Meal - Kelly & Mark LaCasse

Gryffon Ridge Spice Merchants - Christine Pistole          Stoic Edge - William Oakes

Maine-Tex LLC. - Stephanie Lay                                             SwarmAG - Douglas Cuffman & Alan Perry

Misty Brook Farm – Brendan & Katia Holmes

About Top Gun and MCE: 

Top Gun is an annual program for competitively selected entrepreneurs that combines mentoring with high-impact weekly learning sessions held in Portland, Bangor, Lewiston/Auburn, Rockland, and Waterville. Beginning with just a dozen entrepreneurs in Portland in 2009, Top Gun has helped 200+ entrepreneurs across the state accelerate their businesses.

MCE was established in 1997 to build and lead a community of growth-oriented businesses in Maine by providing the training, connections, coaching and mentors. Over its 20-year history, the organization has accelerated the growth of hundreds of businesses, and established a mentor network of over 125 members. In 2018 alone, MCE served 34 Top Gun startup companies, and ten later-stage food industry companies that are participating in our Cultivator accelerator designed to scale-up and grow established businesses.