Over the past few years, there has been a growth in support for and optimism around entrepreneurship in the Bangor region. Without such an entrepreneurial spirit present in Bangor, downtown wouldn’t be half of what it is today. The importance of supporting entrepreneurs in our region can’t be understated. That’s why the University of Maine is excited to announce that it’s that time of year again…
The Top Gun program is back! Top Gun provides entrepreneurs around the state with mentors, a strong support network, and a number of resources. It is a fifteen-week program that brings entrepreneurs together for high-impact weekly meetings.
For 2016, it has officially kicked off and is moving full steam ahead. Right now, companies from all over the Bangor region are currently interviewing with the selection committee with hopes to be part of the Top Gun Class of 2016.
This year, we are excited to welcome Lisa Liberatore to the Top Gun team. As the new Regional Program Coordinator for Top Gun, Lisa brings a wealth of experience as both a program coordinator and an entrepreneur herself.
Prior to joining the Top Gun Bangor team, Lisa served as the Program Manager for the Scratchpad Accelerator. Scratchpad follows an accelerator model to assist startups grow their companies in just three months with $25,000 of seed funding. The program was held this past fall and four companies from the Bangor region spent three intense months significantly growing their businesses.
Additionally, Lisa is not new to the world of entrepreneurship. As an entrepreneur herself, she has lived the pains and joys of starting her own ventures. Lisa began her journey as the founder of Baxter Tea Company and has since started Lisa’s Legit Burritos. Lisa’s Legit Burritos just celebrated its five year anniversary and is about to open a third location in Kingsport, Tennessee in addition to her two Maine locations in Gardiner and Augusta.
Lisa also participated in the Top Gun program in 2015. When asked about her own experience as a Top Gun participant in an interview with Ben Sprague of The Maine Show, she reflected, “It’s for any business that is looking to grow. They helped me do that through weekly meetings and a mentor network. It was great! I learned a ton.”
Lisa stressed, the network is the invaluable takeaway. “There are so many resources and so many amazing people in Maine who want to help, but they don’t have someone to put the pieces together… What this program does is gives you resources. Everyone wants to grow, but they don’t know how. Being in a place where you have a question, I have 150 people on my speed dial. I can get you that answer and that resource so that you can keep growing.”
Top Gun Bangor is run by the University of Maine in the Bangor area in collaboration with the Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development (MCED).