Top Gun competition now open to aquaculture startups
By Matt Jones
A business accelerator program in is set to accept applicants from aquaculture companies for the first time. The Maine Centre for Entrepreneur (MCE) Top Gun program is a 15-week entrepreneurial boot camp, designed to support Maine entrepreneurship and to help companies grow. This spring will see aquaculture-focused sessions in Brunswick, Maine.
“We never themed Top Gun around any particular industry, but we decided this year that we would launch a Top Gun cohort that was specifically themed around aquaculture,” says MCE Executive Director Tom Rainey.
John Pavan, program coordinator and subject matter expert for the program, says the aquaculture program was developed in partnership with the Gulf of Maine Research Institute. Pavan is currently helping to secure participants and industry experts that will give presentations.
“I want to ensure a good cross section of participants,” says Pavan. “The participants learn from one another, so we’re trying to make sure they represent as many parts of the industry as possible. The goal is not to grow a handful of companies, but to grow an industry.”
The Top Gun program ends with a pitch-off competition, where the two finalists come to an annual showcase event in May or June to compete for the cash prize of $25,000. In addition, the Gulf of Maine Research Institute has also promised to give a $5,000 prize to each of the top two finalists from the aquaculture sector. The institute is also offering a $200 scholarship to each company that participates to help offset the $500 Top Gun entry fee.