Gorham Savings Bank is now accepting applications for its fifth annual LaunchPad business competition. In the competition, the premier Maine event of its type, promising early-stage small businesses will compete for a $50,000 grant prize from the Bank. The entry period opens on Wednesday, March 15 and closes on Saturday, April 15 at 5:00pm. Entrepreneurs, start-ups and established companies can enter via an online application at gorhamsavingsbank.com/launchpad, and no formal business proposals or supporting documents are required. Five finalists will be invited to compete at a live pitch event on Tuesday, June 6 at USM's Hannaford Hall, at which the winner will be announced.
According to the United States Small Business Association (SBA), 97 percent of companies in Maine are small businesses (defined as 500 or fewer employees), and of them, those with fewer than 100 employees contribute the largest share of jobs. In 2016, almost 200 businesses applied to LaunchPad.
With digital solutions allowing Mainers to work remotely, independently, and efficiently, many non-financial barriers to entrepreneurship have been lifted. Gorham Savings Bank designed its LaunchPad competition in an effort to lift a remaining barrier - unencumbered funds - for one standout small business each year.
"Maine's economy is made up of thousands of small, innovative businesses. We want to see those numbers continue to grow and we're working to help more businesses succeed" said Chris Emmons, President and CEO of Gorham Savings Bank. "This fifth annual LaunchPad event gives us the opportunity to shine a bright light on Maine's entrepreneurial community and shows Gorham Savings Bank believes in the future of Maine business."
Visit gorhamsavingsbank.com/launchpad to watch a recap of the 2016 competition.