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PR: Innovation Takes Center Stage as 11 Startups Compete in Dirigo Labs’ Pitch Competition in Downtown WatervillePR:

April 20, 2023

From Tech to Tourism: Dirigo Labs’ Pitch Competition Shines Spotlight on Maine’s Diverse Startups with 25K Up for Grabs

Waterville, ME 4/20/2023 – Dirigo Labs will host a pitch competition for its cohort companies at the new Paul J. Schupf Art Center in downtown Waterville on Thursday, May 4 from 5-8 pm. With 11 innovative and ambitious startups set to compete, the judges will have their work cut out for them as they evaluate each company’s pitch delivery, capital strategy, innovation, team, and potential for driving economic growth and job creation across Maine. 

“Dirigo Labs is honored to host this annual pitch competition which provides a unique opportunity to highlight our amazing startup cohort in Waterville’s beautiful downtown,” said Susan Ruhlin, Dirigo Labs Managing Director. “Having Skowhegan Savings Bank in our corner not only allows us to award $25,000 to a spectacular founder but also helps us promote the incredibly innovative  companies our entrepreneurs are building which ultimately benefits all of Maine.”

Serving as Waterville’s business accelerator, Dirigo Labs works with businesses to bring innovative and scalable ideas to market; this is the second cohort since the program’s inception in 2021. Competing in the Paul J. Schupf Art Center on Main Street in Waterville, 11 companies will each have 5 minutes to present their company to a panel of judges for a chance to win the $25,000 cash prize, sponsored by Skowhegan Savings Bank. The startups competing represent a range of industries, including healthcare, tourism, agriculture, manufacturing, and clean energy technologies. 

“Skowhegan Savings Bank values creating opportunities for businesses to grow and succeed right here in central Maine, and I look forward to learning more about what each start-up is doing to leave their mark on Maine’s entrepreneurial ecosystem,” states Skowhegan Savings Bank Vice President of Commercial Banking and Dirigo Labs pitch competition judge John Butera. “Highlighting innovation within a range of industries, we are thrilled to invest in entrepreneurial development through our partnership with Dirigo Labs.”

The pitch competition is free and open to the public; individuals who are interested in attending the competition can register at https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/608737639667 

Companies that will be participating in the pitch competition include: 

Against the Grain is a closed-loop composting and analytics company that repurposes waste products from breweries, distilleries, and cideries, for animal feed.

Black Travel Maine is an experiential travel and tour service curating group trips for Black visitors to Maine using its proprietary booking platform.

Croft manufactures compact, prefabricated buildings using 100% bio-based materials that capture up to 60X more carbon than it takes to produce them. 

FarmDrop is an online network of farmer’s markets providing access to quality local food with convenient community pickup and delivery.

Gel Hydration Technologies provides hydration solutions for working, service, and companion dogs to improve performance and quality of life, one animal at a time.

Home Grown Fuels is developing renewable energy facilities for Biochar, Graphene, Renewable Diesel, and Wood Vinegar for a cleaner energy future.

I-Tell Alert is a medical device company developing a smart sensor for walkers to achieve better outcomes for seniors. 

Move Free is a premiere New England running and outdoor brand with a social impact mission.

ReMo is a web-based platform that helps students engage with books they love and allows educators to focus on instilling a life-long love of reading.

SledTRX is a statewide, interactive snowmobile map application enabling riders to explore new areas, plan trips, and find destination points along the way.

Tardigrade Industries is a protective products company building near helmet-level fragmentation protection eyewear for military and police personnel.

About Dirigo Labs:

Dirigo Labs is a regional startup accelerator based in Waterville, Maine. With a mission to grow the greater Waterville area’s digital economy by supporting entrepreneurs building innovation-based companies, the Dirigo Labs ecosystem brings together people, resources, and organizations to ensure the successful launch of new startups. Dirigo Labs operates under Central Maine Growth Council and is supported by several organizations, academic institutions, and investment firms. To learn more about Dirigo Labs, please visit www.dirigolabs.org.

About Skowhegan Savings:
Skowhegan Savings Bank has been dedicated to strengthening Maine’s families, businesses, and communities by providing personalized and competitive banking services to the regions they serve for 150 years. An independent mutual savings bank based in Skowhegan, our mission is to provide customers with exceptional service in an innovative banking environment that effectively and efficiently puts the financial needs of the customer first. Skowhegan Savings takes pride in not only being a great place to bank but also a great place to work. For more information about Skowhegan Savings, please visit Skowhegan.com or contact our Customer Service line at 800.303.9511.

Last modified: May 30, 2023

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