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PR: Crafting Eco-Friendly Building Envelopes and Innovative Apprenticeships, Croft Selected as Winner of Dirigo Labs Pitch Competition Prize of $25,000

May 9, 2023

Sustainable Architecture Company receives cash prize sponsored by Skowhegan Savings Bank

2023 Pitch Competition Winner, Croft, with Dirigo Labs and Skowhegan Savings Bank Staff

Waterville, ME 5/9/2023 – Maine-based Croft secured a $25,000 prize sponsored by Skowhegan Savings Bank at the accelerator’s second pitch competition in Waterville. Based in Rockland, Maine, Croft creates high-performance buildings that actively sequester carbon from the environment. Founder Evan Ryan’s pitch featured plans outlining the company’s commitment to creating housing and sourcing materials from local farms, fields, and forests in Maine. 

“At Croft, we make carbon-negative buildings made of all-natural materials for residential and commercial sectors. Built with our proprietary panel system, our buildings are fully customizable, super-insulated, vapor open, and designed to last for generations. Our mission is to reinvent the construction industry by demonstrating it’s possible to make buildings that improve the environment, structures that capture more carbon and greenhouse gasses than they produce. “We know we can do better, and we aim to prove it,” states Evan Ryan, co-founder, and principal of Croft. “The relationships we established during the program – with partners, customers, mentors, and advisors – will provide the scaffolding we need to keep building and innovating, and we couldn’t be more grateful for the chance to be part of it. Earning $25,000 from Skowhegan Savings Bank was genuinely icing on the cake for us. Training the next generation of tradespeople in this state is arguably as important to us as building better buildings. We plan to put 100% of this funding towards launching our new Croft Apprentice Program.”

Hosted at the Maine Film Center, eleven companies competed for the cash prize. The judging criteria included the company’s pitch delivery, capital strategy, innovation, team, and potential for driving economic growth and job creation across Maine. The 12-week program guided startups through a targeted curriculum to execute their project plans, and each cohort company worked with a curated board of local and national mentors from various industries. Seminar topics included utilizing public-private sector grants and economic incentives, customer acquisition strategies, capital planning, and intellectual property evaluation.

“What an asset the Dirigo Labs Accelerator Program is to local business start-ups and entrepreneurs, in offering viable information and coaching to help them grow,” said Dan Tilton, executive vice president of sales and customer relations for Skowhegan Savings. “These companies are not only full of great ideas but most of them go on to be successful and create jobs right here in the state of Maine and as a Maine-based bank, this is what we like to see and align ourselves in supporting. All 11 of this year’s business cohort stood out as being exceptional in their own right and it was a tough decision that the judges had to make, but we would like to congratulate Evan Ryan and Croft for being this year’s $25,000 Skowhegan Savings pitch prize winner.”

Receiving the pitch competition prize, Croft was provided with a 2-year dedicated desk membership to Bricks Coworking & Innovation Space in Waterville. In addition to Croft’s dedicated desk, each company participating in the cohort received a two-year floating desk membership to Bricks. The audience choice award was presented to Waterville-based SledTRX, a web-based snowmobile trail mapping application. 

“Croft’s dedication to manufacturing eco-friendly building envelopes and creating apprenticeships aligns perfectly with our mission of helping Maine-based startups launch successfully and become next-generation job creators; we are thrilled to see them win the $25,000 prize,” states Susan Ruhlin, managing director of Dirigo Labs.

For startups and potential mentors interested in learning more about Dirigo Labs, please visit www.dirigolabs.org.

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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