24 Companies Selected for Annual Statewide Entrepreneurial Accelerator Program

January 17, 2022

Maine Center for Entrepreneurs and Partners Announce the 2022 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, and the Harold Alfond Institute for Business Innovation at Thomas College, announced today the 24 businesses selected for the Top Gun 2021 Class. Beginning in 2009, Top Gun has helped over 200 Maine entrepreneurs launch and grow their companies.

Entrepreneurs selected for each region completed an application process that included submitting a pitch deck, pitching their business, and one-on-one interviews with program staff. 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.

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

Move Free – Patrick Caron
Timberwolves BBQ – Michael Stiggle
Real Time Reality – Ty Delargy

All Speed Tech Education – Elizabeth Pajak                     Teach2Move – Malik Hall, Katrina Hall, Jamier Hall 
Black Diamond Detailing –                                                   The Maine Event Brew Tours & Shuttle – Diana DeJesus
  Abdirahman Saeed, Abdinur Mohamed
Deals Everywhere – Nicholas Danforth                             

F3 Defense – Michael Mercer                                             NKENNE – Michael Odokara
FINSULATE by Ocean Innov LLC – Bernard Hidier            Northern Spent Grains – Toby Ahrens
Frodopay – Gavin William Kerr                                           Rugged Seas – Nikki Strout
Maine Salt Farm – Chris Cary, Chris Rauscher                  Soul Being – Colleen Kavanagh
Mallard Enterprises – Daniel Peabody – Harrington       Viable Gear – Katie Weller
Nauti Sisters Sea Farm – Alicia Gaiero

Bijou Build – Amanda Lacy                                                    
Food Truck Fixer – Erin Baltes                                              
Ciccarelli’s Market, Deli & Gelato – Michelangelo Ciccarelli
Platypus – Chelsea Maude Avirett
SledTRX – Jake Warn

“The diversity of companies that make up our Top Gun program each year is a wonderful representation of Maine”, said program manager, Laurie Johnson, “the thing they all have in common is a desire to improve the world around them”.

Top Gun is sponsored statewide by Bangor Savings Bank and supported by the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development, partner economic development organizations, and by local businesses, corporate and non-profit sponsors 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 2022.

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, 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 200 members. In 2021 alone, MCE served 28 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.