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
KB Thern, LLC – Kelly Burden Variable Gravity Products - Michael Marks
ClearWater Data - Zachary Dalrymple Neuright- Magdalena Blaszkiewicz
KinoTek - Justin Hafner Zephyrus Simulation - Patrick Breeding
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
Global Packing & Shipping - Sarah Mclean Willow Moon Ventures - Jenn Brown
Waterville – Regional Sponsor: FocusMaine
DuneBar - Dunia Khudair The Maine Crisp Company – Karen & Stephen M. Getz
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.